Lead Story

Unimist, a product now available from Unimed Company at pharmacies nationwide, comes in a pump-squeeze container and promises “Instant Dry Mouth Relief”; it “eliminates dryness by replenishing normal levels of moisture” and is “safe to use” with a “refreshingly slightly minty taste.”

People With Too Much Time on Their Hands

Among the award-winning stories at the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors Association awards in May was one from the Austin American-Statesman, reporting a plan in Rollingwood, Texas. City officials proposed spray painting all loose dogs so that owners who called to complain could then be cited for violating a local law prohibiting dogs from roaming free.

Among the information that came to light in April as a result of Atlanta’s new laws requiring governmental financial disclosures was the existence of the city’s not-well-known Board of Astrology. The Associated Press could find no records of the board at City Hall but concluded after interviewing its three smoked-out members that the board’s purpose is to administer tests and provide licenses to prospective astrologers.

In February Norman W. Bertsavage of Pottsville, Pennsylvania, told reporters that he still wanted to carry on his campaign for the Republican nomination for president despite a poor showing in the New Hampshire primary. (He received no votes.) The day after the election he compared himself to Mikhail Gorbachev, citing their similar messages of party reform.

In November actor Charlton Heston, in a letter in the Los Angeles Times, recommended that the producers of the TV show Studs provide the participants with free AIDS tests “as part of the casting process,” since the show’s premise is that the participants will have sex.

After examining all boating accidents in the state over the last 15 years, a Michigan boating-agency official recently concluded that the most dangerous activity for boaters is falling overboard.

Cliches Come to Life

Channel five in Nashville, Tennessee, held a “Mission: Bermuda Triangle” trivia contest in May offering viewers a chance to win a seven-day vacation in Florida. The contest had to be restarted after “hundreds” of initial entries disappeared from the station. (The manager suspected a cleaning-crew mistake.)

In June James Sinclair, who had sued the Los Angeles Police Department in an excessive-force case, shot his lawyer, Michael Friedman, to death. The Associated Press said witnesses to the shooting quoted Sinclair as saying, “Attorneys have ruined the world,” “Attorneys have done enough damage to the people,” and “Now is the day of justice.”

In Carson, California, a 15-year-old boy was arrested for suspicion of murder in March after a 5-year-old boy a half mile away was hit by a flying bullet seconds after the older boy fired his gun almost straight up into the air while showing off for friends.

In May peace activist Kwazi Nkrumah, angered by a series of unfavorable articles in Santa Rosa, California, confronted the author, newspaper editor Bruce Anderson, and slugged him.

In June a 29-year-old man from Moab, Utah, fell to his death off the North Rim of the Grand Canyon while backing up to have his picture taken.

The Weirdo-American Community

In July the Iowa Board of Dental Examiners charged dentist Vincent P. Graettinger, whose license was suspended in May, with an incident that occurred in June. The board said Graettinger locked a female patient in a room alone and forced her to watch a film on proper dental care. Graettinger denied the charge and accused the board of “nit-picking.”

Least Competent Person

Janie A. Coleman was arrested in Columbia, Missouri, in January after trying to pass counterfeit $5 bills while purchasing perfume. The bills were merely composed of photocopied fronts and backs of real bills that had been taped together.

The Diminishing Value of Life

Cozette Wright, 35, was charged in May with stabbing her daughter Dennisha, 20, on Mother’s Day in Omaha, Nebraska, after an argument over who was the better mother.

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