Runner sticks it to her coach 

An Indonesian runner named Ruwiyati won the women's marathon in the Southeast Asia Games and promptly told reporters in Jakarta that the secret to her success is that she drinks blood from her coach's finger before each race. Said coach Alwi Mugiyanto, "I don't know why, but she just insists on doing it."

Pigging out

When farmers leave for the day, pigs start to party, said agricultural researchers in Reading, England, interviewed by the London Daily Telegraph in April. According to Nick Bird of the Farmex firm, the pigs eat, drink and roughhouse until about midnight before retiring for the evening, at least in buildings that are well-lighted. Farmex now wants to know whether this has any effect on the supply of bacon.

Diana mania

Abdel Rahaman opened a delicatessen named the Diana-Dodi Corp. in New York City in March (without the approval of either family). The makers of Flora margarine did get approval of the family for special tubs of Thanks/Diana margarine, which went on sale in Britain in March. Also in March, British publisher Anchor Books released an anthology, Poems for a Princess, all by people generously described as "amateur poets," selling for about $30 in paperback. (The Observer newspaper's review called it "possibly the worst book of poetry ever published.")

Dear johns

Jacques Robaey, 57, of Dunkirk, France, announced in December that he had begun to take orders for his "Ten plus" stand-alone restroom, which is ordinary except that the door locks automatically when the toilet is used and will not unlock unless the user runs water from the sink for 10 seconds or longer (at least simulating hand-washing). And in January, Warrenton, Mo., inventor Leonard Bruyere put on sale his small, $350 device that attaches to the side of a toilet and sucks out odors. "I just kept thinking," he said, "why the heck do people have to smell their own waste."

Free to be you and me

A report issued by a California legislative committee in April called for changing the state law that actually permits motorists legally to use fictitious names on their driver's licenses. The provision was intended to help Hollywood stars who have stage names, but it is finally dawning on people that it is an easy law to abuse.

Hollow ring

A 13-year-old boy was convicted in April of trying to organize a prostitution ring among his middle-school classmates in Reston, Va. According to testimony, a 12-year-old girl (whom the boy called "my main ho") recruited seven other girls, via threats, to pay for "introductions" to boys, and several boys paid $10 to $20 each for sex, although there was no evidence that sex actually occurred. A police officer said the leader told him he was a "pimp" and had made $75 so far, which he had spent on Eddie Bauer T-shirts.

Grizzly details

Steve Thompson, wildlife biologist at Yosemite National Park, telling The New York Times in ;November that the cause of 600 car break-ins by bears in 1997 mostly was food left in the seat: "My problems start when the smarter bears and the dumber visitors intersect."

Looks that bill

Newport News, Va., mayoral candidate Billy Hudgins discussing his recent arrest for patronizing a prostitute (which he says should not be a crime): "So many times I've met women and tried to get a date with them. ‘You're too old (they would say). You're too ugly.' Girls that work the streets, there is no age or ugliness. They don't look at it that way."

Brief updates

News of the Weird reported in 1988 on the Japanese inventors' expo at which was introduced "six-day" underwear -- a cotton panel with an elastic band and three leg holes, so that the wearer could rotate one leg hole per day and then turn the garment over and go for three more days.

In February 1998, two Metairie, La., women obtained a patent for pantyhose with three legs so that the spare can be used when a run develops.

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