Hereâ??s a story with wiggle room

Thomas Stanley Huntington, 52, pleaded no contest to fraud in Aztec, N.M., in June in a scheme to sell "California Red Superworms," which he had sworn could eat up nuclear waste. He told buyers (who paid $125 a pound) that a nearby radiation-waste cleanup plant would buy all the worms they could breed, but it was left to the state's attorney general to inform the buyers that worms can't do that.

Not so hot as hell

According to two physicists from the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, whose work was reported in an August issue of The New Scientist, hell is certainly very hot (833 degrees Fahrenheit), but so is heaven (about 450 degrees). The researchers used passages in the Bible reporting that "brimstone" (sulfur) boils in hell and that heaven contains "sevenfold" the light of the sun for seven days.

Arrested behavior

Tony Faulks, 39, convicted in July in Sioux Falls, S.D., after police found the $1,300 in marked bills from a robbery in his underwear, said he doesn't trust banks and thus always keeps his money down there. And Mr. Siut Cheng, attempting to get out of a speeding ticket in July while hauling a van full of lobsters, allegedly could think of no better way to escape the charge than to offer the New Jersey trooper a bribe of five lobsters. And former Nazi camp guard Jack Reimer, testifying at his citizenship revocation trial in New York in August and answering charges that he fired his gun into a group of Jews in Trawniki, Poland, in 1941, said he shot them, but that he thought they already were dead.

Flood of tears

About 25 employees of the meticulously maintained Boston Public Library had grown so close to their work that they had to use the city's grief-counseling services in August after a burst water main flooded a building and soaked 50,000 cartons of books. Said a library executive to a Boston Globe reporter: "It's a process just like when someone dies." One employee complained of nightly panic attacks in which she recurringly dreams of the flooding but cannot save the books.

Darting out

In July, three men linked to the Republic of Texas separatist group were arrested in Brownsville, Texas, and charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction. According to the FBI, they had threatened several state and federal officials. Their most ambitious plan was to shoot President Clinton with a modified Bic lighter (propelling air instead of propane) firing a hypodermic needle, out of which would be shot a cactus thorn that had been dipped in anthrax or botulism. The attorney for one of the men called the alleged plan so "cockamamie" that the government should not take it seriously.

Altared plans

The Hindustan (India) Times reported in July that a bride called off her wedding in the town of Hapur, near New Delhi, because she was upset that the groom had begun drunkenly insulting everyone in sight. All was not lost, however; a guest at the wedding immediately proposed to the woman, and the new couple were married later that evening.

That yolk's not funny

Four teen-agers were charged with misdemeanors in Oxford, Ohio, in August for egging the houses of city officials in a dispute over the town's water tower. Police identified the boys by looking at the surveillance video at the town's only grocery store and locating the scene the day before in which four kids happened to buy a large quantity of eggs.

Give and take

Tanya Denby, convicted in Newport News, Va., in August of beating her 3-year-old daughter to death by excessive punishment: "I can't see my baby anymore, but she's in a much better place. I'm glad God took her." And Patricia Wells, indicted in April in Camden, N.J., for aggravated manslaughter after six kids (including one of hers) died as the van she was driving (at 70 miles per hour in a 25-mile-per-hour zone with no license and a .151 blood-alcohol level) crashed: "It was the children's time to go, and God wanted those children."

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