Attack of the fetid feta bomb

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Military researchers will soon try to combine the nastiest smells ever engineered in an attempt to develop the ultimate nonlethal weapon, a magnificent stink bomb. According to a July report in New Scientist, the winning stenches (rotting foods, carcasses and excrement) will be blended after each has been technologically "improved" to even fouler levels. The result: a fetidness so overpowering that not only would it disperse people in a panic, but would also act on brain tissue in the same fear-provoking way that other unrecognizable stimuli do.

Nay-borly warning

In July, the city council of La Verkin, Utah, passed an anti-United Nations ordinance (soon to be copied by the city council of Virgin, Utah) that not only prohibits the municipal government from recognizing any U.N. activities but also requires any private citizen engaged in such activities to file an annual report with the city and to post a sign on his property informing the neighbors.

The kids are all right

Los Angeles high-school administrators so feared hurting the feelings of their students that Granada Hills High selected 44 valedictorians this year, Chatsworth High 31, Cleveland High 20, Monroe High 17 and North Hollywood High 10, according to a "New Times Los Angeles" report in July. Said one dissenting teacher, sarcastically: "If one person got very, very good grades and was singled out as valedictorian, we might be saying they are better than other kids. And we can't have that."

But what about gay bikers?

In May, two anti-discrimination bills were voted out of the Illinois House. A bill prohibiting public establishments from discriminating against motorcyclists passed, 111-0. A bill prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians also passed but by by a much smaller margin, 60-55. ... Also in May, the Washington state legislature's student anti-bullying bill was stalled by lobbying from Christian conservatives, who believe the law would make it harder for them to scold gay and lesbian school kids for their "immoral" lifestyles. ... And in documents turned up earlier this year in a lawsuit, the R.J. Reynolds tobacco company was revealed to have begun a marketing campaign in the early 1990s in San Francisco directed at homeless smokers and gay smokers. The program was called "Project SCUM" (short for "subculture urban marketing").

Pork-barrel protest

Australian judge Brian Herron awarded Arthur and Filommena Raso and their two children about $85,000 in damages in March when they suffered food poisoning, apparently after eating pork purchased from a local wholesaler. The judge tacked on an additional $1,200 for the unusually large number of rolls of toilet paper the family says it went through because of diarrhea from the tainted pork.

Bottle-y functions

Russian inventor Dmitry Zhurin (or his colleague Sergei Lykov, depending on the news source consulted) claims to have created a working model of a talking vodka bottle that proposes toasts to its handler. The bottle says, roughly translated, "Another round, then?" and "To our beautiful women." Periodically, a louder cacophony of voices is heard. The battery doesn't last long after its first use, but then, as Zhurin points out, neither usually does the vodka.

Ask Mr. Whizzerd

In March, Donald Paul Edwards Jr., 27, was charged in Columbia, Mo., with "possession of a forging instrumentality," which is a crime normally associated with counterfeit currency plates. Edwards possessed a "Whizzinator," a plastic penis that authorities say he was using to fake (i.e., forge) a drug test. And in a May, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, an attempt to use such a fake device in that city by Donald C. Milligan Jr., 36, failed because, "`T`he plastic prosthetic didn't fool a Cuyahoga County probation officer, who was trained to observe the sights and sounds of urination."

Mommy Duress

According to a police report in the Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal, a Dutchess County sheriff's deputy arrested a 40-year-old woman on March 21 and charged her with allowing her 14-year-old son to take nude pictures of her and to post them on the Internet.

And the (sigh) wiener is ...

A year ago, News of the Weird reported that Japan's Kazutoyo "The Rabbit" Arai (weight: 101 pounds) was the toast of New York's Coney Island, having beaten the 400-pound American champion for the annual Nathan's international hot-dog-eating title, 25 (in 12 minutes) to 16. On July 4, 2001, "Hungry" Charles Hardy, a large man from Brooklyn, improved the American record to 23 but could only finish third, behind Arai (31) and the new champion, another slim Japanese man, Takeru Kobayashi, whose astonishing 12-minute total (buns and all) was 50.

Dead man listening

Also, in the last month ... the North Carolina Senate passed a funeral-home regulation bill that included a prohibition against cussing in the vicinity of a corpse. Tennessee officials agreed on the need for Spanish-language civics education after a Hispanic illegal resident, asked to show ID in applying for a driver's license, naively offered up a copy of his deportation order. And a Kansas City man's kitchen exploded on the Fourth of July when he turned on the oven to heat lasagna. He forgot that a friend had hidden his illegal firecrackers there several hours earlier.

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