Tom Leppard, having retired after 28 years in the military, lives alone on Scotland's island of Skye about 125 miles from Glasgow. Since his retirement, he has spent more than $9,000 to tattoo leopard spots all over his body and be outfitted with fangs by his dentist so he looks like the animal he regards as his namesake. Leppard, who is in his late 60s, told Britain's Daily Record that he admires the leopard's aloofness and that, after he retired, he could no longer "mix with ordinary people." He now spends weeks at a time without seeing anyone except for the periodic trips he makes by canoe to pick up (or, scavenge for?) supplies.
What a dump!
In an Ontario Provincial Police raid near Brechin, authorities seized 20,000 marijuana plants, but only a few samples were kept as evidence. The rest were hauled away to a landfill, requiring 50 truck trips. However, word quickly got out about the stash, and a gold rush of prospectors swarmed over the dump, taking away as many of the plants as they could. Before the police were able to cordon off the area, several dozen people reportedly made off with weed. Only six were caught and arrested.
It's a pain, all right
In the last five years, Gregory Goins, 47 and often homeless, has made 1,209 ambulance visits to the emergency room at Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif., at a cost of about $900,000 in public funds. Goins' complaint is always the same -- "chest pains" -- and sometimes he calls an ambulance twice a day. Because he is in poor health, with high blood pressure, the hospital is obliged to treat him. According to the Associated Press, hospital personnel have grown accustomed to Goins despite the burdens he places on them. Said one doctor, "He's got his 15 minutes of notoriety every day of the week.
Clothes make the man
The man appointed by the governor of Texas as the state's director of homeland security in the U.S. war on terrorism, David Dewhurst, is also a candidate for lieutenant governor. His recent patriotism-themed campaign ad featured a large U.S. flag with a smartly dressed soldier standing in front of it. However, it was later discovered that the soldier in the photograph was not an American but a German soldier in a Luftwaffe uniform.
That boy's sharp
An 8-year-old boy in Issaquah, Wash., saved his teacher's life with the Heimlich maneuver, which he learned simply from having read about it in his mother's day-planner. The boy said he was prepared to do a tracheotomy with a pen knife if that hadn't worked. (Of course he would have been suspended for having a knife.)
A painstaking plan
In October, jurors in Austin, Texas, rejected the request of convicted child molester Milton Wayne Somers, 45, to be released as no longer posing a threat to kids, instead sentencing him to life in prison. Somer's main argument for leniency was that, a year ago, apparently annoyed at his uncontrollable love for little girls, he stuck a shotgun between his legs and blew off his testicles (and then reloaded and shot himself again, for good measure). He said he is not dangerous because he has no sexual impulses. However, his ex-wife said that Somers told her his self-castration was just a ploy to stay out of prison.
It takes one to know one
Paul Claren, 52, a psychiatric nurse at Ohio State Hospital in Akron for 18 years before he was fired, was himself ordered to a similar facility in November with diagnoses of paranoia and obsessive- compulsive disorder. It seems he shot out the home windows of several ex-colleagues he didn't like.
One man's trash...
Avant-garde British artist Damien Hirst (who first made News of the Weird with his exhibit of a dead sheep, skinned and suspended in formaldehyde) found his new installation at London's Eyestorm Gallery missing in October. The work is a collection of "found objects" -- cigarette butts, beer bottles, soda cans, candy wrappers, etc. -- recovered from an artist's launch party. A fastidious cleaning man mistook the art for the nightly garbage and tossed it out. Gallery officials re-created it latter by referring to a photograph of the exhibit to get the exact placement of the items.
Buffalo Bill's running back, Travis Henry, was sentenced in November to 100 hours of community service after pleading guilty to attempted sexual misconduct with a 15-year-old girl. The court assigned him to Buffalo's St. Augustine Community Service Corp., where most of his duties will consist of counseling youths.
In short order
Radio personality "Dave the Dwarf" Flood, 37, filed a federal lawsuit in Tampa to overturn Florida's ban on dwarf-tossing exhibitions in bars. He called the law an unconstitutional restriction on his freedom. ... The father of a high-school football player in Trenton, Mo., was accidentally killed by a blast from the cannon that the team uses to celebrate touchdowns. ... A 35-year-old man in Huntington, N.Y., died while practicing archery in his backyard when his cesspool collapsed underneath him, creating such a cave-in that it took 18 hours to pull the body out. ... Several female cheerleaders in Denver were suspended from the squad for their on-field banner calling on their football team to "rape" the Eaglecrest High Raptors. The girls claimed they didn't mean it that way.