Udder filth

According to an April San Francisco Chronicle feature, a painting by local artist Catherine Anderson was accepted for hanging, then rejected, by the fancy Lodge at Sonoma resort that's set to open later this year. Anderson specializes in paintings of cows, but the Lodge declined her first piece because its field scene displayed too many bovine posteriors. The resort also declined a substitute because one cow was portrayed in what a Lodge representative allegedly said was a "provocative position."

Time off for bad behavior

In April, doctors at Washington, D.C.'s St. Elizabeths Hospital said Tomar Cooper Locker, 25, was no longer mentally ill and should be unconditionally released. Just two months earlier, Locker had been found not guilty by reason of insanity (diagnosis: post-traumatic stress) in the murder of boxer Reuben Bell, whom Locker had fatally shot because he thought Bell had killed Locker's girlfriend. Though Locker thus escaped penalty for the murder (and the wounding of five bystanders), he was sentenced to 20 to 60 months for gun possession. But as he was jailed pretrial for 26 months, a judge was at press time considering whether to release him immediately.

Sometimes they come back

In a December issue of the British Medical Journal, Dutch researchers reported their findings after observing couples who had engaged in sexual intercourse inside MRI machines. (The machines were modified to accommodate two people at a time.) One discovery: During missionary-position sex, the penis is not straight but actually takes the shape of a boomerang.

Who's doing the stuffing?

The hottest-selling item among turkey hunters this spring has been Delta Industries' male decoy, which fits on top of its traditional hen decoy to give a gobbler the illusion that a stranger is having his way with a member of the animal's harem. According to a hunting-store manager in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (as reported in the Cedar Rapids Gazette), the appeal to territorial jealousy is especially effective with older turkeys who are too wise to fall for hunters' simple mating-call lures.

People are talking

Wendy Hasnip, 47, told BBC Television in December that a minor stroke had given her the rare Foreign Accent Syndrome, causing her to speak in a French dialect (though she knows no words in the language). Also in December, the Moscow (Russia) Times profiled Willi Melnikov, 37, whose brain was injured by a land mine in the Soviet-Afghanistan war, but who emerged from the hospital with an activated (previously dormant) facility for languages. Melnikov has since become fluent in dozens of tongues and conversant in 93.

Urine love, you old bat

Researchers from Boston University and Cornell, writing in a December journal article, said they have identified the behavior the male bat uses to elicit mates for procreation (the equivalent, said a Science News writer, of a man's slapping on aftershave). At about the same time every afternoon for half an hour, a male bat transfers urine to sacs in his wings by alternately licking his penis and the sac. Later, the bat hovers in front of females and flutters his wings to spread what one researcher called the "very sweet and spicy" scent.

Family freeloader

China's Xinhua News Agency reported in March that a 13-pound cyst removed from a 28-year-old farmer from the northern province of Shaanxi actually contained the ossified fetus of his identical twin brother. Physicians at Hanzhong Medical School and Xi'an University of Medical Science said that the fetus had grown for a while after the farmer's birth, then stopped. As a result, it had hair, skin and teeth similar to an adult's, but other features that resembled those of a fetus.

Trunk sale

In March, Christie's Auction House in New York City unloaded all 60 of its paintings created by artists who also happen to be elephants. The work of Sao, a former log-hauler in Thailand's timber industry, was likened by Yale art historian Mia Fineman to the output of Paul Gauguin for its "broad, gentle, curvy brush strokes" and for displaying "a depth and maturity." Fineman says she is writing a book about the three distinct regional styles of Thai elephant art.

Trash in the pan

Garbage artist Tom Deininger's one-person show opened at the Newport (R.I.) Art Museum in January, consisting of sculptures fashioned from such refuse as packaging materials, toys, clothes and computer parts. Deininger, who says that fans feed him tips about suitable Dumpsters to raid, told the Providence Journal that he is working on a self-portrait made from cardboard boxes. Its cheeks are crafted from wads of Pokémon wrappers, its teeth are Styrofoam, and a toy soldier forms one nostril.

Hooked on bionics

A year ago, News of the Weird reported that Reading (England) University professor Kevin Warwick had had a transponder implanted in his forearm that would allow his whereabouts to be monitored remotely. According to an April 2000 Cox News Service report, Warwick's next implant will give him the same "sonar" system that bats and porpoises use for navigation: Signals sent from the air to a microchip will be "tapped into" a nerve bundle that runs from Warwick's arm to his brain. Warwick believes he can train himself to detect what's in front of him even if his eyes are closed.

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