News of the Weird

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Department of Energy security guidelines released in August, in response to reports of Chinese espionage, include a requirement that workers report any "close and continuing contact" (defined as two or more visits) with nationals from 25 specified countries. DOE official Edward Curran acknowledged to reporters that continuing sexual relationships are covered but that one-night stands are not and said he did not believe the guidelines would undermine romance or encourage promiscuity.

An August London Observer story alerted Britons that this summer's New York City fashion fad of live snakes as women's accessories would soon hit England. Londoners just back from Manhattan reported they had seen "several" or "quite a few" snakes on the street, from dance-club exhibitionists to the upscale patrons of trendy bars like Max Fish, with serpents usually carried in handbags and chosen for their color, e.g., albinos or green garters or bright-banded corn snakes.

"Minnesota Nice"

In May William Pittman, an official at the Hazelden Foundation near Minneapolis and an authority on alcoholism and anger management, pled guilty to harassing his ex-wife, including sending anonymous notes suggesting she kill herself. And in September, anesthesiologist Thomas J. Valente, 41, pled guilty in Apple Valley, Minnesota, to punching a 69-year-old woman in the face in a road-rage incident. And in August Debra A. Doherty, 38, was charged in Minneapolis with administering a nearly fatal beating with a broomstick and a crutch to a 39-year-old roommate with muscular dystrophy.

The Weirdo-American Community

In May Miami-Dade, Florida, police arrested John Troy Davey, 37, and accused him of being one of a gang of serial flashers working Miami neighborhoods. Gang members' outfits included bandannas, Gstrings and women's panties with the crotch cut out. According to police, the men discussed techniques and target neighborhoods on the Internet.

In June, a Sandpoint, Idaho, publisher released a book on numerical patterns that reveal the "musical and electromagnetic frequencies for spiritual evolution and world healing," patterns that appeared spontaneously one day on his author's car windshield, he said. The publisher is dentist and Harvard-degreed health educator Leonard Horowitz, who told the Spokane (Washington) Spokesman-Review in July that he used to calm his root-canal patients with holistic techniques rather than anesthesia.

At an academic conference on sexuality in Madison, Wiconsin, in May, Robert Bahr, the founder of a newsletter on masturbation, told attendees that some of his readers have adopted the "solo" sexual orientation, being neither hetero- nor homo- nor bisexual. According to Bahr, in remarks reported by Canada's National Post, these men "have fallen in love with their own reflections." Some engage in "marathons of masturbation, honeymoons in which they lock themselves away in their own homes, parading naked from mirror to mirror."


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