Blessings in disguise

Hundreds of people began arriving in the town of Bras D'Or, Nova Scotia, in September, when residents spotted a likeness of Jesus Christ on an outside wall of Tim Horton's doughnut shop. The clearest image is said to be under the floodlights of a nearby chicken restaurant called the Lick-a-Chick. And in Rio de Janeiro, designer Patrizia D'Angello and boutique owner David Azulay plan to introduce men's swim trunks, modestly cut by Rio's beach standards, that feature a picture of Jesus on the seat.

Matinees idylls

A September New York Times story described some of the hundreds of people who are so taken with the Broadway show "Jekyll and Hyde" that they have seen it dozens of times (one person has reached 100) at prices of $20 to $75, and refer to themselves as Jekkies, since their obsession resembles that of hard-core Star Trek fans. Said one Jekkie, "Instead of going to a therapist, we talk to each other about it, since others truly don't understand."

System failure

Daniel Sneed, 22, spent a week in Los Angeles County jails in June when prosecutors in the city of La Mirada erred in charging him with having ignored a $100 loitering fine from 1996. After several days, Sneed's bank produced the canceled checks, but even then he was not released until the next day. Apparently useless in overcoming these errors and red tape was Sneed's father, who is a police lieutenant in Compton, Calif.

Fed up

According to a July New York Times report on adventurers needing assistance, a man who had sent an SOS refused to be airlifted out by an Alaska Air National Guard rescue team because the team had too much of a federal government presence. He relented later that day when the team added two state troopers and returned. And at a recent state visit to Australia, China's premier-in-waiting, Zhu Rongji, held up a procession by lingering in the rest room. When apprehensive guards broke in, they found that Zhu, an engineer, had disassembled the fancy two-button, dual-flush toilet and was studying it. Said Zhu, "We must introduce this to China."

This Scud's for you

In September, Customs officials at Port Hueneme, Calif., went into a tizzy when a fully operational (except for the warhead), 20-ton, 186-mile-range Scud missile was off-loaded from a British vessel, destined for a local address. Said a Customs agent, "All you needed to do was strap on a garbage can full of C-4 (explosive), and you had a weapon." After an investigation, Customs officials said the buyer was not a terrorist but just a collector and that the British seller had merely failed to disable the missile as required by U.S. law.

Altared states

Much of the homes of John Livingston of Cleburne, Texas, and Gayle Brennan and Mike Drysdale in Duarte, Calif., have been taken over as shrines to their personal icons: baseball pitcher Nolan Ryan (Livingston) and Garfield the cat (Brennan and Drysdale). Livingston's most prized possession among several hundred items is a 1991 chest X-ray of Ryan. Brennan and Drysdale have 3,000 Garfield items, including 20 pairs of Garfield bedroom slippers, and plan to move to a bigger house so they can display everything.

Laying down the law

In August, a Virginia Circuit Court, ruling in the divorce case of Glaze v. Glaze, said that "sexual intercourse" was not a legal requirement for having "sexual relations." However, the court did rule that sexual intercourse was necessary for the ground of "adultery," and since Mrs. Glaze was alleged only to have had sexual relations with a woman, Mr. Glaze had to sue for something other than "adultery."

Fish story

In July, the Los Angeles Times profiled Dan Taylor, 58-year-old retired entrepreneur in Hardeeville, S.C., who is close to finishing the $1 million, 40-foot-long submarine he will take next June to Scotland in order to hunt the Loch Ness monster, which he says he first encountered 30 years ago but in a flimsier submarine that couldn't keep up with the critter. According to his wife, almost all of Taylor's waking hours in the last three years have been spent thinking about "Nessie."

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