Laurita Bledsoe of Detroit was recently granted a patent for her Talking Pottie trainer, which fits over a toilet and houses computer sound chips, a cassette player and speakers. The device gives kids applause and verbal feedback for jobs well done.
Taking the hit
In September, a judge in Newmarket, Ontario, found that professional dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford, 39, was guilty of running a house of prostitution, despite her claims that she was selling only role-playing for powerful clients who needed a safe place in which to act weak. The judge based his decision on evidence that some customers masturbated during sessions. (The court heard tales of selected customers, including a student who wanted to act like a fly chased by Bedford wielding a swatter and a man who wanted to be thought of as a floor tile that Bedford could walk over for hours at a time.)
In Chicago in September, doctors treated a brain tumor in a 37-year-old man, discovered only because he had been brought in for emergency surgery after an anti-gay gang severely beat him up. And in October in Leicester, England, Terry Killeavy, 36, survived major heart surgery; he had become alarmed when he detected an abnormality in his heartbeat when playing with a toy stethoscope he had just won at a bar. And in Otley, England, in June, a car that was rushing Jennifer Simpson, 3, to a hospital to save her from choking on a coin collided with a van, causing her to cough up the coin.
In September, schoolteachers in the Altai region of Siberia reluctantly agreed to accept 15 bottles of vodka each as partial back pay from the nearly bankrupt government. And in October, thieves in Volgograd, Russia, stole eight tons of mud, worth about $1,000, from a health spa. And in October, the Russian Railway Ministry announced it would carry no more mail until the post office pays its overdue bill (about $13 million). And in Thailand, porn star Morakot Maneechai complained in September that the economic downturn is ruining her career, in that her bust measurement has shrunk from 39 inches to 37 because of weight loss and because she is no longer able to afford fancy nourishing creams.
Out on a limb
In San Diego in May, recidivist unlicensed surgeon John Ronald Brown, 75, was arrested and charged with causing the death of an 80-year-old man who had consented to have Brown amputate his healthy leg. According to a friend, the patient suffered from apotemnophilia (sexual gratification from the removal of a limb). Brown's license was revoked in 1977 after botched transsexual operations, but in records recovered from his apartment, prosecutors believe he had dozens of patients after that for transsexual and breast-augmentation surgeries.
The Animal Rescue Foundation in Mobile, Ala., finally captured a 6-foot-tall, 150-pound emu that had escaped from its owner and apparently selected local resident Ed Stuardi to mate with. Stuardi and his wife were forced to remain inside their home for two days while the emu pranced outside, making gutteral mating noises.
An unidentified Texas couple struck a deal in August with a Texas A&M cloning laboratory to pay at least $2.3 million for a replica of their collie-husky dog Missy, "who is perfect," said the husband. According to Dr. Mark Westhusin, the project will take two years.
In June, a study released by the Huelsenberg Agricultural Testing Station in Germany concluded that cows that were able to sleep on waterbeds, listen to Mozart and receive machine massages increased their milk production. The milk was also better tasting. Two months before the waterbed study presented its results, a tire-recycling plant in Nova Scotia sold rubber crumbs to Promat Ltd. in Ontario to manufacture 45,000 cow mattresses, which would soften cows' standing and sleeping positions. Promat thinks cows using the mattresses will increase their rates of milk production.