Lead Story

From the “Police Log” of the Arizona Daily Sun (in Flagstaff), August 1: An officer was sent to an apartment complex because of a “family fight in progress.” A witness said he heard a male voice and then heard what sounded like a female voice reply. The officer arrived to find one middle-aged man surrounded by pictures of nudes. A neighbor told police he had seen no one enter or leave the apartment, but that he thought perhaps the occupant was staging what sounded like a family fight using two voices.

Odds and Ends (Mostly Odds)

Two trains crashed in southern Mexico in February, colliding head on, killing five and injuring 50. Officials said it would have been much worse except that two freight cars containing toilet paper helped cushion the crash’s impact.

Among recent letters submitted to the San Jose Mercury News’s “Action Line” column: “I voted for the Lotto game eight years ago, and I haven’t won anything. I think some of these people who are winning these millions of dollars didn’t even vote for the program.” And, “During the time I’ve been in the main jail, my sexual feeling/response has rapidly declined to almost nonexistent. I’m 25 and have never experienced such a severe lack of sexual drive.” Also, “Do people with big noses produce bigger boogers than people with smaller noses?”

A Chinese man known only as Mr. Chang mailed $1,920 (his life’s savings) to the U.S. embassy in Beijing last fall, earmarking it for the Persian Gulf war. President Bush had the money returned in June.

Nalcrest, Florida, is approaching its 30th anniversary. The town was established as a low-cost retirement villa for mail carriers and was named from the acronym for National Association of Letter Carriers. There is no residential mail service in Nalcrest (zip code 33856), but PO boxes are available for $2 a year.

Among the museums in Japan, according to a recent Associated Press story, are a safe-and-key museum, a parasitological museum that contains among other things a king-sized tapeworm, a cleaning museum with laundry artifacts, and a sock museum, among whose prize items is the 12.4-inch, bright red sock of pro wrestler Giant Baba.

In March in Arroyo Seco Park in Los Angeles, Father Richard Estrada held a blessing of the cars festival, following a Mexican tradition of having important new purchases blessed by a priest.

Fred Silva, 48, an inmate in Jefferson City, Missouri, lost his legs several years ago when they were frostbitten during an escape attempt but successfully broke out in June, days after being fitted with artificial legs. Said an official at Prosthetic Consultants, creator of the legs, “He always said he’d make us famous by escaping [on] our artificial legs.”

Officials of China’s civil aviation administration were quoted by a Hong Kong newspaper in May as complaining of a shortage of female flight attendants. The officials said they had received many applications but almost all were from women who are “unhealthy,” “nearsighted,” or “no longer virgins.”

Smooth Reactions

Samford University debate coach William Slagle was sentenced to life in prison in Alabama in March. He had been found guilty of stabbing to death a 20-year-old debater who was unprepared for a match.

Richard Dale Langston, 27, a Seattle electrician who received a poor evaluation from his supervisor, was sentenced to six months in jail in April for attempting to electrocute the supervisor in revenge.

Objections to a referee’s call upholding a goal at a soccer match in Orkney, South Africa, in January led to fighting that resulted in at least 40 spectator deaths and 50 injuries.

In a May incident, Toronto lawyer Joseph Pierre Jacques Cloutier, 32, became so upset at a ruling in court that he began to scream incoherently at his client, then stabbed himself several times in the back of his own hand with a pencil.

Beverly Mills, a Miami mother who writes a syndicated child care advice column, started a controversy in May when she ran a reader’s response to a mother’s question about getting her two-and-a-half-year-old boy to stop holding his breath. The reader claimed her doctor told her that sticking a finger in the child’s rectum would discourage him. Subsequently doctors contacted Mills to say that the advice not only was useless but sounded like child abuse. Mills wrote that she was merely a referee for the exchange of reader ideas and did not advocate any particular advice.

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