Lead Stories

Interviewed last month by the Los Angeles Times, animal rights activist Karen Davis condemned a TV commercial for the California restaurant chain Carl’s Jr. in which executives poked and prodded a live chicken, searching in vain for the “nuggets” their competitors were selling. A press release from Davis’s organization, United Poultry Concerns, called the ad “degrading” and compared the examination to a gang rape….A few days later Australian neuroscientists Charles Watson and George Paxinos announced their project to compile a comprehensive atlas of the “sophisticated and complex” bird brain, emphasizing its similarities to the human brain.

Also reported in the LA Times, the ex-wife of casino mogul Kirk Kerkorian has asked a judge to increase child support for their three-year-old daughter from $50,000 a month to $320,000 a month. Her petition claims that little Kira Kerkorian needs $144,000 a month for travel, $14,000 for parties (her first birthday party cost $70,000), $10,200 for food (about $340 per meal), and $7,000 for charitable donations.

Democracy in Action

Richard Hobbs, a Right to Life Party candidate for the Westchester County Board of Legislators in New York, was defeated last November after the news media identified him as a twice-convicted pedophile. Hobbs told reporters he didn’t think the convictions were relevant to the campaign because “there are no children at the county legislature.”

Police Blotter

From the December 31, 2001, issue of the Union Democrat in Sonora, California: “1:35 p.m., Groveland: A driver told the California Highway Patrol that two people were parked outside the entrance to Yosemite National Park with the hazard lights on and their hands in the air. Yosemite rangers said the two men admitted ingesting ‘speed’ and became paranoid that a sniper was in the bushes aiming a high-powered rifle at them.”

Bright Ideas

Last November, Mexico City tried to help drivers cope with the capital’s monumental traffic problem by hiring five mimes to perform street-theater sketches with officers at the city’s most dangerous intersections. The sketches encouraged drivers to buckle up, curb their cell-phone usage, and obey all traffic laws.

Kimberly Herricks, a 36-year-old manager for Donato’s Pizza in Lakewood, Ohio, was indicted last December for stealing $38,000 from the company. According to police, Herricks boosted her store’s sales figures by fabricating large orders from schools, hospitals, and other organizations and adjusting the books to cover the costs. She was caught after she asked the store’s owner to help her move to a new house and he discovered 400 rotting pizzas in her garage.

People Different From Us

Last December police in Los Angeles arrested and charged 47-year-old Michael Howard in connection with a series of incidents in which a man forcibly cut the hair of women on the street. A longtime friend of the accused told the Los Angeles Times that Howard “liked playing with [hair], brushing it, everything about it. He says he likes the sound of scissors cutting hair.”


Last July, News of the Weird reported on Kevin Warwick, professor of cybernetics at the University of Reading in England, who can open his office door and turn on the lights using a computer chip implanted in his arm. Now Applied Digital Solutions of Palm Beach, Florida, has announced that it will begin selling computer-chip implants, with space for about 60 strands of information, in South America. ADS is still awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration to sell the implants in the United States.

Our Civilization in Decline

Yeslam bin Laden, half brother of Osama, has announced plans for a “bin Laden” line of designer clothing that he believes will sell big in Arab countries….And the director of housing at Princeton University issued a safety directive to students after two undergraduates fell out of bunk beds in their dormitories; the directive is thought to be the first warning on how to use a bed ever issued to Ivy League students.

In the Last Month

In Waldshut, Germany, a brothel for female clientele closed because customers abused its pay-afterward policy, claiming that the men hadn’t satisfied them….In Kansas City, Missouri, a man escaped after robbing an auto parts store of $50 but lost his pants and his prosthetic leg in a scuffle with an employee….And in Newark, Delaware, a man died in his home of natural causes and was partially eaten by the seven giant monitor lizards that roamed the house as pets….And in Helsinki, where traffic fines are exacted on a sliding scale, a wealthy director of the Nokia telecommunications company argued that his income had dropped and his speeding fine should be reduced from $103,000 to $20,000.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.