Lead Story

British scientist Andrew Tomkins, in a letter published in a medical journal in August, wrote that his studies showed that the food dogs and cats receive in the more developed parts of the world is more nutritious than the food supplied to human refugees in the world’s trouble spots.

Family Values

Charles Washington, 21, was found shot to death in Houston in February after a weekend-long quarrel with his gay lover. The fight started when Washington discovered that his lover had been having an affair with Washington’s mother in the house the three of them shared.

Three high school students were expelled in Tokyo in August for smoking in school; as the teachers were on their way to the boys’ homes to explain the expulsions to the parents, the three boys and their fathers intercepted them on the street and pummeled them, fracturing one teacher’s jaw and injuring the others.

In July Republican Jay Dickey, candidate for U.S. Congress, gave a Rotary Club audience in El Dorado, Arkansas, his position on the incest exception that many right-to-lifers make for abortion: “I think incest can be handled as a family matter within the family. The people know about it and they can get more serious about it. But I don’t think it’s rape because of the awareness of it within the family.”

In Pierre, South Dakota, Methodist minister Reverend Wally Walton was charged in July with several child-sex offenses along with his wife, their adopted twin daughters, and a son-in-law.

Michael McNamee, 78, recently won $275,000 in damages from a securities-industry arbitration panel because of fraud committed by his broker, who made unauthorized trades on McNamee’s account. McNamee’s broker at Shearson Lehman Hutton during the time of the fraud was his son, Michael McNamee Jr.


The husband-and-wife coaches of the University of Minnesota’s celebrated women’s gymnastics team were fired in May after team members were given, for training purposes, a videotape of a gymnastics meet that had five minutes’ worth of sex between the couple accidentally spliced onto the end.

A Virginia regional-park organization received its new special-order conference table in June from Charles G. Stott & Company office-supply firm, but the requested 20-by-5-foot table had somehow been manufactured to 20 inches by 5 feet.

In a 1992 medical-journal article on nocturnal bingeing, a psychiatrist related the story of a 53-year-old woman who was unable to move upon waking. At first she assumed she had had a stroke; she was then able to move some muscles, but she still could not get up. When she finally wriggled free of her bedclothes she discovered that the reason for her temporary immobility was that her nightgown had been stuck to the sheets by several crushed and melted Mars bars.

In July in Ogden, Utah, a Japanese college exchange student, angry that a Baskin-Robbins store had just shut its doors for the evening and would not serve him, suffered a laceration on his buttocks when he pressed too hard on the window and broke the glass while mooning the store’s employees.

The National Transportation Safety Board ruled 3-1 in July that the cause of a Continental Express commuter plane crash in September 1991 was sloppy maintenance. According to the board, a Continental inspector had removed 47 screws from the plane to check a deicer and had neither replaced the screws nor informed anyone else that he had removed them. Lacking the 47 screws, the horizontal stabilizer bar fell off in flight.

A pastor and two members of his Zion Christian Church near Johannesburg, South Africa, drowned in August in a baptism accident. The pastor and his subject slipped during a dunking, and the third man died trying to rescue them.


In June the Wall Street Journal reported that teenager Vitaly Klimakhin, of Moscow, Russia, had dropped out of high school in 1991 to become a writer. Over a period of 107 days he wrote a book consisting only of the word “Ford” written 400,000 times. Said Klimakhin, “My work is able to provoke a whole range of emotions in people. Some think it is just stupid. Others take it a bit more seriously. For a time I would get up every morning and think, ‘I’ve got to stop doing this before I lose my mind.’ But ultimately my determination to finish . . . won out.”

Least Competent Person

In August a Republican candidate for the Oklahoma City Corporate Commission filled a petition for a new law that would make it grounds for impeachment if any local or state official has two negative drug tests. When the candidate, Merle McCollum, was informed that a negative test indicates nonuse, he replied, “I don’t know anything about drug testing. All I know is I will volunteer for one.”

The Diminishing Value of Life

In August Mark Robert Bullard, 28, died after he was beaten by several bowlers at the Earle Brown Bowl in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, following an altercation over whether another bowler had used his ball.

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