The show must grow on

Actor Bethany Halliday filed a lawsuit against the British opera company D'Oyly Carte because it allegedly revoked an offer it had made to her to play a blushing teen-age virgin in "The Pirates of Penzance." Attorneys for D'Oyly Carte said that whatever interest the company once had in Halliday no longer existed because she showed up pregnant and would be three months from delivery by the time the musical opened. The character Halladay was to play is so sheltered that she screams in fright every time she lays eyes on a man.

Pay to play

Several insurance companies in France have begun offering policies to compensate parents of kids who get bullied in the schoolyard, according to an August Associated Press report. No company yet covers stolen lunch money, but eyeglasses that get slapped off a kid's face and trendy designer clothes that inspire muggings are covered.

Cursing for dollars

A former Atlantic City, N.J., man sued boardwalk fortune-teller Sole Mio Balaam Nicola after he had given her $200,000 over a 13-year period. He also had closed his real-estate business, left his wife and moved from the area -- all in order to comply with various curse-avoidance behaviors she sold to him.

Self-serving testimony

In Seattle, federal judge Marsha J. Pechman reinstated sexual-assault convict William Bergen Greene's main defense -- which had been rejected by a Washington state judge -- that he did not attack his female mental-health counselor in 1994. Rather, Greene argued, one of his other personalities (a four-year-old boy named Tyrone) had committed the crime. Judge Pechman said the trial judge was insufficiently respectful of the science of multiple-personality disorders, and she was persuaded to that opinion by Greene, one of whose selves argued his own appeal.

Don't forget to remember ...

High Court Judge Griffith Williams ruled in July that Christina Coles, 21, of Kent, England, was entitled to compensation to help raise her daughter Rebecca, now three, to be paid by the driver of a car that hit Coles' vehicle in 1995. Coles apparently demonstrated that Rebecca would never have been born except that the collision caused Coles a memory loss, which contributed to why she forgot to take her birth-control pills. Furthermore, Judge Williams issued the ruling (amount of compensation to be determined) even though he found that Coles was 75 percent at fault for the original crash.

A smashing victory

A jury in Broward County, Fla., found that a 28-year-old man who was speeding and whose blood-alcohol reading was twice the presumed-impaired limit was nonetheless only 10 percent responsible for the single-car accident that killed him. The man's car ran off an access ramp on Florida's Turnpike and smashed into a metal pole because, the jury determined, the 10-inch drop-off on the left lane caused the car to swerve. That problem was 45 percent each the fault of the state and the construction company. The amount of damages due the man's family was to be determined later.

Feed the kitty

The Arizona Fish and Game Commission told new resident Wallace Burford in June that it was declining his formal request to compensate him $328.21 because one of the state's 250,000 wild coyotes had eaten his cat. Burford's suggestion was also rejected: that the commission allocate money to feed wild coyotes so they aren't so hungry for cats all the time.

How do you spell relief?

Stephen T. Harris, 39, was arrested in July and charged with public indecency for deliberately (according to a surveillance camera at a Lowes home-improvement center in Plainville, Conn.) unzipping his pants and slightly wetting the back of the pants leg of a man who was shopping at the store. After doing it once and not being noticed by the man, Harris apparently returned and relieved himself twice more. No motive was given in the police report; neither was there evidence the men knew each other.

On-the-job service

Trevor Blair Roszell, 35, pleaded guilty in Edmonton, Alberta, to impersonating a police officer. The person he had tried to impress with several items of police paraphernalia, as it turned out, was herself an undercover officer who was at the time posing as a prostitute. Furthermore, "Officer" Roszell then tried to convince the woman to give him a "freebie" since he, too, was on the job.

No news is good news

Also, the Athens, Greece, daily newspaper Adesmeytos, noting that so many people had left town for a national holiday, reported to readers that there was absolutely no news worthy of putting on the front page of its Aug. 13 edition. ... High school physics teacher Jim Schmitt is undergoing rabies vaccinations after a bat flew into his mouth during an early-morning run in Eau Claire, Wis. ... A California prisoner on a highway work detail in Morro Bay was using a Port-a-Potty (on wheels) when a truck driver drove off with it to another site. The driver had pulled it along for quite some time at 40 miles per hour before anyone heard the inmate's screams. ... "Folk artist" Stephen Huneck opened a dog-themed church ("all creeds, all breeds, no dogma") in St. Johnsbury, Vt., to honor canines' spiritual and utilitarian service to humanity.

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