Lead Story

The Memphis Zoo recently opened “Dinosaurs Live!,” an exhibit of computerized replicas. As of early September, according to zoo official Ann Ball, six people had asked for refunds of the $2.50 admission price upon learning that the exhibit did not feature real dinosaurs.

Hormonal Frenzies

In June the World Health Organization, in “the most comprehensive report ever compiled on global reproductive health,” reported that humans engage in more than 100 million acts of heterosexual intercourse each day, with a conception rate of 1 percent.

In Tokyo last June Hamamatsu City Zoo officials began showing nonstop videos of mating gorillas to a female gorilla, Daiko, to stimulate her interest in her mate, Sho. After two weeks officials reported that the two were copulating occasionally but that Daiko was not yet pregnant. (A zoo in Kyoto once claimed success in using a video to get a mother gorilla to nurse her young.)

At a Bowery subway station in New York City in September Darryl Washington and Maria Ramos were injured when a train plowed into them as they were having sex on a mattress on the tracks. Washington suffered several fractured bones, and Ramos got away with only minor cuts because the quick-acting motorman was able to slow the train.

Police captain Joe Brown of Goshen, Indiana, reported in May that he was considering bringing charges against a 65-year-old man who had poured hot coffee onto the head of a 14-year-old boy who was underneath a footbridge in a local park. The man said he did it because he was sure that the boy was looking up women’s dresses as they passed by, and he wanted to prevent the boy from becoming a sexual pervert.

As part of the “Repohistory” exhibit by 65 New York City artists on various Manhattan street corners (running from June through December), a poster was placed on a lamppost on Maiden Lane (near Wall Street) to explain the origin of the street name. The poster shows a drawing of a female doll in late 1700s dress carrying laundry in a basket along with an illustration of a hymen from a medical textbook.

Karen L. Wrobel, 43, was charged in La Crosse, Wisconsin, in August with illegal sexual contact with a 15-year-old boy. According to the prosecutor, she seduced the boy by telling him that she had a bubble in her brain that could pop and kill her if the boy turned her down.

Police Blotter

Sheldon Rhyne, 19, was arrested in Greensboro, North Carolina, in June for missing a court date on a breaking and entering charge. Police searching Rhyne’s home with an arrest warrant finally found him hiding inside the clothes dryer.

Police in Long Beach, California, arrested Larry Dwayne Mitchell in August on suspicion of burglary. Under the name Jerry Jacobs, Mitchell had been showing up at burglary scenes for weeks as a “witness” who had supplied information to the victim and police. Police said fingerprints linked Mitchell to four of the burglaries he had “witnessed”; Mitchell later confessed to more than 40.

In Connecticut the New Haven Register reported in February that a thief made off with 32 boxes of Monistat suppositories (which treat yeast infections) from the Stop & Shop in Old Saybrook after he told a security guard that he was infected with HIV and threatened to bite him.

Michael A. Dittmer, 28, was arrested in Madison, Wisconsin, in August after police observed him weaving over the road and gave chase. As Dittmer parked in his garage and attempted to lower the door, officer Bart O’Shea drove his cruiser under the door to prevent it from closing. According to O’Shea, Dittmer maintained that he could not be arrested because he had made it home before O’Shea could catch him.

The Weirdo-American Community

Rhode Island state-police detective Brendan Doherty arrested Albert LaBonte in Providence in May and charged him with impersonating for the last five years a police officer, namely Doherty himself. Police had received complaints that an officer identifying himself as Doherty had been bothering women. In LaBonte’s home Doherty saw a picture of himself that LaBonte had hung on the wall, taken when Doherty and several other troopers modeled their uniforms in 1987 on Late Night With David Letterman.

Least Competent Person

A Dunkin’ Donuts shop in Waukegan was robbed in July. Impatient because his demand for money was not immediately met, the thief grabbed the cash register and dashed out the door. But the cash drawer was built into the counter, and the thief fled only with the part that prints receipts.

The Diminishing Value of Life

Last April in Jacksonville, Florida, Marvin Lee Jones narrowly escaped death when a gun held to his head did not fire, but his assailant shot him in the right leg shortly afterward. Police said the gunman was Jones’s son, 13, who was angry that his dad wouldn’t pay back the $10 he owed him.

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