By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
*Hundreds of people began arriving in the town of Bras D'Or, Nova Scotia, in September, when residents spotted a likeness of Jesus Christ on an outside wall of Tim Horton's doughnut shop. The clearest image is said to be under the floodlights of a nearby chicken restaurant, called the Lick-a-Chick. And in Rio de Janeiro, designer Patrizia D'Angello and boutique owner David Azulay made plans to introduce men's swim trunks, modestly cut by Rio's beach standards, that feature a picture of Jesus on the seat.
*In September, customs officials at Port Hueneme, California, went into a tizzy when a fully operational (except for the warhead), 20-ton, 186-mile-range Scud missile was unloaded from a British vessel, destined for a local address. Said a customs agent, "All you needed to do was strap on a garbage can full of C-4 [explosive], and you had a weapon." After an investigation, customs officials said the buyer was not a terrorist but just a collector, and that the British seller had merely failed to disable the missile as required by U.S. law.
In July, the Los Angeles Times profiled Dan Taylor, a 58-year-old retired entrepreneur in Hardeeville, South Carolina, who is close to finishing the $1-million, 40-foot-long submarine he will take next June to Scotland in order to hunt the Loch Ness monster, which he says he first encountered 30 years ago but in a flimsier submarine that couldn't keep up with the critter. According to his wife, almost all of Taylor's waking hours in the last three years have been spent thinking about "Nessie."
*A July profile of paralegal Michael Levin, age 57, of Santa Monica, California, in Los Angeles's weekly Westside News focuses on his 30-year fixation with clipping, cataloguing, cross-indexing and saving thousands of newspaper articles that for some reason draw his attention. His clippings fill three five-foot-high file cabinets. "What strikes me," he said, "is the zany, the quirky or a magnum opus of a piece in the newspaper, such as a solid overview of Albania."
*Much of the homes of John Livingston of Cleburne, Texas, and Gayle Brennan and Mike Drysdale of Duarte, California, have been given over as shrines to their personal icons: baseball pitcher Nolan Ryan (Livingston) and Garfield the cat (Brennan and Drysdale). Livingston's most prized possession among several hundred items is a 1991 chest X-ray of Ryan. Brennan and Drysdale have 3,000 Garfield items, including 20 pairs of Garfield bedroom slippers; they plan to move to a bigger house so they can display everything.
*A September New York Times story described some of the hundreds of people who are so smitten with the Broadway show Jekyll and Hyde that they have seen it dozens of times (in one case, 100), at prices of $20 to $75; they refer to themselves as Jekkies since their obsession resembles that of hard-core Star Trek fans. Said one Jekkie: "Instead of going to a therapist, we talk to each other about it, since others truly don't understand." Go figure.
-- By Chuck Shepherd