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Killing me softly



Buddhist monk Kong Bunchhoeun, 22, was expelled from his temple in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in August after he was charged with stabbing a student who had complained about his singing at a karaoke bar. He fared better than Ely Dignadice, 29, who sang the popular Philippines love song "Remember Me" so badly at a Manila karaoke bar in July that a group of men stabbed him to death after the show.

Tortured artists

Among the performers during "Fringe week" at the annual Edinburgh (Scotland) Festival, in August, were John Kamakaze (who hangs for 15 minutes by 10 meat hooks in his back), Pityu (a 30-inch-tall Hungarian motor-cyclist who stands on his head while eating worms and drinking blood) and Amazing Wasp Boy (who swallows electrified neon light strips that illuminate his body).

Out-of-pocket expenses

In August, the Scottish tribunal that regulates lawyers disciplined Kenneth Anderson because he, being so "anxious to please his clients," routinely told them he had won their cases for them when he had not and in several cases dipped into his own wallet to pay divorcees alimony judgments he said they had won but which they had not. And in Clearwater, Fla., in August, former organ salesman Jeffrey Snyder, who had pleaded guilty to defrauding customers of Fletcher Music Co., was revealed by the prosecutor to have been making $63,000 in monthly organ payments out of his own pocket for some of his victims. Said Snyder, "I was just looking for a way to keep the sales going and keep everybody ... happy."

Swinging left

Sweden's Social Democrat party and England's Vegetarian Society released controversial video ads in August. The former was shot by the party's youth wing and featured a young couple in bed discussing how cool their "first time" was (meaning first time voting). In the latter, phallic-shaped chiles and asparagus, along with hands fondling melons, were used to try to overcome an image that the vegetarian diet is boring.

Purge overkill

In July, Jonathan Balester sued Hottle's Restaurant in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., at which he used to dine four times a week but which recently barred him from the premises because of messes he made in the men's room. Balester claims protection under the Americans With Disabilities Act because he has "achalasia," a muscle disorder that is said to prevent food from getting from the esophagus to the stomach. To relax the esophagus, Balester would drink cocktails before dinner (sometimes getting too relaxed), and sometimes he still had to regurgitate his food, and sometimes, he admitted, he did not make it to the toilet.

High cost of loving

A pretrial hearing was held in June in Lincoln, Neb., in the lawsuit filed by Doug and Sharon Detmer against Dawn Bixler that seeks $11,000 in medical expenses plus pain and suffering damages. The Detmers are suing because their daughter Leanne, 16, got pregnant while dating Bixler's son, Dallas, also 16, and that somehow Bixler should have known the couple was having sex and should have stopped them.

Cast the first stone

In August, a British Columbia court ruled against Maria Tomczyk, who sued the government when she broke her wrist after tripping over a rock in a park near Victoria in 1995. The court found that Tomczyk had seen the large rock earlier in the day, had tried to move it, couldn't, and then tripped over it walking in the dark while carrying a flashlight that wasn't turned on.

The troth hurts

As News of the Weird previously has reported, Egypt and Pakistan appear to lead the world in accidental fatalities arising from celebratory gunfire at weddings. In a seven-day period in July in southern Egypt, Gamal Abdel-Gawad, the brother of the groom, was taken into custody after an errant shot killed a 22-year-old man singing at the wedding; at another wedding, a reveling guest accidentally shot and killed the bride and groom, as well as wounding the bride's mother.

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