A stormy relationship

Bobbi Meyer, telling a Washington Post reporter in June that a contributing factor to her pending divorce was her husband's nasty comments about her watching The Weather Channel for hours at a time: "To tell you the truth, I found it very hard to understand how he could sit there and watch old episodes of ‘Ironside' again and again. The weather is always new."

Panned parenthood

In August, Deborah Gaines, 31, filed a lawsuit against the Brookline, Mass., abortion clinic shot up by John Salvi in 1994, asking it to pay the cost of raising her kid, now age 3. She was queuing up for an abortion that day when the clinic's allegedly lax security permitted Salvi to start firing and said she was so traumatized that she could not bring herself to go to another clinic, and eight months later, little Vivian was born. Gaines said she loves her daughter but that her daughter shouldn't be here.

Both sides now

British historian and conservative moralist Paul Johnson, whose recent essay on marriage to honor his 40th wedding anniversary so annoyed his mistress of 11 years that she ratted him out to British newspapers, admitted in a subsequent interview in London's Observer in May, "I've been having an affair, but I still believe in family values." And in August in Fort McMurray, Alberta, the attorney for Jonathan Tupper, who recently started a Students Against Drunk Driving chapter and who was subsequently jailed for DUI, told reporters, "`W`hen `Tupper's` sober, he's very much against drinking and driving."

Sweet releaf

Researchers from the United States and France, writing in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, announced in August that aspirin given to plants blocks "pain" receptors in much the same way that it blocks them in animals. However, blocking such receptors in plants is also harmful to neighboring plants, as it suppresses a distress signal that causes them to produce a defensive, sour-tasting chemical to ward off preying insects.

Trial and error

In July, a juror in Judge Esmond Faulks' court in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, eagerly asked the judge for the defendant's date of birth so he could draw up a star chart to help him decide the case. (He was removed.) Also in July, a 31-year-old woman in Oakley, Calif., felt a mysterious bump as she was pulling out of her driveway, and to help determine what it was, she drove over it again, and then a third time. (It was her 3-year-old son, who suffered a broken leg.) And in August, Wall Street Journal reporter James S. Hirsch, writing a story on the Boston Globe's recent troubles with columnists making up things, noted in his story that The New York Times (owner of the Globe) had no comment on the matter, a fact he later admitted he made up. (He was fired.)

Food for thought

Former Glen Ellyn, Ill., multiple-personalities patient Patricia Burgus, who realized she had been misled but who for years accepted the diagnosis of psychiatrist Bennett Braun (that her personalities included a cannibal and a satanic cult member), told a Chicago Tribune reporter in August: "I began to add a few things up and realized there was no way I could come from a little town in Iowa, be eating 2,000 people a year, and nobody said anything about it."

Soldiering on

British Army Sgt. Joseph Rushton, who has nearly completed a two-year process of converting from male to female (and who must retake physical conditioning tests to determine whether he still meets military fitness standards), told reporters in August: "I'm considered a first-class soldier. I can blow up bridges ... and free-fall from the skies. But in my heart, I just want to be a woman."

Fair game

Fair game

Mike Sheridan, telling a Kansas City Star reporter in May that he doesn't believe his "Fangs and Rattlers" exhibit at county fairs (in which he lies perfectly still for about 15 minutes in a sleeping bag into which a dozen live rattlesnakes have been inserted) is all that dangerous: "I'd a lot rather be in that bag full of snakes than a clerk in some big-city convenience store after midnight."