Lead Story

In January 1991 News of the Weird highlighted the plight of Merhan “Alfred” Nasseri, 49, who was well into his third year as a resident of Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. He was unable to enter or leave France because he didn’t have a passport or visa, and claimed that his Iranian passport was confiscated in 1975 when he took part in an antishah demonstration. Airport employees were bringing him food and newspapers, and he passed the time writing in his diary and studying the history of economic analysis. According to a Los Angeles Times story in May 1995, Nasseri is still stuck there, and his diary is 6,000 pages long.

Seeds of Our Destruction

In April New York Newsday reported that the owners of the Exxon Valdez, which was banned from its profitable Alaska route following the 1989 oil spill, has applied to the Maritime Administration for a federal subsidy. The owners say the subsidy is necessary to make any other use of the ship profitable.

The Xinhua news agency in China reported in June that six men had just been executed for producing bogus tax invoices. And in the Shanxi province in June, Zhang Guangming was sentenced to life in prison for killing a panda.

In June the annual “Death-Row Banquet” at Eddyville prison in Kentucky was canceled after word of it was widely reported–perhaps for the first time. The banquet would have brought together the 28 death-row inmates plus 125 guests that included inmates’ families and friends, lawyers, and death-penalty opponents. Victims’ rights organizations said they were shocked to learn of the banquet.

In 1992 an adviser to Boris Yeltsin proposed that food and supplies could be placed in the nuclear-warhead housing of an SS-18 intercontinental ballistic missile and fired as emergency relief into remote areas of the world for humanitarian aid. That suggestion was rejected, but in June the Russian ITAR-Tass news agency reported that an SS-18–launched from a nuclear submarine near Murmansk–delivered 1,270 pieces of mail across nine time zones to Kamchatka.

Aviation Week & Space Technology reported in February that a new fuel would soon be used in U.S. missiles. The fuel reportedly gives off less air pollution on the way to the target, among other benefits.

In April trustees of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, endorsed their president’s position that new faculty hires must adhere to the belief that the Bible prohibits female pastors. One week later, to the trustees’ chagrin, the top three finishers in the seminary’s annual preaching awards competition were Kimberly Baker, Mary Beth McCloy, and Dixie Petrey.

In January the maternity unit of Rockyview Hospital in Calgary, which requires mothers to complete birth records with a black pen, stopped lending the pens and began charging 25 cents each for them.

The Continuing Crisis

In Kennewick, Washington, in June, TV reporter Mychal Limric, 24, was stung on the head about 30 times by bees apparently attracted to his hair gel. The subject of the story he was working on, beekeeper Irv Pfeiffer, tried to help Limric by covering him immediately with a protective hood, but didn’t realize that there were bees inside the hood as well.

In February Hong Kong legislator Eric Li proposed a law to limit extramarital affairs. Li would ban affairs that involve financial support to the mistress or produce children; however, affairs that involved neither of those conditions and hadn’t reached their second anniversary would be legal.

In June Barbara Ricci was voted Mrs. Congeniality in the Mrs. New York State pageant by fellow contestants. Six months earlier, however, she’d gone to trial in Mount Vernon on charges that she tried to drive over the 11-year-old daughter of a neighbor with whom she’d been feuding. A hung jury had resulted, and a second trial was pending. And in an unrelated incident in 1993 she pleaded guilty to harassing a police officer, who had said Mrs. Ricci had punched and kicked him at a school board meeting.

In April a South African Airways plane departing from London had to turn around when fire alarms sounded. The alarms had been triggered by the heat and flatulence produced by 72 prize stud pigs that were carried as cargo.

In February in Edmonton, Canada, a man driving three family members passed out briefly behind the wheel, colliding with another car, careening out of control, and striking a utility pole. According to police, the father had become woozy from listening to his 22-year-old son describe the bloody extraction of his wisdom teeth earlier in the day.

In perhaps the first reported case of gay male “Bobbittry” since John and Lorena Bobbitt came to national attention in 1993, Mark Aaron Krebs, 35, was charged with slashing his lover’s scrotum in Bristol, Tennessee, in June in a fit of jealousy.

Least Competent Person

Steven Kemble, 21, was arrested in Saint George, Utah, in March when he attempted to flee the Tom Tom CDs & Tapes store after allegedly shoplifting a CD. After being detained briefly by a clerk, he broke free, dashed out the door, and smacked into a pillar in front of the store, knocking himself briefly unconscious.

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