According to a Times of London report in October, 45 people (celebrities and prominent executives) have had low-power microchips surgically implanted in their bodies in order to make it easier for police to track them by global satellite in the event they are kidnapped. The Sky-Eye chip, made by the GenEtics company, consists of organic and synthetic fibers that are powered by the body's own neurophysiological energy.
In September, a Tennessee appeals court rejected a woman's challenge to a child-custody ruling that she said endangers her 12-year-old son. Wrote the court, "Record does not support finding that unsupervised visitation with husband puts child in danger. `T`here is not one whisper of anything improper in `the father-son` relationship," the judges reassured her, "except for ‘butt-facing' incidents (one participant is held down and another participant pulls down his pants and squats down with his bare bottom on other's face)."
Taking a powder
In September, the 10th Lord Hardwicke (Joseph Phillip Sebastian Yorke) was suspended by Britain's House of Lords after it was reported that he tried to sell cocaine to a newspaper reporter. Several days before that, Lord Dunleath reported in a floor speech in the House that he had discovered photos of naked young men on the Lords' website and that he wasn't sure what to do about that.
Beating the rap
Albuquerque, N.M., county assessor David Kirk Anderson told reporters in September that he would serve out his 1998 term rather than resign. He had just been arrested for roughing up his girlfriend, which was the sixth domestic-abuse charge filed against him since 1992. And the Washington Post reported in October that D.C. city council candidate Mark Thompson was serving two years' probation for domestic assault, having been accused by his wife in 1996 court papers of beating her several dozen times during her 1992 pregnancy and bloodying her lip three weeks after he attended the 1996 Million Man March, which was aimed in part at reducing domestic violence.
In August, the former chief of police of Palmerston, Ontario, Barry Moyle, received a suspended sentence on an assault charge. Moyle now works as an Elvis impersonator and has a stormy relationship with his victim, who is his sister and colleague, Shelley Moyle, who works as a Marilyn Monroe impersonator.
Attachai Deesaraphan, 24, and two accomplices were arrested in June after robbing a restaurant in Bangkok in a incident that captured the city's fancy. According to diner-victims, Attachai shouted, "This is the IMF era `International Monetary Fund, which has become important to Thailand's failing economy`. Give us your money now, and we'll pay it back later." Patrons burst out laughing and resumed watching the World Cup match on a big-screen TV, but then Attachai fired three gunshots into the ceiling to get their attention and completed the robbery.
Officials at a jail in Saluda, Va., said Denova Surles Rowe, 22, called several days after her boyfriend's arrest in August to tell them that the prosecutor had dropped the charges and that Rowe should be freed. Amused jailers said they would have to see the order on the prosecutor's letterhead. Two hours later, a fax arrived ordering the boyfriend released, written on an ordinary fax cover sheet with "York County Commonwealth Office" hand-written at the top, various misspellings and grammatical atrocities in the message, and the fax sender ID as the phone number of a local office supply store that offers fax service. Rowe was arrested several days later.
A slug's life
"News of the Weird" has reported several times on lucky victims of point-blank gunfire who were saved when the bullets were absorbed by a stack of coupons in the target's pocket or by a Bible in the hand, or deflected off of keys or a golf ball. In September, Steve Mackins, 41, was shot in the stomach by an unidentified man who pulled Mackins' truck over on a rural road near Kings Mountain, N.C. Mackins was taken to an emergency room doubled over and grimacing, but doctors found that the .25-caliber bullet had merely bounced off his belt buckle.