News of the Weird

Lead Stories

Cynthia Lane told reporters in February that she would file a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission because Windsor Regional Hospital had labeled her Down syndrome child on charts as "FLK," which several health care staffers told her was a commonly used term meaning "funny-looking kid." Said the hospital's chief of pediatrics, "A lot of parents dislike the term."

State-of-the-art veterinary care was described in a January New York magazine story on Manhattan's Animal Medical Center, including kidney dialysis (at $55,000 a year), cataract removals, hip replacements, anterior-cruciate ligament repairs, root canals and brain surgery. CPR on small animals (such as, witnessed by the reporter, a pet rat) consists of placing the animal's head inside a doctor's mouth. The New York Times reported in January that veterinary care flourishes in Canada because the private sector runs it, unlike human health care; one man, long wait-listed for an MRI at Ontario hospitals, quickly booked time at an animal hospital.

Last Words

"Who wants old ugly Kevin Green, anyway?" (uttered by a 17-year-old Atlanta woman who was then shot to death by Kevin's other girlfriend, who was convicted in December). "Make me [stop humming Christmas carols]" (uttered in December by a 78-year-old Menlo Park, California, man who was then strangled by his roommate). "I killed your dog" (uttered tauntingly by a 37-year-old Whitelaw, Alberta, woman to her rifle-holding husband, who then shot her to death, according to his December confession; she had already admitted having an affair with an old boyfriend).

Not My Fault

The family of 15-year-old Lance Landers said it would appeal a January Alabama court decision barring the diagnosed-"emotionally conflicted" student from public schools. His mother insists he be mainstreamed into the school system under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, even though he has allegedly assaulted his mother, threatened to kill students, punched the driver of a moving school bus, spit in cafeteria food, thrown batteries at students and regularly addressed the principal, "Hello, motherfucker!"

People Who Are Not Like You and Me

Joseph Motyka, 32, was arrested on January 1 in Chicago and charged with child endangerment because he, not content with a firecracker celebration of the new year, had brought home a quarter-stick of dynamite. Motyka's three-year-old daughter discovered it and put it into a candle, and the resultant explosion took off her right hand and caused hearing and vision loss. .

Also, in the Last Month...

A couple parked in a Loudon County, Virginia, nighttime lovers' lane was so startled by an approaching sheriff's cruiser that the man abruptly drove off, right into the Potomac River, before being rescued. A rapist sentenced to two life terms plus 110 years asked the judge for a lethal injection, saying, "I can't do that much time" (Prince George's County, Maryland). A math teacher was arrested for forcing a 13-year-old boy to take his restroom break in a classroom trash can (Montgomery, Alabama).

-- By Chuck Shepherd

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