News of the Weird

Lead Stories

In November in Tokyo, a passenger was killed in a car accident that occurred when the driver, Ms. Tomomi Okawa, 25, rammed a concrete pole; according to police, she lost control when she missed the brake pedal because of her trendy but clunky platform shoes. And in September, schoolteacher Misayo Shimizu, 25, died several hours after fracturing her skull on a sidewalk after toppling over in her five-inch-heel platform shoes.

Mr. Patrick Corp, 24, pled guilty to possession of child pornography in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in November and will be recommended for a federal prison sentence. He had photographed his 17-year-old girlfriend with her permission. Although she is beyond the age of consent to have sex in Michigan, she is too young to be photographed while doing so.

1999 Election Roundup

In mayoral voting, pro wrestlers Jerry "The King" Lawler finished third in Memphis, Tennessee (11 percent of the vote), and Outlaw Josey Wales IV finished third in Houston (10 percent). David W. Irons Jr. won a county council seat in Seattle, beating his sister Di, who had the support of their parents. Eugene Reppenhagen beat his ex-wife Carol for a seat on the Gloversville, New York, town council. And African-American Albert Jones finished third in the Louisiana governor's race, six weeks after ballot officials rejected his attempt to list himself as Albert "Super Nigger" Jones.

Cultural Diversity

Latest rumors: The Cambodian government had to calm widespread fears in June that evil spirits surrounding the royal family had demanded the souls of long-haired women, thus setting off a surge of hair sacrifices around the royal palace aimed to pacify the demons. And in August several women were injured leaping from speeding cars in Zimbabwe because they believed a rumor that some drivers were forcing women to breastfeed large frogs in order to attain prosperity.

In June a federal judge struck down the no-public-dancing ordinance in the town of Pound in the mountains of southwest Virginia. (Previously a dance permit could be issued only to someone who was "proper" and "of good moral character.") Said one city councilmember, explaining the old ordinance, "There's bound to be trouble when you mix drinking, country music and dancing."

Also, in the Last Month...

A Las Vegas TV producer and photographer were fired for creating "on the scene" footage of October's California earthquake by rocking their video truck. A 29-year-old man who had just failed a driving test for the fourth time drove his car into a testing office, just missing the five examiners inside (Bergen, Norway). Frances and Harold Mountain squatted on a courtroom floor to divide up nearly 100 Beanie Babies, the last items of property to be settled before their divorce became final (Las Vegas). A judge ruled that a husband was so unhygienic (ignoring a toilet that had overflowed into the dining room) that it would be grounds for divorce (Buenos Aires). At a chess tournament on Spain's Menorca island, the country's governing sports organization ordered urine-sample drug tests.

-- By Chuck Shepherd

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