Paying on the installment plan 

Inman, S.C., police arrested Donald W. Melton, 29, in July and charged him with robbing a CCB Bank. Melton was easy to track down: He had failed to ask for a bag in which to carry the money, and thus had to stuff it all into his pants and socks. Enough of the currency came loose during his run that residents along his escape route called police every few minutes to report that another bill had been spotted. Within 40 minutes of the robbery, Melton was in handcuffs.

Cysts: the other red meat

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is actively proposing that animal carcasses with cancers, tumors or open sores be considered safe for human consumption (though aesthetically unpleasing), as long as the offending part is cut away. The proposal is part of a general loosening of slaughterhouse-inspection standards, whose public-comment period ends Aug. 29. One critic already weighed in by saying she did not want to "eat pus from a chicken that has pneumonia." Also considered benign under the proposal are glandular swellings, infectious arthritis and diseases caused by intestinal worms.

Big Drac attack

David W. Bolton, 45, was charged with assault in July for hitting a fellow boardinghouse resident in Clarkstown, N.Y., after trying at first to drive a sharpened wooden stake through the man's heart with a hammer. (Police said Bolton told them he was acting on "instructions from a higher authority.") Two weeks later in San Francisco, hitchhiker Eric David Knight was arrested for assaulting a 28-year-old driver who had picked him up; Knight had allegedly bit the driver in the neck and sucked his blood after thanking him for the ride. He later told police, "I need the cure. I need blood." (San Francisco's "vampire killer," Joshua Rudiger, had an air-tight alibi: He's in prison, serving 23 years to life.)

The sheltering sty

Homeless man Dennis Downey, 42, complained to a Chicago Tribune reporter in March that the sprinkler system at a building on Lower Michigan Avenue was drenching him and some of his colleagues as they settled in for the night. "They're trying to get rid of the homeless," said Downey. The building manager said the sprinklers are necessary to clean up the feces and urine left by the folks who camp alongside the building at night.

Bad cops go to haven

In March, Ontario lawyer Clayton Ruby attempted to bolster his right-of-privacy defense of Constable Graham Hunt, who had been caught on videotape taking a certain item from one of the rooms in a police station. Later in the tape, Ruby pointed out, another officer was captured receiving oral sex from a female police employee in the same room. Obviously, Ruby reasoned, officers who entered that particular chamber had a legitimate "expectation of privacy," or the pair would not have gone in there to commit the act.

Wieners and losers

The Blaster -- a machine designed to propel free Schneiders hot dogs into the stands at Toronto's SkyDome during baseball games -- went awry in April, pulverizing the franks and spraying fragments on fans. A vegetarian Blue Jays supporter told the National Post newspaper that she would sue if she got spritzed. "What if I had my mouth open and a piece of hot dog landed in my mouth?" she inquired.

Emotionally scarred

In May, the Quebec Superior Court and Quebec's Administrative Tribunal ruled that Alain Desbiens has the right to have his tattoo removed at government expense, in that the decoration adversely affects his psychological well-being. The estimated cost of erasing the tattoo -- a blue-and gray-caricature of a death's head located above Desbiens' right bicep -- was estimated at $2,000 to $3,000.

Hands-on involvement

Felicia Vitale, 41, told reporters in February that she would sue the New York Police Department for wrongly arresting her after she walked away from a sting operation at Staten Island Mall while carrying a planted purse that contained $2. She admitted the purse did not belong to her but denied that she intended to steal it. Vitale pointed out that she suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, and thus must perform a series of tasks in rigid order every day; she said she simply had many other things to do before she got around to returning the purse.

Oh Darwin, please believe me

According to an April Seattle Times report, the Great Ape Legal Project (headed by a Seattle attorney) intends to demonstrate within the next decade that chimpanzees should have some of the same legal rights as humans. The project's goal is to see the simians moving beyond their current status as mere property "to [become] people with rights to life and liberty and perhaps even the pursuit of happiness." Though it would then be possible for a chimp to sue his guardian, a reassuring spokesperson said that lower animals like cockroaches and ants "will never be eligible for any kind of rights."

Don't ask him about Oral Roberts

Dashing the hopes of owner Hubert Penrod Jr., a May promotion at his Huge Hooter Haven strip club in Nashville failed to attract men who had come to town for the Billy Graham Crusade that weekend. "I know all the porn stars," Penrod said, "but I don't exactly keep up with preachers. Hell, I thought Billy Graham was some singer or something. It never entered my mind that [it was] some preacher [who] was filling up the football stadium."

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