In June, Reuters profiled Jerri Lyons, 55, of Sebastopol, Calif., who conducts seminars on the legalities and etiquette of do-it-yourself funerals, which are supposedly becoming more popular as alternatives to $5,000 funeral home services. According to one Lyons client, personally bathing and dressing a deceased friend made the loss easier to accept. Tip: Ice must be applied after about 24 hours (packages of frozen vegetables OK). A funeral-industry analyst said Lyons was not a threat; of more concern to the industry these days was, as Reuters put it, "a soft mortality rate due in part to a weak flu season."
Eggs over uneasy
On the heels of a journal report on increased use since 1999 of posthumous sperm extraction (so the family line can be continued even after the father passes away) came a June report than an Israeli researcher had grown maturing ovarian tissue in the lab after extracting it from aborted fetuses. If Dr. Tal Biron-Shenton's work eventually makes way for fully developed eggs, it would mean that a baby could be born even though her mother never was.
In April, police arrested parents Khalidan Tunkara, 28, and Olin Washington, 32, in Norcross, Ga., after one of them -- following a squabble in a parking lot -- left their 9-month-old girl on the ground and drove away, intending to pressure the other parent to take the kid, but that parent then drove off, too.
The same thing happened in February with parents Jennifer Jones, 21, and the father of her 3-week-old girl; police found the baby in the street in front of a beauty salon in Elgin, Ill.
It happened yet again in May in Lake Worth, Texas, with parents Christy Leann Radacy, 23, and the father of her 2-year-old twin daughters when police found the girls lying on busy State Road 199.
I.V. league match
Earlier this year in Mobile, Ala., Daina Sancho, 42, and Irwin Vincent ("I.V.") O'Rourke III., 14, were married after a several-months' courtship. Said the boy's approving father (of Sancho's infatuation), "If you've met the man of your dreams, why wait?" The couple live in Gonzales, La., but I.V. could not marry there until he turns 16; Alabama permits 14-year-olds to marry if they have their parents' permission.
The blame game
Gilbert D. Walker, 43, was arrested (and then released) in Panama City, Fla., in July, after crazily breaking into a neighbor's house and chasing her with a dagger. He said the problem was that he had drunk too much jasmine tea.
In June, heroin-cocaine addict Amanda C. Hagan, 29, brought to a Norristown, Pa., hospital after an overdose, said it was the hospital's fault that she shot up again in her bed because it let in the visitor who resupplied her.
And in July, fired Rochester, N.Y., police officer Clint Jackson, 24, who was convicted of fondling eight women during traffic stops, said he was contemplating a lawsuit against the police department for inadequate training.
In June in the state penitentiary near Indiana, Pa., Raymond Davenport, 19, doing time for aggravated assault, told fellow inmates that he did not believe them when they told him that another inmate had recently gotten his hand stuck in a prison toilet. It was impossible, he said, and he would prove it, just watch and see. A short while later, guards had to call in civilian firefighters with an air chisel to free Davenport's arm.
Cream of the crop
Tyrone Henry, 30, was arrested in Tucson, Ariz., in 2000 for running a scheme in which female college students were paid $10 to "test" facial cream -- which turned out to be Henry's sperm. He was convicted of fraud and sentenced to seven years in prison. But according to a June 2003 Tucson Weekly story, Henry is still aggressively proclaiming that he violated no law. He argues that the women were adults, there was no sexual contact, the women were paid, and that he did not "expose" himself because the women were blindfolded.
Henry said he was just pursuing "the American dream" by selling men photos of women's sperm-adorned faces on his website.
Becky Nyang, 26, was hospitalized while on holiday on Corfu Island, Greece, after being struck by lightning, which was attracted to her face by her tongue stud. She was left with with severe blisters about the mouth, face and feet.
In Seoul, Korea, a 4-year-old girl was hit by a computer that came flying out of a 12th-floor apartment window, flung by a father who was angry that his 12-year-old daughter wouldn't stay off the Internet.
In May at the 24 Hour Fitness Center in Englewood, Colo., a 55-year-old client died of a heart attack during a workout, but before the body could be properly removed, several club members continued their workouts less than 6 feet away.
Ukrainian scientists told the Agence France-Presse news service in April that worms that survived the 1986 nuclear accident at Chernobyl (where radioactivity is still 100 times higher than normal) are more reproductively active than they were before the disaster.