Lead Story

Frank Charles Snyder, 29, a former volunteer on Sacramento’s suicide prevention hot line, confessed in May that in an act of retaliation he had slit the wrists of a man whom he knew to be a chronic caller to the hot line but who had recently become too demanding.

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Personne Complet, a beauty parlor in Woodland Hills, California, that has both a psychic and a hypnotherapist on staff to assist its customers, offers one service for its female customers that includes both a makeover and a date.

A New Jersey memorabilia firm, Royal Golf Associates, is asking $15,000 for the .38 caliber revolver that Clifford Roberts (longtime chairman of the Masters golf tournament) used to commit suicide on the grounds at Augusta, Georgia, in 1977.

In January the Chicago Trunk and Leather Works started renting $1,100 briefcases (about $200 for three days) to executives who want to improve their image for meetings. Said a company spokesman, “Even with a well-cut suit, silk tie, and $50 haircut, all eyes around the conference table will eventually focus on your attache.”

An East German farmer started a business recently in which wealthy West Berliners can lease their own hens for about $100 a month. The hen’s eggs are delivered to the customer’s door, and the customer has the option of eating the hen at the end of the 18-month leasing period.

In February federal drug agents in Austin, Texas, were investigating filmmaker Holly Faye Millar, 28, who was working on a government antidrug film using real federal agents. She allegedly planned to reuse the face shots of the agents in a film she would have sold to drug traffickers to help them identify agents.

London businessman Anson Lane, 47, paid the government about $132,000 at auction recently for the right to use the vanity license plate “ELV 1S.” (Lane does not own a car.)

Questionable Judgments

Russell Edwards, 15, died of a heart attack in April in San Jose, California, while playing the “cuss game” with a friend. The rules of the game, reported the San Francisco Chronicle, specify no cussing and that if one cusses the other gets to punch him. After one such punch, Edwards collapsed and died.

A study of 218 rattlesnake-bite incidents released last year by the University of Arizona Poison Control Center included a report on one man who had been bitten on the tongue while kissing a snake. Panicking, and apparently armed with a hazy understanding of poisons, he tried to break down the venom by wiring his tongue to a six-volt battery. By the time the hospital was finished with him, he had lost one lip and part of his tongue.

Health officials in Minneapolis, in the process of providing information on sexually transmitted diseases, recently began distributing kits for prostitutes containing condoms, instruction booklets, and buttons reading “I’m a Safe Sex Pro!”

As part of ongoing rebel battles in the Philippines in August, 13 members of a Mindanao Island “machete battalion” attacked an army outpost after protecting themselves with a coat of “wonder oil” to ward off bullets. (Result: two killed, four wounded, seven surrendered.)

Government researchers in Bethesda, Maryland, conducting a study of douching practices of women in Utah, reported in March that 8 of the 674 in the study douched regularly with household cleaners such as Lysol and Pine-Sol.

Professor Richard Chase of the University of Southern California business school told the Wall Street Journal in March that he would start this fall offering a warranty to graduate students in his class in management of service operations. If they are unsatisfied for any reason, he will pay (out of his own pocket) $250 of their tuition for the course and will buy back their textbooks. (If all 40 students were to demand refunds it would cost him $13,000, but he stipulated that all demands must be made before final grades are given.)

Last summer in Romford, England, 51-year-old Philip Pyne, off work and intending to do some heavy drinking but worried that he might fall off his bar stool if he got too drunk, attempted to tack his legs to the stool with nails but abandoned the idea in pain and called an ambulance.

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