Stuck in the middle

Police in Fairbanks, Alaska, charged Gail Bergman, 41, with second-degree assault for stabbing her live-in boyfriend in the buttocks with two paring knives during a domestic squabble. Bergman denied it, claiming that the boyfriend actually showed up at the door that night naked with the two knives already stuck in him. According to police, Bergman's main concern seemed to be that she had finally relocated the knives: "I've been asking him where those knives have been for the last three weeks. Why is he walking around town with knives sticking out of his butt?"

Crying fowl

In January, after the California restaurant chain Carl's Jr. began televising a commercial chiding competitors' chicken-nugget meals -- in the ad, executives examine a live chicken in a futile attempt to find a body part called the "nugget" -- the animal-rights group United Poultry Concerns objected, not just because the bird was mishandled but because the examination hurt the chicken's feelings. The chicken was treated "derisively," United's chief Karen Davis told the Los Angeles Times. A few days later, Australian neuroscientists Charles Watson and George Paxinos announced the startup of a project to compile a comprehensive atlas of a bird's "sophisticated and complex" brain, emphasizing features in common with humans' brains.

Rubber baby budget busters

The Los Angeles Times reported in January that the ex-wife of casino mogul Kirk Kerkorian had recently filed a petition claiming that the $50,000 a month in child support Kerkorian pays for his 3-year-old daughter is insufficient and asking a Los Angeles judge to up the amount to $320,000 a month. Included as little Kira's requirements are $144,000 a month for travel, $14,000 for parties (her first-birthday party cost $70,000), $10,200 for food (about $340 per meal), and $7,000 a month for little Kira to give back to the community (in charitable donations).

Hack job

From the crime-watch column of the Leaf-Chronicle in Clarksville, Tenn.: "A 36-year-old cab driver reported one of his riders sexually attacked him Saturday morning in the 100 block of Keith Drive. The cab driver pushed the rider away. The rider then forcibly performed a sexual act on the driver, the victim told [Detective Larry] Boren. The report indicated the driver didn't know if the attacker was a man or a woman."

Face the hallucination

From the police-report column of the Union Democrat in Sonora, Calif.: "A driver told the California Highway Patrol that two people were parked outside the entrance to Yosemite National Park with the hazard lights on and their hands in the air. Yosemite rangers said the two men admitted ingesting 'speed' and became paranoid that a sniper was in the bushes aiming a high-powered rifle at them."

A silent force

In November, Mexico City began its latest campaign to help drivers cope with the capital's monumental traffic problem. The city hired five mimes to team with four special traffic officers in street-theater sketches to encourage drivers at the city's most dangerous intersections to buckle up, curb their cell-phone use and obey other traffic laws. The use of mimes comes after the failure of an all female citation-writing team to improve the traffic situation. Authorities initially had hoped that the women officers would be less likely to accept bribes from motorists, but that turned out not to be the case. Of course, the mimes are not likely to spill the beans on anybody, either.

A cheesy move

Kimberly Herricks, 36, a manager for Donato's Pizza in Lakewood, Ohio, was indicted for stealing $38,000 from the company, an amount that included the value of 400 decaying pizzas found in her garage. According to police, she had invented big call-in orders at her store for schools, hospitals and the like just to get her store's sales figures up and her name in the company newsletter. She would then adjust the books to cover the costs and deliver the pizzas to her own garage. She was busted when she asked her boss to help her move to a new house, where he discovered the rotting pizzas.

Crib notes

The director of housing at Princeton University issued a safety directive to students after two undergraduates fell out of bunk beds in dorms; it is believed to be the first warning on how to use a bed ever issued to Ivy League students. ... The owner of seven large (up to 6 feet long), house-roaming Monitor lizards died of natural causes in Newark, Del., but then became dinner for his brood before a relative discovered the remains of the body.


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