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She's on crack



Celebrity mother Jacqueline Stallone, previously known as a mere astrologer, recently began specializing in "rumpology," the study of a person's character and future as based on the contour of his or her behind. Stallone does not conduct hands-on examinations, but has subjects sit on sheets of inked paper and make impressions ("maps"). The left cheek supposedly indicates natural talents and personality; the right cheek illustrates the relationship between reality and potential.

A dose of their own medicine

In October, the pharmaceutical division of Japan Tobacco, the world's third-largest cigarette company, bought the rights to lung-cancer vaccines now under development by the U.S. firms Cell Genesys and Corixa. The move puts the cause, treatment and potential prevention of lung cancer all under one roof.

New world outhouse

Officials in Suwon, South Korea, showing off their 580 plush public restrooms to reporters in November, hinted that the toilets were one sure way to ensure greater international respect. "In this era of globalization," said a government cultural official, "it is important to become the leader in the world in the cleanest bathrooms." The toilet seats are heated, violin music plays, and tasteful paintings and flower arrangements adorn the rooms. There are weekly guided tours, and according to the official, some people arrange to meet inside to have tea.

Heat of the moment(s)

In October, cuckold Jimmy Watkins, 34, got only four months in jail for killing his wife, whom he caught in the act with her lover; a Fort Worth, Texas, jury accepted his defense of "sudden passion" even though he fired one shot, then went out for a few minutes before returning to finish her off. Also in October, the Ontario Court of Appeal only put Michael Nikkanen on probation as punishment for a rape conviction, in part so he could keep attending his son's hockey games. And Karine Gaelle Epailly, 25, received a suspended sentence in the death of her infant daughter, whom she abandoned outside in near-freezing rain in Alexandria, Va.

But can they pick up Seinfeld?

In July, Athens, Greece, dentist Theodoros Vassiliadis was sentenced to four years in prison based on the testimony of seven former patients. They said the doctor had outfitted them with odd-looking dental plates, which he affixed using screws that were more than an inch long. Allegedly taken from Vassiliadis' television set, the screws pierced the patients' sinus cavities. Vassiliadis termed his techniques "pioneering."

Robbed blind

Sightless Bruce Edward Hall, 48, was arrested in December and charged with robbing a First Tennessee Bank in Memphis. Hall had pretended to be a customer and was escorted to a teller's window by a guard as a courtesy before presenting the teller with the holdup note. And Leon Grigsby Martin, 33, who is blind and carries a white cane, was arrested in Muskegon, Mich., in September and charged with robbing two stores of a total of $340. (He got only $20 from one clerk, who might have tricked Martin into believing he was giving him higher-denomination bills.)

No fish story

Bill Webb won the annual Rio Vista (Calif.) Bass Derby in October, and his 33-pound catch was so convincing that derby sponsors declined to call private investigator Charley Johnson, who was on standby to administer lie-detector tests in suspicious cases. (Fishing contest organizers increasingly use at least the threat of the polygraph to discourage cheating.)

Hiding behind the kids

In September, Charlie Logan resigned as sheriff of Pickett County, Tenn., telling the public that he needed to fight the charges that he had been having sex with a 15-year-old girl. However, according to some observers, that was a distraction from another charge: The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was inquiring into whether Logan cheated on his GED (high-school equivalency test). Tennessee sheriffs must be high-school graduates.

Dead in the water

Medium Suzane Northrop announced that she will lead a weeklong, contact-the-dead cruise out of Miami in March. "NowAge 2000" will offer guests free channeling services, plus seminars and workshops on psychic powers. Asked whether the channeling guests will bother the recreational cruisers on board, organizer Cindy Clifford said: "Tough luck. There are people who go on cruises and wind up with the entire Iowa state bowling league."

The final frontier

In Edwardsville, Ill., in October, a 48-year-old woman was accidentally shot to death by her husband as the couple posed for an Old West-style wedding photo; the man was holding a rifle as a prop. And in Willingboro, N.J., in November, as two partners in a record store were rehearsing what they would do if they were ever robbed, the partner acting as the clerk accidentally gunned down the partner playing the robber.

Organ-ized effort

After a $20 million school cutback limited Ontario's special-education funding earlier this year, three parents of disabled children wrote to Premier Mike Harris, offering to donate their kidneys to raise enough money to restore the budget.

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