News of the Weird

Lead Stories

In August, Bob Thompson, who had just sold his Thompson-McCully road-building firm in Belleville, Michigan, for $422 million, dished out $128 million of it in bonuses to his 550 workers, with each of 80 managers and salaried workers receiving an annuity worth at least $1 million. Thompson said the gift was warranted because the company's success is "dependent on people." Said one worker to Thompson, "[T]here's nobody else in this world who would have done what you did."

The death of a 49-year-old woman in Scotland in September brought to three the number of no-food, no-water, "breatharian"-diet followers of Australian Ellen Greve who have died of starvation in two years. Greve claims 5,000 disciples, charges more than $2,000 (U.S.) per ticket for her seminars and sells her philosophy ("liberation from the drudgery of food and drink") to Westerners in part to confer a spirituality on third world hunger. Eating-disorder specialists quoted by the Times of London said, of course, that there is no scientific basis for Greve's teachings.

Bright Ideas

In a Stettler, Alberta, courtroom in June, police describing their arrest of David Zurfluh, 18, told how Zurfluh, in the back of a squad car after being stopped for driving under the influence, ripped a large swath from his undershorts and stuffed it in his mouth, hoping, he later said, to absorb the alcohol in his breath before taking a Breathalyzer test. Though the courtroom was in stitches, Zurfluh had the last laugh when the judge dismissed the charge after officers admitted that Zurfluh's reading was not high enough.

From a May police report in The Messenger (Madisonville, Kentucky), concerning two trucks being driven strangely on a rural road: A man would drive one truck 100 yards, stop, walk back to a second truck, drive it 100 yards beyond the first truck, stop, walk back to the first truck, drive it 100 yards beyond the second truck, and so on. According to police, the man's brother was passed out drunk in one of the trucks, so the man was driving both trucks home. (However, a blood-alcohol test showed the driver, also, to be presumed impaired.)

Clichés Come to Life

Carol Champion, upon being given a special award by the London Tourist Board in July for outstanding work as a restroom attendant, said at a special ceremony: "I just want to thank my manager, Richard, the cleaning staff, the maintenance men, my customers, and everybody who knows me. I could not have achieved this without them."

Of Course! Pest control specialists cited in the newspaper feature Earth Week in June said that last year's El Nino storms caused a huge rat infestation in Southern California, and especially around Beverly Hills. And in the middle of a drought emergency, the annual Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, July 29th Rain Day festival was hit by rain for the 105th time in 126 years. And after a judge in Edmonton, Alberta, ordered a 40-year-old sex offender in July not to keep pornographic magazines at home, the man admitted he had some but said he was only reading the articles.

-- By Chuck Shepherd


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