Nip and tuck

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Plastic surgeons told The Wall Street Journal in August that requests for designer navel and nipple surgery are increasing (probably brought on by the skin-revealing tops women wear), with slim, horizontal-oval navels preferred (a preference also found by panelists in a 2000 surgical journal article), and firm, prominent nipples seen almost as an "accessory" for the excitingly dressed woman. Almost all such U.S. surgery is in conjunction with tummy tucks or breast enhancement, but navel sculpting as stand-alone surgery has been popular for several years in Japan.

Mind their business

In July, a Texas district judge ruled that any professional thoughts that software engineer Evan Brown had in his head during his 10 years with DSC Communications (now Alcatel USA Inc.) belonged to the company even though they may never have been expressed in any tangible form. (News of the Weird reported DSC's filing of this lawsuit in 1997.)

Brown had signed a contract agreeing that DSC owned any "invention" or anything "conceived" on the job but said he actually began thinking about his high-level source code solution 12 years before he started work at DSC.

The whys have it

Nathan A. Williams, 18, admitted that he robbed a convenience store in White River Junction, Vt., and in July, he told the judge, "I still don't know quite to this day why I did it." Also in July, Gerald Fitzgerald, 73, pleading guilty to a series of petty crimes in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, said: "I don't know why [I did it]." In June, Ms. Rie Fujii, 24, pleading guilty in Calgary, Alberta, to abandoning her children while she partied: "I don't know why." And Darlene Eva Gallant, 41, sentenced to two years in prison in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, in May for maliciously injecting her grandson with insulin: "I hurt someone more precious than my life, and I don't even know why." And pharmacist Robert Courtney, pleading guilty in Kansas City, Mo., in February to diluting customers' cancer drugs: "I keep asking myself, 'Why?'"

I believe that's my fly

Greeting the arrival of singer R. Kelly ("I Believe I Can Fly") at the courthouse in Chicago on Aug. 7 for a hearing on the 21 counts of child pornography he has been charged with were 40 children, yelling support and wearing T-shirts reading "Not Guilty," "Case Dismissed," and "Kill his name/ Kill the fame/ That's the game," among other messages. Said organizer Janet Edmond, "[People] need to stop looking at all the negative stuff and start looking at the good things R. Kelly is doing. Kids need something to reach for. They have no role models."

Bunch of bull?

The traditional, manure-based Many Weed Tea, taken by generations of rural black families in Alabama as a cold and flu remedy, is fading away despite continued testimonials to its effectiveness, according to a June Birmingham News story. Its recipe calls for forming a tea bag of cloth and filling it with two open lemons, stalks of the lavender plant, honey and several dried cow patties, preferably containing visible, undigested leaves and twigs. The brew is supposedly safe for humans provided that it is boiled long enough before steeping.

Pennies from heaven

In Norfolk, Va., Bishop C. Vernie Russell's Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church has raised $340,000 from his congregation in 14 months for the specific purpose of helping randomly chosen members (59 so far) to get out of debt by having their credit-card bills paid off by the church, according to a June Wall Street Journal report. At the special, monthly "debt liquidation revival," congregants dance and chant, "stomping" the devil, who is believed to be the cause of the credit-card debt in the first place. Lucky winners must cut up their cards and attend counseling, and Russell believes "cured" borrowers are much better tithers.

Chicken nuggets

Aztar Corp. casinos in Evansville, Ind., Atlantic City, N.J., and Las Vegas have recently featured ticktacktoe games in which gamblers compete with chickens that punch in X's and O's with their beaks. In June, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals made a formal protest of the oppressive conditions under which the chickens labor and the "disrespect" of the chickens that the game represents. Also in June, traveling Alaskan circus artist Emily Harris had her expensive bicycle mistakenly sold while she visited a second-hand shop in London, and the resulting news stories called attention to her particular circus art, which is that she hypnotizes chickens and makes them play a piano.

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