Artist Brock Enright of Virginia Beach, Va., originally started staging rough, vivid kidnappings, using volunteers, so that he could show them on video at New York City galleries, but found so many willing, thrill-seeking victims that he now charges $500 or more for the realistic experience (but they get to keep the videos). Enright now has two dozen "fetish terrorism" (as Time Out magazine wrote) clients and is thinking of expanding to other cities. A 25-year-old sculptor, supposedly typical of Enright's clients, said he signed on because he wanted to test his limits: "I needed to believe that [the kidnapper] was going to kill me."
The Lane brothers of New York, Mr. Winner Lane, 44, and Mr. Loser Lane, 41 (their actual birth names), were profiled in a July Newsday report, made more interesting by the fact that Loser is successful (a police detective in the South Bronx) and Winner is not (a history of petty crimes).
A sister said she believes her parents selected "Winner" because their late father was a big baseball fan and "Loser" just to complete the pairing.
Among the latest crackpot legal theories: In June in Salinas, Calif., Randall Lynn Harper, 48, was sentenced to a year in jail for resisting a police officer; he had refused to accept a traffic summons because his driver's license is typed in all-uppercase letters, which he said is legally reserved only for corporations and is therefore not binding on humans.
In July in Clearwater, Fla., David Johnston, 54, on trial for swindling investors, subsequently formed a company with the same name as the lead plaintiff suing him, then petitioned under that company's name to dismiss the case against David Johnston, and now thus believes he has been cleared.
In the new-products department, British engineers James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau announced in June the development of their "tooth telephone" Ã a radio receiver implanted in the tooth, vibrating the signal to the inner ear.
And a Fort Worth, Texas, inventor Don Mims and marketer Ron Toms introduced in March a wooden Gatling-type gun that rapid-fires up to 144 rubber bands by turning a crank Ã though the rubber bands have to be hand-loaded.
South African researchers working in New Zealand said in February that they are developing cockroach-shaped robots to do housework and yard work.
Egg on their face
News of the Weird previously has reported on black in-vitro fertilization babies born to white couples in the U.S. (1998) and the Netherlands (1993). In July 2002, a white couple at a British National Health Service fertility clinic gave birth to black twins and are now fighting the clinic's effort to award the babies instead to the father whose sperm created them. Said a NHS official, "Great steps have been taken to ensure that this sort of [mix-up] never happens."
Seattle computer programmer Boris Tsikanovsky told the San Jose Mercury News in April that he has developed software that will stop his cat, Squirrel, from bringing animal prey into the house when he's not at home. Squirrel can enter though a special door via a magnet on her collar and had been hiding dead mice and birds in the furniture. Consequently, Tsikanovsky developed imaging software, with a camera by the door, that permits Squirrel to enter only if her pixeled profile shows nothing in her mouth.
Abode or commode?
In May, the British real estate agents Acorns in Lewisham announced the offering of a small, split-level apartment in south London for about $200,000, even though it was recently converted from an Edwardian-style public rest room and measures about 13 feet by 13 feet. Said an agent, "It is very convenient [and] has its own front door [and] you have no one above or below you, which is unusual for a flat."
Six feet over
And in June Linda Montgomery of Staffordsville, Ky., complained to government officials when a dog was buried in the Highland Memorial Park cemetery, 6 feet from her parents' graves; asked Montgomery, "Do you think they'd (sell any plots there) if they'd said, 'Oh, by the way, there's a chance you'll be buried next to a cow?'"
Arcadia, Fla., officials, citing zoning rules, voted in July to make Beverly Georges dig up her late husband, Rick, from the backyard, where he had chosen to be buried so as to be united with his beloved pit bull, Bocephus.