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Waste watchers 

An April Associated Press dispatch extolled the dedication of Sierra Madre, Calif., garbage aficionado Kevin Inciyaki, age 9, who, according to his parents, has been into trash since he was 2 and whose family vacation snapshots (to Sea World, etc.) always feature him inspecting local trash cans. He follows garbage trucks on their routes and has recently begun raising garbage-eating worms, under the supervision of UCLA researcher Eugene Tseng, who apparently is a lot like Kevin, proclaiming that garbage is "one of the most fun things you can possibly imagine."

Sunset law

According to a May San Francisco Chronicle report, the 2,000 Transcendental Meditation adherents of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who moved to Fairfield, Iowa, several years ago have been clashing with the 8,000 townies over whether homes and businesses need to be rebuilt to face east so that, according to TM principles, the residents will lead more fulfilling, harmonious lives. (Sunrise produces energy; sunset produces lethargy.) TM people hold two of the city council's seven positions.

Knee-jerk reaction

The latest person to shoot himself for perfectly understandable personal reasons: Henry Shepherd, 27, Cambridgeshire, England, who blasted his knee off with a shotgun in May to end the pain of a workplace injury. Said his brother, Lee: "He told me ... he'd rather have a stump [than the pain]. The knee injury was ruining his life."

Marathon man

In Athens, Ala., in May, Freamon Holt Jr., 29, was charged with theft after a lengthy chase that began when Holt fled on foot across a Kroger store parking lot carrying two steaks he did not pay for. Holt then jumped on a bicycle and rode away, but soon crashed into a utility pole, briefly knocking himself unconscious. However, he came to and fled again, and in a move characterized by a local newspaper writer as the final "leg" of his "triathlon" escape, Holt jumped into Town Creek, but a firefighter caught up to him after a short swim.

Crawl's fair

In April, Jay Monfort bowed to an imminent court ruling and took down the 4-foot-high wire fence he had erected on his property to protect his office in the town of Fishkill, N.Y., from a nest of deadly timber rattlesnakes 260 feet away. According to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the timber rattler is endangered, and Monfort's fence "would block the snakes from their usual places to hunt, bask in the sun and reproduce, and would probably cause them 'physiological stress.'"

This land is your land

According to a March London Daily Telegraph dispatch, the Brazilian government recently awarded a lone hermit tribesman a 96-square-kilometer personal preserve, off-limits to civilization, in the northwest part of the country near the Bolivian border. Loggers, ranchers and farmers in the area protested because of the impact on their livelihoods. A government team had tracked the hermit down in August 1998 to let him know of the planned preserve, but he resisted and in fact fired an arrow at them.

Title holder

In 1997, a car belonging to Michel Emond, 36, was confiscated by the Quebec government's automobile insurance board based on alleged overdue fines, but a mistake had been made, and the board agreed to reimburse Mr. Emond's expenses. However, Emond got tired of waiting for the check, and in March 1999 took advantage of a provision in Quebec law and filed a document that permitted him to legally seize the board's headquarters in Quebec City (value, about $33 million U.S. dollars) until the debt was paid. The next day (13 months after agreeing to do so), the board paid up.

Shorts circuit

Jill Furlough, 31, of Laken-heath, England, told the London Daily Telegraph in April that she had been frightened by the green sparks flying out of her year-old son Joshua's Kimberly-Clark disposable diaper. Scientists told the newspaper that it was triboluminescence, an energy build-up similar to static electricity.

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