Number of the beast

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Michael Machetti, 31, filed a lawsuit in Riverside County, Calif., in April against Bullseye Tattoo and its owner, charging that the tattoo removal he had done on his neck had infected him with the flesh-eating disease necrotizing fasciitis. Machetti said he went for the removal because co-workers had complained about the familiar two-word obscene phrase (second word: "you") on his neck, and he wanted it replaced with the apparently more acceptable "666."

Drop on the bucket

Sally Carden Davies, 48, was awarded the equivalent of $310,000 by a court in Sydney, Australia, in March for falling off an odd-looking chair in a caf? and suffering various injuries, including the loss of her sexual urge, which she said caused a romantic relationship to falter. Davies said her injuries have also affected her practice as a horse dentist.

Bone-headed bargaining

Chicago police arrested six people in June and charged them with running an insurance scam, which was allegedly led by a 39-year-old man known as Bone-crusher. Police said homeless men consented to having Bonecrusher administer compound fractures of the arm or leg, and they would then be taken to staged accident scenes and instructed on how to make quick settlements with insurance companies of up to $100,000 -- but they'd only get to keep about $1,500 of it.

A slip in his slide

Justin Scheidt filed a lawsuit in May against the Showgirl III strip club in Fort Wayne, Ind., for "serious and permanent injuries" to his groin area received after he consented to take the stage with several dancers during their show. Scheidt, as a climax to his bachelor party that night, complied with the women's requests and lay on his back with his legs around the dancers' pole, after which they began climbing the pole and sliding down squarely on his groin. Scheidt went ahead with his wedding but said he was unable to consummate the marriage because of his injuries.

Buggin' out in Bengal

On June 15, according to Dr. Chittaranjan Maity (the medical education director of the state of West Bengal), a 13-year-old boy began producing quarter-inch-long winged beetles in his urine after eggs hatched in his body. And a few days earlier in the Hooghly district of West Bengal, according to a report in the Press Trust of India, a 9-year-old girl was "married" (in a nonbinding ceremony) to a stray dog, which tribal custom requires in order to protect a child whose first tooth appears on the upper gum; the marriage had been delayed for several years because of financial considerations.

Toe the line

In Newport Beach, Calif., in May, Trenton M. Veches, 32, was convicted of 22 counts of lewd conduct, with the "sexuality" involved consisting merely of sucking the toes of boys aged 6 to 10. Veches' attorney said the behavior was weird but not legally "lewd" because Veches touched only the feet and in fact was not physically "aroused," himself, but an expert witness for the prosecution said people can be sexually stimulated without showing arousal.

Dead as a dodo

In April, The Independent (London) revealed that the founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the 53-year-old Ingrid Newkirk, will be advocating her cause even after she passes away. To continue PETA's campaign to educate people on the treatment of animals for food, fashion and testing, her will provides that part of her body be publicly barbecued; that her feet be turned into ornaments; that part of her skin be turned into a leather product; that the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency receive her eyes, mounted; and that the owner of the Ringling Brothers circus receive one of her fingers, mounted.

And justice for all

Willie Brown, 44, serving four years in prison for a convenience-store robbery, filed suit against the clerk who shot him. Brown maintained, "There was no need for the use of deadly force," even though he had admitted to having a gun.

In a May court filing opposing early release for Tony Martin, a farmer who had been convicted of killing a burglar, Bri-tain's Home Office argued against parole, maintaining that the government must protect burglars from violent homeowners.

Male bashing

A June Associated Press dispatch from Macha, Bolivia, reported on the most prominent of the annual Tinku festivals that neighboring tribes on the country's high plains engage in. On a midnight in May, as thousands gathered to drink and dance, the men eventually began to fistfight in a bloody ritual that tribal leaders say is healthy and spiritual, even though some men are beaten badly, and occasionally someone dies (which, legend says, is good for crop fertilization).

Villagers say the one-night fighting answers feuds and insults built up over the year and fosters brotherhood. The Bolivian government has tried, unsuccessfully, to stop the violence in recent years.

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