Lead Stories

Time Out New York recently reported on artist Brock Enright, who began staging kidnappings with volunteers so that he could videotape them for exhibition at galleries but was so inundated by thrill-seeking victims that he now charges $500 or more for the experience. With two dozen “fetish terrorism” clients, Enright is thinking of expanding to other cities. One kidnappee, supposedly typical of Enright’s clients, told the magazine he’d wanted to test his limits: “I needed to believe that [the kidnapper] was going to kill me.”

Last month Newsday profiled 44-year-old Winner Lane and 41-year-old Loser Lane of New York, whose sister explained that their father was a big baseball fan. Ironically, Loser is a police detective in the south Bronx, while Winner has a history of petty crime.

Angel on My Shoulder

Last month in Kobe, Japan, an unidentified young man leaped from between the cars of an express train traveling at 60 miles per hour, landed on a station platform, and walked away, apparently unhurt….And in March two teenage boys were hospitalized with gunshot wounds in Michigan City, Indiana, after they and other boys encircled an older man on the street and began firing at him. The man was not hit.

Science Fair

In June, British engineers James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau unveiled their “tooth telephone,” a radio receiver implanted in one’s tooth that vibrates its signal to the inner ear….In March inventor Don Mims and marketer Ron Toms of Fort Worth introduced a wooden Gatling gun that fires up to 144 rubber bands….And in February, South African researchers working in New Zealand said they were developing cockroach-shaped robots to do house and yard work.

Seattle computer programmer Boris Tsikanovsky told the San Jose Mercury News in April that he has developed software to stop his cat from bringing dead mice and birds into the house while he’s gone. The cat can enter the house only though a special door, via a magnet on its collar. A camera by the door records a pixelated profile of the cat, and Tsikanovsky’s imaging software admits the cat only if its mouth is empty.

Leading Economic Indicators

Last month Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi visited drought-stricken Malawi in southern Africa, bringing along his personal jet; an entourage occupying two Boeing 707s; two security buses loaded with machine guns, assault rifles, and rocket launchers; his own mobile hospital; and 70 armored vehicles for the cross-country drive (one of them stocked with currency worth $6 million, much of which he tossed to villagers along his route).

In May the British real estate agency Acorns in Lewisham offered for $200,000 a small, split-level apartment in south London that had recently been converted from an Edwardian-style public rest room and measured about 169 square feet. Said one 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.”

Recurring Themes

Two months ago News of the Weird reported that Fidel Castro had once wanted to breed miniature cows that could be kept in the home to supply families with milk. About a month after that dispatch appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press reported on Dustin Pillard, a farmer in Rockwell, Iowa, who’s offering for sale 50 miniature cows, three feet in height, primarily as pets.

Least Competent Criminals

Two months ago in Sudbury, Ontario, 35-year-old Norman Micallef hit a moose with his van, and an officer who stopped to help noticed a scent that turned out to be $325,000 worth of marijuana plants in the back….And in May rival gang members in Torrance, California, began to confront one another over a shooting incident when two F-15 fighter jets flew by, low to the ground; apparently unaware that the jets were part of a nearby Armed Forces Day parade, the panic-stricken gang members dispersed.

In the Last Month

In West Bend, Wisconsin, tough-love mother Karen Paape distributed mug-shot posters of her two teenage sons, asking anyone who sees them smoking to report them to the police….In Mashhad, Iran, a man convicted of sexually assaulting and killing his 16-year-old nephew was sentenced to be thrown off a cliff in a sack and, should he survive, to be hanged….And in Godley, Texas, a 20-year-old man was fatally shot by a 21-year-old man after the two began debating which of them was more likely to wind up in heaven.

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