We’re kicking off Giving Tuesday early this year! Your donation today will be matched up to $10K, doubling your impact! If you donate $50 today, the Reader will receive $100.

The Reader is now a community-funded nonprofit newsroom. Can we count on your support to help keep us publishing?

Lead Story

In May the immigration office at Pearson International Airport in Toronto announced that one of its employees had been disciplined for ordering people entering Canada to remove their shoes and socks, under the guise of policy, so he could photograph their feet. According to officials, the man had already been counseled four times about his habit.

Couldn’t Possibly Be True

In December the Air Force Times reported that army soldier Joseph Cannon had recently ended his six-year career without receiving a single military paycheck after boot camp. Officials said Cannon’s records were lost at his first duty station, and although he’d missed 144 paychecks totaling more than $103,000, he’d never complained. Apparently Cannon lived in the barracks, ate only in the mess halls, and borrowed money from relatives when he had special needs.

According to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s autopsy records, which were released in March, officials kept Dahmer’s body shackled at the feet during the entire procedure. “Such was the fear of this man,” explained pathologist Robert Huntington.

In February in rough, cold waters off Vancouver Island, two men were in a life raft that was tied to a sinking fishing boat by a nylon rope. The boat was pulling the raft and the men down with it, and neither man had a knife to cut the rope. The men alternated chewing the rope for an hour, and one man lost a tooth. Minutes before the boat sank, the men finally saved themselves by chewing through the rope.

Two colleagues of the pilot whose American Eagle plane crashed near Morrisville, North Carolina, in December said the pilot had told them and others that he wasn’t qualified to fly that particular aircraft and that he’d accepted the assignment only when he was told to accept it or resign. Colleagues interviewed by the Associated Press said the pilot had difficulty during American Eagle’s training, had poor emergency decision-making ability, and was not “captain material.”

According to a New York Times story in May, as many as 20 Orthodox Jewish fathers in New York City who are involved in bitter divorce fights may be improving their leverage by resorting to an obscure passage in the Torah that allows a father to arrange his daughter’s marriage while she is still under 13; the daughter can then marry no one else without the father’s permission. Because a mother so fears for her daughter’s well-being, she may relent to divorce demands of the husband if he will drop the arrangement. The Times interviewed rabbis, who called the practice disgusting and abhorrent but valid.

In July a judge in Denver ruled that a woman and her current boyfriend could have temporary custody of the woman’s eight-month-old twin girls, even though DNA tests revealed that the boyfriend and the woman’s estranged husband had each fathered one–but not both–of the girls. The woman apparently ovulated twice during a menstrual cycle and had intercourse with both men during that cycle.

According to a May story by Reuters columnist Sherwood Ross, psychic advisers Phyllis Schwartz and Hy Kaplan of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, have been retained by nearly 100 firms, including several of the Fortune 500, to read the vibes of prospective employees. According to Kaplan, the psychics need to know nothing more than name and position applied for, but they also note age, sex, and residence so they won’t read the wrong person with the same name.

In April in Los Angeles, Ruth Walston filed for divorce from her husband, actor Ray Walston, charging “irreconcilable differences.” She’s 79, he’s 80; they’ve been married 51 years.

Names in the News

Names that showed up recently on police blotters: William Freelove, pleading guilty to rape in Denver; Jesse James, sentenced for assault in Saint Joseph, Missouri; Amelia A. Earhart, cited for speeding in Parma, Ohio; Mr. Fnu Mnu Lnu (derived from “first name unknown,” etc), who was charged with assault and burglary in Moorhead, Minnesota, and wouldn’t give his name; and Shannon Cooper, who was jailed in Des Moines, Iowa, for going bar-hopping, temporarily abandoning her children, Champaigne, 3, Chardonay, 1, and Chablea, three months.

Names that showed up recently in notable announcements: Dr. Michael Cholera, recently hired by a medical clinic in Koloa, Hawaii; Taco Pilot, a Dutch professor who invented a new tooth-decay preventive; Pat Mummey, recently appointed as county coroner in Spokane, Washington; Shamp Poo, a spokesperson who announced the revelation of fraud in a United Nations office in Kenya.

California names: in Newport Beach Truly Gold recently married Cary S. Boring. The Los Angeles Times reported that 16 people named Jesus Christ have California driver’s licenses. The chair of the Polish-American Congress, Anti-Defamation Committee of California Inc., as of last year was Teodor Polak.

Least Competent Person

In May police in Halifax, Massachusetts, charged Robert Brinson, 28, with assembling an Oklahoma City-style fertilizer bomb to blow up his ex-girlfriend and her family. Police found a bomb in the woman’s bathroom and another in a doghouse outside; both consisted of turpentine and nails in cans with a battery and timer. However, police said the bombs were not explosive–Brinson had mistakenly used potting soil instead of fertilizer.

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