Lead Story

In a deposition made public in November in an Albuquerque sexual abuse lawsuit, Catholic priest Robert Kirsch admitted that he had had sexual intercourse with a woman but denied that the action had violated his vow of chastity. He said he had merely engaged in a “reserved embrace,” which he described as sexual intercourse with “no passion, no kissing, no [ejaculation],” and which he said is not improper under Catholic theology.

The Democratic Process

Richard Kyle won his Arizona House seat in November according to usual electoral procedures, but he won the Republican primary in September by less than traditional means. When Kyle and his opponent, John Gaylord, tied for the nomination, they agreed to settle the matter with one hand of five-card stud dealt by the speaker of the Arizona House. Kyle’s pair of sevens put him in the general election.

Rhett Jacobs, a Democratic candidate for the South Carolina House who listed education as his top priority, submitted a campaign disclosure form in October on which he detailed expenses for “filling fee,” “campain work,” and “litature.”

Deputy sheriff Mike Ratcliff of Victoria, Texas, running to replace the retiring sheriff, was endorsed by seven inmates serving in the local jail. Their letter to the Victoria Advocate said they “strongly believe” that Ratcliff “would be the best choice.”

Polly, a cow in Plainview, Minnesota, has predicted the winner of every presidential election since 1972 by relieving herself upon a photograph of the eventual winner after equal numbers of the candidates’ photographs were spread on the ground. On Monday, November 2, Polly correctly selected the next day’s winner after ten photos each of Clinton, Bush, and Perot were spread out in a pen in a shopping mall parking lot.

Arkansas secretary of state Bill McCuen, who lost his race for Congress in November, challenged the results in a lawsuit that claimed irregularities in the voting process. However, since vote administration in Arkansas is under the control of the secretary of state, McCuen was required to file the lawsuit against himself.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the Mexican state of Culiacan made unprecedented efforts in November to speed ballots from remote villages to the capital to be counted. But when such efforts required transporting the ballots in light planes, local drug dealers reminded officials of their policy of shooting down all planes in the area–their usual defense against law enforcement efforts. The drug dealers then offered, as a patriotic gesture, to fly the ballots to the capital in their own planes, but the government rejected the offer.


On July 31 Edsel Mikesell’s truck careened out of control near Okanogan, Washington, landing in a ravine out of sight of the road and leaving Mikesell with a broken back. His “friend” Susan Clemmer, 41, for whom he was moving things in his truck, found him in the ravine a short while later and, according to Mikesell, tried to strike a deal with him: She would rescue him if he would sign over to her all his worldly goods. He refused, and she left him there. She returned the next day, but he refused again. A passerby finally rescued Mikesell the following day, and an arrest warrant was issued for Clemmer.

In May Gainesville, Florida, police chief Wayland Clifton withdrew his bid for reelection after reports turned up that he had falsified part of his resume. Clifton had bragged that he had played football for legendary coach Bear Bryant at the University of Alabama, but school officials had no record of this. Clifton had gone to the trouble of preparing a fake newspaper clipping from a 1960 edition of the Birmingham News announcing that he had been named “defensive player of the week.”

In November four white men in Nashville, North Carolina, were charged with shooting a black man and starting some fires, apparently solely for the purpose of inciting a riot by other blacks, so that during the ensuing melee the four whites could loot some local stores.

The Weirdo-American Community

The first lawyer hired to defend Damian Monroe “Football” Williams, who is one of four people charged in the beating of truck driver Reginald Denny during the LA riots, was fired by his law firm in August when it discovered irregularities on the resume he submitted to the firm. In his resume Dennis Palmieri took partial credit for “dismantling the Berlin Wall, unifying Germany, and bringing democracy to Eastern Europe and the individual republics of the Soviet Union,” and also claimed credit for advocating a lunar mining colony, a Martian expedition, and “edifying reexamination of the Christian Principal [sic] in its substance and essence.”

Least Competent People

Police in Long Beach, California, arrested two men in October and charged them with stealing six 45-pound barbells from the Buffum-Downtown YMCA. The men were struggling to make their getaway with the barbells in a small cart, but it kept tipping over because they were not strong enough to steer it.

The Diminishing Value of Life

Kenneth P. Faust, 48, was convicted in November of murdering his girlfriend in Indianapolis in 1990. He said she kept pestering him to make love, but he refused, claiming that her breath was too foul.

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