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Dealt a winning gland 

The current issue of Maxim magazine profiles Las Vegas gambler Brian Zembic, 37, who in October earned $100,000 on a dare from a colleague by having breast-implant surgery and leaving the implants in a full year. According to the article, he has not taken them out yet. Said Zembic: "Having breasts gives you insight into what life is like for women. You start to see what pigs men are."

Blood simple

In May, the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City, Kan., eager to put into perspective a Lewis, Kan., woman's Virgin Mary plaque that she says weeps blood (and has drawn 10,000 visitors), commissioned DNA tests of the blood and found it to be that of the plaque's owner, Margarita Holguin Cazares. The editor of the local Edwards County Sentinel editorialized that the DNA tests actually make the scene even more miraculous, in that God must have created blood that exactly matches Cazares' and put it on the plaque.

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Up in arms

In June, Chief Thomas O'Brien of Scotch Plains, N.J., fined himself for accidentally leaving his gun in a department store dressing room while he tried on clothes; another shopper found it and, thinking it was a toy, played with it until a shot was fired, through a wall. And three weeks earlier, Chief Richard Williams of Madison, Wis., suspended himself for leaving his gun in the microwave oven at his home, where he sometimes hid it from potential burglars; the next day he absent-mindedly started roasting a turkey until the heat exploded a bullet through the door and into a banister.

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Up with people

A May New York Times report described the curriculum at the four-week, $20,000 Rockefeller Foundation course in how rich people can give away their money better. One man without benefit of the course, New York City investment house chief Alan Greenberg, 70, announced in June that he would donate $1 million to men in poverty, not for food but for Viagra ("because many people have been suffering in silence").

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Affirmative traction

As of early June, more than 500 people had applied to fill a vacancy for the official executioner's job in Swaziland, necessary because a man was convicted in March of the murder of a 9-year-old boy and was condemned to death. The Justice Minister said he is an equal opportunity employer and advertised for a "hangperson."


In May, the Toronto Globe and Mail profiled Ted Strickwerde, curator of the Bowmanville (Ontario) Zoo, who also serves as sperm extractor for Angus, the African elephant. Strickwerde, covered hand to shoulder in K-Y jelly, rectally massages Angus' pelvic urethra to stimulate his nerve glands and give him an erection, leading to the collection of sperm, which is used for artificial insemination for the endangered species. Strickwerde noted that Angus must enjoy the exercise, for if not, he could easily break Strickwerde's arm.

Quiet riot

More than 100 fans and 35 police officers were injured in riots in France by fans supporting their World Cup teams. On the other hand, during Japan's World Cup loss to Argentina, its fans remained so tidy that they left almost nothing for janitors to clean; in fact, many Japanese fans brought along their own garbage bags.

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School records

Among the unmechanized jobs in 1990s America is that of JoAnne Mohr of Oregon, profiled in an April Associated Press report. She looks through a window below water level around the Bonneville Dam and counts the number of salmon and shad swimming up the Columbia River to spawn. From April through October, the Army Corps of Engineers provides counters like Mohr, who says she typically records 100 fish per shift.


Among the occupational hazards of "underwear wrangler" Jeffrey Bruce, according to an April New York Times Magazine piece, is that his job of hooking and unhooking underwear models for photo shoots sends him to several cities and that he must take his satchel through airport metal detectors. When he is called on to open it, his explanations for the bras, panties, stockings, briefs, tape and safety pins often fall on deaf ears.

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