Lead Story

In May a small plane dropped more than 100 pornographic photos near a Department of Energy plant dismantling nuclear weapons in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Police suspected that the culprit was the former boyfriend of the woman in the photos, a plant employee who’d accused him of stalking her. And two weeks earlier in Independence, Kansas, pilot Robert B. Moore, 38, was convicted of littering while airborne after he’d selected a target and bombarded it with toilet paper.

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Stuart Posner, the former principal of a public school in Brooklyn, was accused in February of stealing from the school candy store, establishing businesses on school property, and charging students admission to watch television during class.

Among cities that have mile high clubs: Hayward, California; Santa Monica, California; Meriden, Connecticut; and Cincinnati. For fees ranging from $199 to $279 a pilot flies a couple around for an hour so that they can have sex while airborne.

New products: toe floss (invented by Ronald M. Hannon), a rope that attaches to the floor of a shower and is held taut, permitting the user to clean between the toes; a tiered cocktail waitress “dress” that holds 250 canapes, from designer Bruno Ferrer; a 30-inch-tall, porcelain-headed doll of Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight in his signature red sweater and Converse sneakers, from doll maker Tom Alberts, for $545; and a line of toilet-seat lids in the shape of guitars (electric and acoustic), starting at $49, from Marvin Maxwell of Louisville, Kentucky.

In March one Japanese company introduced “odor-eater” underwear, which contains a substance that stops the growth of certain bacteria. And in April another Japanese company introduced preodorized underwear, which contains a synthetic pheromone found in underarm sweat and a musk fragrance that masks the pheromone smell. The manufacturer suggests, but does not guarantee, that the pheromone attracts women.

In May the New York Times ran a classified ad announcing that a genuine Russian space shuttle, the Buran, was for sale. According to a story in the New York Post, Russian-born Victor Rylkov, who’d placed the ad, said he and his partner, the Molniya aerospace company, actually had two space shuttles and were asking five to ten million dollars each. Said Rylkov, “A lot of things are for sale in today’s Russia if you’ve got the right people working for you.”

A firm called UltraTech Products of Houston is offering the TooT TrappeR Chair Cushion, a foam cushion with a “superactivated carbon filter” that supposedly absorbs passed gas before it can escape ($29.95 plus shipping).

Among the crime-protection products now available through the mail are Dyewitness, a canister of green foam that will make an assailant look like a Chia Pet, and Rapel, a foul-smelling liquid that victims spray on themselves to fend off would-be attackers.

People With Too Much Time on Their Hands

A Chicago Sun-Times wire service reported in April that a Chinese boy, Zhang Zhuo, 12, set a record by reciting from memory the value of pi to 4,000 decimal places–a feat that took him 25 minutes. However, two months earlier, a Seattle Times wire service story had identified a Japanese man, Hiroyuki Goto, 21, as having recited pi to more than 42,000 decimal places–the world record, which took him more than nine hours.

Michael Colangelo won the National Enquirer’s contest for the “Most Boring Husband in America” in May because his wife claimed that he can’t pass an ant mound without taking a picture of it. Said she, “We hardly have any family photos, but we have an album of fire ants.” Said Michael, “It’s amazing how [ants] are so persistent.”

In February the Consumer Product Safety Commission ended five years of deliberation on what to do about five-gallon buckets, which it deems dangerous to toddlers, who might fall into them and drown. In May 1994 the agency tentatively decided to order manufacturers to redesign the buckets. However it has now decided merely to require warnings on the pails.

In October Gary Taylor filed a formal charge of discrimination against the city of Austin for firing him, allegedly because he’d filed a complaint against the city’s electric utility department over what he called “painting.” According to Taylor, painting is a departmental “abusive sexual hazing ritual” in which workers gang up on other employees on their birthdays or a special occasion, pull down their pants, and spit on their genitals.

Least Competent Criminal

Amy Brasher, 45, was arrested in San Antonio in January after a mechanic notified police that 18 packages of marijuana were packed alongside the engine of her car, which she’d turned over to the mechanic for an oil change. According to police, Brasher later said she did not realize that the mechanic would have to raise the hood to change the oil.

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