Sunday-school teacher Rob Vaughn unveiled his Christian Wrestling Federation in May in Mesquite, Texas, drawing about 400 fans to watch 12 grapplers engage in a sport that's intended to resemble mainstream pro wrestling, but without the profanity and sexual content. (One bout pitted "Apocalypse" vs. "Jesus Freak.") Other departures from the norm, the Dallas Morning News reported, require the wrestlers to work for free and return to the ring after the final match for an altar call and joint prayer. Said Vaughn, "We are a ministry first."
Up with people
Dutch researchers writing in an April issue of the British Medical Journal advocated that Viagra be dispensed for free in the Netherlands, saying that the costly drug enhances the quality of its users' lives even more than kidney transplants, for example. According to the researchers' Quality-Adjusted Life Year measure, a dollar spent on Viagra brings twice as much benefit as a dollar spent on a breast-cancer screening.
In January, Boston police officials investigating corruption in the licensing of taxi drivers released the test paper of one Pierre Edouard. Applicant Edouard was granted a passing grade and a license, even though he answered only seven of 60 questions correctly and left 45 of the others blank.
Granted, it's ridiculous
In February, Canada's Reform Party denounced $60 million (all figures U.S.) worth of art grants given by the Canada Council. The expenditures included $3,000 for a piece on the history and culture of chewing gum; $4,000 for a video exploring the rubber stamp "as a low-tech marking device"; and $900 to an aboriginal poet for a pamphlet on one of his race's anatomical traits. The project's title: "Where Did My Ass Go?"
20 days not 'same as cash'
In December, three lawyers working as court-appointed counsel for indigent defendants filed a federal lawsuit against the District of Columbia Superior Court, which they said had constantly missed its deadlines for paying them (sometimes by months). Under federal court rules, the Superior Court was obligated to answer the lawsuit within 20 days, but according to the lawyers, the Superior Court missed that deadline as well, and the lawyers were declared winners by default.
Days of and whine and noses
In March, a judge in Dedham, Mass., sentenced Thomas Flanagan, 47, to nine years in prison for the longtime physical abuse of his wife and three kids. Included were three counts of attempted murder and 39 counts of assault and battery, but the kids also told investigators that Flanagan made them endure the daily ritual of "plucking," in which he lined them up and yanked out their nose hair with tweezers.
Going in style
In January, suspected serial killer Hadden Clark, 47, led police officers from several New England states to sites around the region, in search of the bodies of his alleged victims. Massachusetts State Police obtained Clark's cooperation by acceding to his one request, which was that they buy him some women's panties to wear during the trip.
Starved for company
Jason Samuel Lee, 30, was charged in March with improperly disposing of his wife's corpse. Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Canmore, Alberta, said that Eda Lee, 26, starved to death while fasting with her husband on a remote mountain. Jason, according to the RCMP, is a prophet who believes that food is an "instrument of Satan" and was trying to form a cult, but was having difficulty attracting followers.
Loss for the Union
In Milton, N.Y., in March, Thomas Prussen, 42, was charged with endangering the life of a 38-year-old woman he met through a magazine ad. According to police, the woman was infatuated with a certain Civil War soldier and wanted to "join" him in the great beyond, so she asked Prussen (whom she trusted because he, too, claimed to have communed with the soldier) to kill her. When asked if it was possible that Prussen was simply in love with the woman, a police investigator admitted, "It's tough to say what their mindset was."
In April in Prunedale, Calif., minivan passenger Rick Hanson, 27, who was in the process of mooning motorists, was thrown from the vehicle when its driver crashed (giving Hanson a posterior "road rash" and a broken pelvis). Chris Bailey, 19, was jailed briefly in March in Belleville, Ill., after mooning a police officer; within an hour of his release, he had mooned several more and was back in jail. And Robert White, 49, who was angry that his March trial for disorderly conduct in Little Rock, Ark., was not going well, mooned the judge, inflating his total jail time to 40 days.
Is that your final solution?
An eighth-grade math teacher in Boise, Idaho, recently apologized for assigning his kids to calculate how much gas Nazis needed to fill a gas chamber. And in San Francisco, a save-the-whales activist had to call off a trans-Pacific protest sail after his 60-foot boat was damaged by two passing whales.