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Lead Story

Orange County (California) Superior Court clerks discovered last fall that they had failed to complete the paperwork to make nearly 500 pre-1985 divorce judgments final, thus leaving the parties legally married. The worst-case scenario for one husband occurred in Phoenix in April when an appeals court ruled that Bonita Lynch was entitled to one fourth of his $2.2 million lottery jackpot. Lynch would have been divorced 11 days before the jackpot was announced.

Science Fair

Doctors at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine reported recently that a research team has developed the first continuous culture of human brain cells but said it would still be several years before the cells could actually be implanted to improve brain functions.

Oregon State University entomologist Michael Burgett reported in April that the average American eats about a pound of bugs a year–the aggregate of bug parts that appear in certain foods and that are too costly to remove. Burgett said that bugs generally provide more protein than an equivalent amount of other food.

A physician in Springfield, Illinois, writing in an April medical journal about a three-year-old boy’s severe constipation, attributed it to his fear of entering the bathroom due to memories of a TV commercial in which the toilet bowl turns into a monster, with the lid making a chomping noise. He had refused to enter a bathroom for six months without explaining why.

University of Florida researchers revealed in March that the U.S. Air Force is paying $100,000 for a study to show whether low-flying F-4 Phantom fighter jets affect the health of pregnant horses that live near military bases. The researchers will use simulated noise rather than actual jets.

Kim Bowman, 35, accused of stealing three diamonds from a jeweler in Independence, Missouri, and swallowing them, will be allowed to keep the $5,000 diamond lodged in his colon because surgery to remove it would cost $50,000. He agreed to pay restitution.

The University of Chicago Medical Center recently ran an advertisement looking for male volunteers over 40 to test a device that measures penis erections. The “Rigiscan” has pressure-sensitive loops to measure the “timing, firmness and duration” of nighttime erections. Volunteers make $50 for a three-night test.

Recently expired: the patent for the “Toe Holder,” two rings welded together that fit over a sunbather’s big toes. By holding the two toes together, the device helps protect the insides of the legs from sunburn.


Laverne Davis, a 29-year-old police officer in Santa Monica, California, fired two shots at dogs that had attacked her partner in February. One shot hit her partner in the left leg, the other in his right leg.

A Houston court clerk mistakenly typed in the wrong code on the record of convicted drug possessor Samuel J. Ettipio in June 1989 so he was freed instead of being sent to prison for 22 years. But Ettipio was arrested again shortly after the convicting judge ran into him while grocery shopping on Halloween day.

On January 31 in Trenton, New Jersey, the canvas cover on a waste-disposal truck carrying millions of factory-rejected condoms fell open, spilling thousands of prophylactics onto the highway.

Women’s Wear Daily announced in February that the cover photo accompanying its lead story a few days earlier, featuring a photo of a woman in a fringed dress, long dangling earrings, high heels, and a high blond hairdo, was an unintentionally printed photo of a man.

The cameraman taping the execution of Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife before a firing squad in December was wounded by a stray bullet.

A woman in Glen Burnie, Maryland, testified in April that when a neighbor, Tony Wade Irvine, entered her home in the early morning hours one day last June and began to have sex with her in bed, she did not protest because she assumed it was her boyfriend feeling amorous. Irvine, charged with rape, claimed he was drunk and said he thought he was in his own home having sex with his own wife.

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