Pulling a feast one

Patricia Dolinska, 27, was arrested for shoplifting from a grocery store in Ottawa, Ontario, in April. According to police, underneath Dolinska's long skirt were hidden three whole chickens, a pork roast, a beef roast and a duck.

What a dump

According to a May Boston Globe report, the town of Sydney, Nova Scotia, is the country's most polluted place (arsenic, naphthalene, lead, PCBs, oil, raw sewage) but is hopeful of exploiting the situation to become a research facility for environmental technicians and possibly a tourists' center to showcase its spectacular levels of contamination, as a warning to others. The mining industry, however, is opposed, and its continued operation adds to what the Globe termed the "mountainous slag heaps" and "rivers of toxic ooze." Last year, the rest of Cape Breton Island, on which Sydney is located, was named by Conde Nast Traveler magazine as the world's most beautiful island.

Bombing out

In April, an Air Force pilot training at the Warren Grove Bombing Range in New Jersey missed his target by a mile and a half, landing in a state forest preserve and starting a fire that burned more than 18 square miles.

Daddy whack

In October, Brandon Lund, 16, was convicted of hiring a hit man to kill his father because, according to the prosecutor, "He just didn't like the way `he` was running the household." And in March, landlord Alvin Weiss, 46, was sentenced to seven years in prison for hiring a hit man (unsuccessfully) to kill two of his tenants so he could re-lease their apartments at higher rents.

Moral exam

In March, two professors reported that results of their identical polls on ethical questions, asked of graduate business students and then of inmates at three Midwestern prisons, yielded remarkably similar results between the two groups. In fact, the inmates were judged more loyal to their employers than were the MBAs. And the San Diego Union-Tribune reported in April that 25 business-ethics students at San Diego State University flunked the course, for cheating on an exam.

Hose job

A 27-year-old man in Springfield, Ill., called the local State Journal-Register newspaper in April to say that he is the one police have been calling "Sock Man" and that he promised to stop his antics if editors would not print his name. According to police, he approached two women and promised them $100 each if they would go home, get some of their socks and leave them for him at designated points. One took him up on the offer, but he reneged on the payment. Police Lt. Carl Sprinkel said the man would not be charged: "It's no crime to be weird."

Copters and robbers

In March, John Killick, 57, who was being held in a maximum-security prison in Sydney, Australia, on armed-robbery charges, was sprung from the exercise yard by a helicopter, which his girlfriend had hijacked at gunpoint. The couple are still at large.

Hire purpose

In January, Theotis Hall, 51, was arrested in Brunswick, Ga., and charged with assisted suicide after he allegedly complied with a woman's wishes and locked her inside her car's trunk, with the engine running, for about eight hours. According to police, the woman paid $140 to Hall, whom she had recruited from a local labor pool. Said a police sergeant, "She went to a temporary service because it was a temporary job." (She was eventually rescued by her son and is alive.)

Beef on the hoof

Three cows escaped from a barn in Ancaster, Ontario, in April, and when cornered by animal-control officers, two escaped by leaping over a police cruiser and remained on the lam for two more hours before being tranquilized. And a week later, following a one-truck accident on the Capital Beltway near Alexandria, Va., the driver's dog Tito was found in excellent condition. He could not have crossed the Beltway on foot at that point; the only way he could have been where he was was to have been ejected over a four-foot concrete barrier and four lanes of traffic and to have landed in the soft grass.

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