News of the Weird

Lead Stories

Israel rolled back its clocks one hour in September to support Orthodox Jewish prayer schedules, but the Palestinian West Bank remained on summer time, and Israeli security sources told reporters that the time change resulted in the deaths of three Palestinian terrorist bombers. At 5 p.m. on September 5, as terrorists were en route to targets in Haifa and Tiberius, their bombs exploded in their cars, killing three of the men. The security sources said bomb makers in the West Bank had set the timers for 6 p.m. but that the bomb carriers incorrectly assumed that the hour's difference had been factored in.

In September, just after fighting broke out in East Timor, Indonesia's strongman defense minister, General Wiranto, dropped by a large party in Jakarta hosting retired military people, gave a moving speech defending the government's stand against East Timorese independence and, to dramatize his patriotic emotions, sang the song "Feelings." According to an Associated Press reporter in attendance, Wiranto nailed the high notes.

Child Porn as White-collar Crime

Among those charged recently with possession of child pornography and now awaiting trial: Gerald Ackerman, former mayor of Port Huron, Michigan (April); Warren Ernest Campbell, a chief of the Cannington, Ontario, fire department (August); Jeremy Lacey, president of the University of Vermont's only alcohol-free fraternity (August); George Edward Davis, former Lonoke, Arkansas, high school principal (August); Joe Dan Dwyer, mayor of Reeds Spring, Missouri (January).

Great Art!

Berlin artist Anton Henning, 35, unveiled his brown-splotched work, whose title translates to "Meatballs, Gherkins, Beetroot, Potatoes, Watermelon, Lemon Juice and a Large Brownie," which will run through January 2000 at the prestigious Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt. The title signifies what Henning ate to produce the splotches, which are sealed with resin so as not to smell.

At a motorcycle exhibit in Stockholm in May, orchestra conductor Petter Sundkvist waved racetrack flags instead of a baton to guide 100 bikers revving their engines at different intensities to perform a five-minute piece called "Wrooom," by Swedish composer Staffan Mossenmark. (One critic said the piece had a range from "ominous-and-loud to ominous-and-deafening.")

According to a June Agence France Presse report, the second annual Fair of Edible Contemporary Art in Seville, Spain, was a success. The report was accompanied by a photo of a model in a traditional Andalusian dress made entirely of raw ham.

Artistic human skin-branding has picked up devotees recently, according to reports in Time magazine and The Tampa Tribune, but only, said one technician, for people "intensely into their spirituality who are wishing to release some power." Branding guru Fakir Musafar teaches two techniques at his San Francisco school: the strike method (a design plate is heated and applied to the skin), and sketching by a 2,200-degree cauterized scalpel. Branding takes at least three weeks to heal and increases the risk of the most aggressive form of skin cancer.


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