In God they don't trust

Actor and proud philanderer Jose Estrada was elected president in one of the Philippines' quietest elections ever, in that only 45 people were killed in campaign-related incidents. Former first lady Imelda Marcos dropped out of the race in April, but got back in, she said, to prevent the suicides of several of her supporters. Among the presidential losers was Mario Lagazpi, who stayed in character as God, claiming he had taken a leave of absence from Heaven to help the country.

Leaving granny in dust

Michael Anthony Horne filed a lawsuit against the city of San Antonio for a wrongful arrest last year that cost him the ashes of his grandmother. He had pulled off the road to nap, which looked suspicious to a passing patrolman, who searched Horne's car and found the ashes, which he submitted to a field test, which turned up positive for methamphetamines. Horne was in jail for 30 days until he made bail, and the case has cost him his job, his car, his apartment and his military reserve status. Two subsequent tests of the ashes were negative for drugs, but the tests consumed almost all of the ashes.

Profitable cuts

The Food and Drug Administration voted 5-to-4 to continue approval of the human-skin replacement patches made by Organogenesis Inc. of Canton, Mass. The company's technique is to cultivate and harvest the fastest-growing source of raw material: circumcision residue. One snipped foreskin can eventually produce 200,000 three-inch disks of fake skin. The Economist magazine called this use of foreskin "the most profitable . . . since David presented Saul with a sackload" to gain the throne of Israel.

Food fights with bite

Soup cook Jose Grimal, 46, of the San Francisco Hilton Hotel, was charged with biting off the end of a supervisor's finger during a fight over access to a storeroom. And Durham, N.C., waiter Joseph Drummond, 27, was charged with assault in April for allegedly stabbing a fellow waiter who had taken a hot potato off one of Drummond's trays instead of waiting until a chef gave him his own potato. And restaurant cook Harold Jack Sutton, 70, was finally arrested in Knoxville, Tenn., in April after eluding police for 22 years on a Delaware murder charge for allegedly killing a fellow cook in a predawn carving knife duel in the parking lot.

Change of mindless

British Columbia legislator Paul Reitsma was caught lying by a handwriting expert, who said, contrary to Reitsma's denials, that Reitsma was the author of a letter to the editor of the Parksville Morning Sun praising Reitsma's performance. The next day, Reitsma admitted he wrote it but that he was only dictating for another person. When confronted by charges that he had written nine similar letters, he said, "To the best of my knowledge," he hadn't written any others. The next day, he admitted to writing all nine amidst charges that he had written several dozen more.

Right to work

Recently, Washington, D.C., TV station WJLA aired a story on Government Printing Office bureaucrat J. Emory Crandall's complaint that his bosses had refused to give him more than three days' work in the last eight years, despite a $90,000 salary. The station videotaped Crandall at work reading, napping and playing computer games.

Winning streak

Darren Kennedy, 30, pleaded no contest in Denver to several misdemeanors for streaking across Coors Field during a Colorado Rockies baseball game. Kennedy told the judge he thought it would be a good way to meet women.

By the book

Earlier this year, Wichita Falls, Texas, Baptist minister Robert Jeffress wrote a $54 check to the city library to purchase all the copies of the book "Heather Has Two Mommies" and another children's book on living with homosexual parents, with the goal of retiring them from circulation. However, subsequent publicity caused so many library patrons to request the book that, according to the library's standard guidelines, it will have to order several new copies to satisfy demand.

Plowed over

Justin Carbaugh, 27, was jailed in April for riding his tractor mower drunk down Route 116 near York, Pa. Robert Rowland, 42, was charged with DUI on horseback on State Road 280 in Calloway County, Ky., in January.