Welsh artist Donald Jackson began work in March on a hand-lettered, 1,150-page Bible, whose specially pigmented ink will produce illuminated calligraphy and illustrations; the $3 million, six-year project is by St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn. At the other end of the technology spectrum, the Henderson (Ky.) Gleaner in February profiled retired bricklayer Truman Meredith, 64, who -- despite never having learned to read -- had just finished a yearlong project of neatly printing the entire text of the Bible onto 1,700 pages in 14 loose-leaf notebooks. Direct quotes from Jesus were written in red ink.
It gives one paws
According to a February report by the U.S. House of Representatives Government Reform Committee, prescription drugs suitable for both humans and animals usually carry different price tags, even though they may be exactly the same product. For example, Medrol, an arthritis remedy for humans and an anti-inflammatory for dogs, is about one-fifth the price when marketed to canines. Critics say the pharmaceutical houses charge more for human drugs because most of their sales are at least partially reimbursed by insurance.
Hard to swallow
After a 35-year-old man reported to a Brunswick, Ga., emergency room in January complaining of abdominal cramps, doctors removed 55 thin glass cocaine pipes (one of them 4 1/2 inches long) from his stomach; the man said he did not realize they were there because he was always high when he accidentally ingested them. And in September, according to a New Delhi, India, newspaper, veterinary surgeons removed 100 pounds' worth of plastic bags and other litter from the stomach of a cow during a four-hour operation.
Smoke and mirrors
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in October that a settlement of Pennsylvania's lawsuit against the tobacco industry included a $42 million windfall for the two law firms that were chosen by the governor to represent the state (equaling about $1,300 per hour for each lawyer), even though the case's research and arguments were largely copied from other states' lawsuits and the negotiations were streamlined because the tobacco companies had begun settling those cases. Among the padded expenditures: $62 to one lawyer for 12 minutes' work (reading The Wall Street Journal) and $290 to another for an hour he spent ordering books.
Ready for their 1040 forms
At his booking on drug charges in December, Norman Hardy Jr. was asked by Brattleboro, Vt., police what his occupation was. "Selling drugs," he answered defiantly. And at his booking in connection with a car-jacking in November, Rafael A. Jackson, 28, described his twin vocations to East St. Louis, Ill., police as "Homicide and robbery."
You bet your wife
In December, a court in Lusaka, Zambia, approved Dorothy Mapani's strategy to settle a dispute with her husband, Effas Ondya, over which of the two is more responsible for the couple's lack of a sex life. Ondya said he is uninterested because he believes Mapani to be infertile, and Mapani has accepted Ondya's challenge to get pregnant (by any man) within 90 days. The $300 bet, the court's two justices said, seemed a reasonable way to resolve the issue.
It's raining men
Gay-adult-club owner Keneth McKeigan was convicted in Toronto in December of running a bawdy house and sentenced to 100 hours of community service. McKeigan's crime was running a three-month promotion at the club during 1995 and 1996 called "Sperm Attack Mondays," in which male dancers would masturbate on stage. Some front-row customers donned raincoats for the shows.
Iced ice baby
A 24-year-old man accidentally shot himself to death in London, Ohio, in February while performing with two friends in a scene for a rap-music video. In other horseplay tragedies, a 22-year-old man fell to his death after sliding backward down a banister at America West Arena during a Dec. 20 Phoenix Suns basketball game, and a 26-year-old amateur wrestler took a fatal fall from a Las Vegas light pole he had climbed while celebrating New Year's Eve.
The cups are sold separately
In December, the publisher Benedikt Taschen debuted a 480-page, 70-pound "coffee-table" book by renowned photographer Helmut Newton that is only available with its own coffee table, which was designed by Philippe Starck. The pair sells for about $1,700.
You Kant do that
In March, the venerable San Francisco Art Institute disciplined student Jonathan Yegge, 24, for a 10-minute performance-art piece that, he said, "explores Hegel's master-slave dialectic" and illustrates Kant's theories of freedom of thought and action. However, what 20 observers and two instructors saw was Yegge and a blindfolded volunteer engaging in oral sex, followed by Yegge administering an enema to his assistant and the two men exchanging excreta. Complained Yegge, "They say you can do whatever you want as long as you can justify it artistically. I was given no chance to do that [before being disciplined]."