News of the Weird

Lead Stories
*Latest Diaper Research: Jill Furlough, 31, of Lakenheath, England, told the London Daily Telegraph in April that she had been frightened by the green sparks flying out of her son Joshua's Kimberly-Clark disposable diaper. Scientists contacted by the newspaper said it was triboluminescence, a buildup of energy similar to static electricity. And in April, Jupiter, Florida, firefighter John Bartlett began selling a gel whose fire-resistant properties (basically, absorbent polymers) he first noticed in disposable diapers that he found intact in the midst of charred rubble. He sells all he can make, at $35 a gallon.

*An April Associated Press dispatch extolled the dedication of Sierra Madre, California, garbage aficionado Kevin Inciyaki, age nine, who according to his parents has been into trash since he was two and whose family vacation snapshots (to Sea World, etc.) always feature him inspecting local trash cans. He follows garbage trucks on their routes and has recently begun raising garbage-eating worms, under the supervision of UCLA researcher Eugene Tseng, who apparently is a lot like Kevin, proclaiming that garbage is "one of the most fun things you can possibly imagine."

*According to a May San Francisco Chronicle report, the 2,000 transcendental meditation adherents of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who moved to Fairfield, Iowa, several years ago have recently been clashing with the 8,000 townies over whether homes and businesses need to be rebuilt to face east so that, according to TM principles, the residents will lead more fulfilling, harmonious lives. (Sunrise produces energy; sunset produces lethargy.) TM people hold two of the city council's seven positions.

Another Argument Against Gun Control
*The latest person to shoot himself for perfectly understandable personal reasons: Henry Shepherd, 27, Cambridgeshire, England, who blasted his knee off with a shotgun in May to end the pain of a workplace injury. Said his brother, Lee: "He told me ... he'd rather have a stump [than the pain]. The knee injury was ruining his life."

Shoe Mania
*In May former Marla Maples publicist Chuck Jones was convicted in New York City of burglarizing her apartment to get dozens of pairs of her shoes (with many of which he admitted to having a personal sexual relationship). And in March in Singapore, Zainal Mohamed Esa, 43, was jailed for stealing women's shoes, which he would sniff (according to his lawyer) "until the smell runs out."

The Robbery Workout
*In Athens, Alabama, in May, Freamon Holt Jr., 29, was charged with theft after a chase that began when Holt fled on foot across a Kroger store parking lot carrying two steaks he had not paid for. Holt then jumped on a bike and rode away but soon crashed into a utility pole, briefly knocking himself unconscious. However, he came to and fled again, and in a move characterized by a local newspaper writer as the final "leg" of his "triathlon" escape, Holt jumped into Town Creek, but a firefighter caught up to him after a short swim.

-- By Chuck Shepherd


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