Among the most-anticipated products at the February American International Toy Fair in New York City (according to the New York Post) were a gun that shoots boogers, a squeezable doll that smells like rotten eggs, a flea (based on a pro wrestling character) that emits rank body odors after warning "I'm gonna blow," and a dissectible brain that oozes slime.
Albuquerque emergency room physician Sam Slishman is working to launch his Endorphin Power Co., which is a homeless shelter providing drug rehabilitation based on vigorous exercise at on-premises workout stations. However, Slishman also wants his center to help pay for itself by selling the electric power that could be harnessed by his down-and-out population's daily workouts (pedaling, lifting, walking on treadmills). Endorphin Power, Slishman says, will be the city's inspirational flagship for "social rehabilitation and renewable energy."
Open wide and say "AHHH"
In October, dentist Mohamedraza Huss Bhimani of Orland Park, Ill.,, whom police say fondled three female patients, was arrested in his office while he happened to be working on another patient, in mid-filling. The patient had to rush to another dentist to finish the job. And in January, Dr. Leon Gombis of Oak Lawn, Ill., had battery charges filed against him after he, wielding pliers, ripped a cap out of the mouth of a 58-year-old patient, believing (mistakenly) that she was behind on her payments.
Love & human remains
In Nice, France, in February 2004, Christelle Demichel wed her sweetheart Eric. Eric, however, had died in 2002, killed by a drunk driver, but French law allows the marriage to proceed if the paperwork had been completed and if President Chirac approved (which he did).
The owner of the German shepherd crossbreed who made the news last year for having trained "Adolf" to raise his right paw on hearing the command "Sieg Heil," was found guilty in February in Berlin of displaying Nazi symbols, and he told the court that Adolf had since injured his paw and could no longer salute. And the McKees Rock, Pa., police dog Dolpho, who was sent for re-education in 2002 after having attacked a black child, and who was making progress in his rehab effort, backslid, attacking a black teenager in February.
Thinning the Herd
A 46-year-old motorcyclist, speeding, yelling obscenities and shaking his fist alongside an 18-wheeler that had made a left turn of questionable etiquette on a Corpus Christi, Texas, street, lost control of the cycle, fell off and was fatally dragged underneath the truck in October. Also in October, in Tampa, Fla., a 20-year-old man chased down another driver (both in pickups), finally jumping onto the first driver's door so he could punch him through the window. The distracted driver continued on for two blocks but finally hit a tree, which caused the truck to roll over onto the man clinging to the door, and he died at the scene.
In September a Pacifica, Calif., father filed a $15,000 claim against the school district, saying officials have not stopped students from taunting his 12-year-old son, who is an internationally acclaimed ballroom dancer. Donald Johnson sued a West Palm Beach, Fla., Shoney's restaurant for $55,000 because he thought its clam chowder was potato soup, and the chowder left him with nightmares; in January, he won $407 in damages. And William Tremmel filed a lawsuit in September against a company repairing the boardwalk at Virginia Beach, Va., after he used its portable toilet without permission; some of the workers, fed up with strangers using their facility, blocked Tremmel inside for 25 minutes before letting him out, for which "mental suffering" he now wants $100,000.
The Galveston, Texas, sheriff's office admitted that Louis Radzielski, 20, had escaped from lockup in December by merely walking out the front door. According to Sheriff Gean Leonard, Radzielski crouched behind a woman who was being legitimately released and remained in step with her as she walked past the two officers working the booking counter. And in January in a Miami courtroom, while the lawyer for defendant Raymond Jessi Snyder vociferously protested a prosecutor's demand that Snyder be locked up pending trial because he was a "flight risk," Snyder slowly eased from his seat and bolted out the door. (He didn't get far.)
At press time, U.S. Air Force Capt. Jacqueline Chester was scheduled for court martial in Dover, Del., for having tested positive for cocaine; in her defense, her now-ex-husband said that during their marriage, he had occasionally rubbed cocaine on his genitals for pleasure enhancement and that the otherwise drug-free Jacqueline might have absorbed it through her own genital walls.
Jail: kind of like a vacation
Teachers working on contract in California prisons sued the state in December over security restrictions that they say require them to deliver the curriculum standing outside inmates' cells (and in some cases, holler the lessons through the meal tray slots, which are the only openings in solid steel doors). Said a prison official, downplaying the teachers' complaints, "It's kind of like modified distance learning."
A self-love supreme
In January, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council turned down the complaint of a radio listener in Calgary, Alberta, ruling that a song by the a cappella group Da Vinci's Notebook was not necessarily obscene, in that it could also be about self-esteem. The song, "Enormous Penis," included the lyrics "I've got the cure for all my blues/ I take a look at my enormous penis/ And my troubles start a-meltin' away" and "I gotta sing and I gotta dance/ When I glance in my pants."
More signs the end is near
The owners of FM 106.7 in York, Pa., having ended the station's country-music format in February but not yet having introduced a new one, played "Pop Goes the Weasel" 24 hours a day during the interim.
In the midst of national anxiety over mad-cow disease in December, the Chicago Tribune reported that things were basically normal at Evansville, Ind., restaurants that served traditional German brain sandwiches, especially fried cow brains on a bun.