Lead Stories

Afghanistan’s national sport, buzkashi, attracted worldwide attention when it was revived last September after being suppressed by the Taliban for years; the game involves teams of horsemen battling over a goat carcass. Now the Boston Globe has reported on tejo, the national sport of Colombia. Similar to horseshoes, the game involves a block of mud containing four small powdered charges; players throw tejos, resembling large paperweights, at the block, hoping to trigger explosions and score points. According to the Globe, the popularity of tejo stems largely from pregame drinking.

Donald Hinton, a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Medicine and a board-certified psychiatrist, reported last month that over the past five years he’s treated Elvis Presley for migraine headaches, among other things. Hinton said he has several items containing Presley’s DNA; an official at Elvis Presley Enterprises was unfazed, insisting that Elvis is still “in the garden [at Graceland].”

Profitable Excretions

Last summer Hindu nationalists in India began marketing bovine urine, said to cure human ailments that range from obesity to cancer….The office of energy policy in Thailand announced in January that, after its great success turning pig dung into gas, it would also begin using human excrement from the country’s prison population….In December researchers told Toronto’s National Post that a substance in mucus appears to block the body’s mechanism to fight a type of cancer cell, and if this mucin can be eliminated, the cancer might be cured….And last month a professor at Newcastle University in England proposed that polluted water running from contaminated tin and silver mines in Bolivia be treated in a compost bed of llama droppings.

It Takes a Village

Last year 2,800 students with head lice were sent home from public schools in Wichita, Kansas, which prompted 25-year-old Greg Carpenter to launch his business, Carpenter’s Nitpickers. Carpenter charges $35 to comb the head lice out of an infested person; a thorough job might take more than two hours.

Zulu traditionalists in the South African province of KwaZulu Natal have routinely tested females for virginity and are now promoting virginity testing for men. A leader of the movement says that men who have lost their virginity typically urinate in a spray rather than a stream, lack a visible penile vein, exhibit looseness in the light underside of the foreskin, and have dark knees.

A New Kind of War

In January police arrested a heavily armed man wearing body armor and combat fatigues inside Bohemian Grove, a retreat center north of Santa Rosa, California, that has hosted such luminaries as former president George Bush and former secretary of state Henry Kissinger. The man, 37-year-old Richard McCaslin, said he’d heard on a radio show from Austin, Texas, that guests at the retreat engaged in child abuse and human sacrifice; authorities reported no evidence of any such abuses at Bohemian Grove but noted that McCaslin had spent a year scoping out the area and amassing weapons, and that he’d painted the words Phantom Patriot on his chest.

Among the newest nonlethal military weapons created by the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, is a superslippery gel (dubbed “banana peel in a can”) that can be sprayed on the ground to keep crowds from advancing on embassies or military bases.

Our Civilization in Decline

Last December police in Warren, Michigan, arrested and charged a 45-year-old woman who’d shown her 15-year-old daughter and the girl’s 14-year-old friend the best technique for injecting heroin….And last November researchers at Cambridge University in England reported that mice given methamphetamines and subjected to loud dance music keeled over and died.


Last September state representative Dorothy Pelote of Savannah, Georgia, told the legislature during its opening prayer ceremony that through her psychic powers she’d caught a glimpse of Chandra Levy’s dead body in a ditch. More recently, in January, Pelote said she would introduce legislation to protect pizza delivery people by making it illegal to answer the front door naked.

In the Last Month

In Tonbridge, England, a 40-year-old man was sentenced to life in prison after an audiotape captured him strangling his wife while shouting at her, “You are the weakest link–good-bye!”…In Birmingham, England, a marine center troubled by the celibacy of ten of its sharks announced that it would begin playing Barry White’s music through underwater loudspeakers….And sympathetic doctors at Norway’s national prison revealed that they routinely dispense Viagra to sex offenders furloughed to visit wives or girlfriends.

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