Lead Story

Theodore R. Coleman, outgoing fire chief of Washington, D.C., recently filed a $2 million lawsuit for defamation of character against the trade journal Fire Chief because the magazine declined to put his photograph on the cover of a 1988 issue. Despite the insult, he said, he was going to “take the high road” and file a lawsuit rather than retaliate by other means.

Legislative Thrusts

Nude model Hsu Hsiao-dan, 30, a candidate for Taiwan’s Yuan legislature, is campaigning on the platform, “My body is a political weapon” and “My breasts are nuclear weapons.”

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) convention earlier this year in Indianapolis could not decide whether non-Christians could be admitted to heaven and referred the issue back to committee.

At a May meeting of the Club of Tall People–men taller than six-foot-three and women taller than five-foot-eleven–in Koblenz, Germany, 500 people from eight countries voted to abandon their campaign for tax breaks. They had originally claimed to deserve the breaks because they pay more for clothing, shoes, and other things.

A proposal before the Parliament of Tasmania would require the temporary ejection of members (to cool off) if they call other members names such as “liar” during debate. Other names used there recently have included “lout,” “dumb cluck,” “gutless windbag,” and “great big slob.”

A recent controversy in Dallas over whether an openly homosexual woman could become a police officer brought to light the city’s personnel questionnaire. The form asks applicants whether they have had sexual intercourse with a member of the same sex since age 15 and whether they have had sexual intercourse “with an animal or fowl” since only age 17.

In July, Lonnie “Bo” Pilgrim, an East Texas chicken magnate, handed out blank, signed $10,000 checks on the floor of the Texas legislature during debate over worker-compensation legislation in which he was interested. He denied that the checks were bribes, saying they were merely a way for him to achieve “name recognition.” Texas permits such contributions on the floor during special, but not regular, legislative sessions.

People Who Won’t Take No for an Answer

In July a 27-year-old man in a Dallas nightclub shot Mariama Gonzalez, 27, in the head four times, killing her, after she had continually rejected his invitations to dance.

Eladio Castillo, 65, was arrested in August in Raleigh, North Carolina, after he killed seven pigeons that were beating him to the peanuts being thrown by tourists outside the state capitol.

The Providence, Rhode Island, Housing Authority recently switched to a wrecking ball to demolish a ten-story building after a half ton of dynamite left the building with only minor damage. A civic group had argued earlier that the building should be preserved as an example of solid construction that could be renovated for low-income housing.

Odd Endings

In April, Steven L. Clendenny, 28, in custody at Memorial Hospital in Alton, Illinois, for killing and dismembering an elderly woman in 1988, choked to death on a hot dog.

Tommy Gaddis, 43, was killed in August in Montgomery, Alabama, while he was attempting to unload a piano from a pickup truck. The truck hit a curb, jarring the piano out the back and onto Gaddis.

Indiana truck driver Lester Peters was found dead in August of an apparent heart attack in the cab of a tractor-trailer parked at a McDonald’s restaurant. Police say Peters had collapsed nine days earlier and that the truck, which carries enough fuel to run for two weeks, was still idling when the body was found.

Eric Christopher Williams, 18, was swept into a paper-shredding machine in Rock Hill, North Carolina, in August after he crawled onto a conveyor belt to retrieve the head of a push broom that had come unscrewed while he was sweeping scrap paper.

Greg Moore, 25, was killed in Skiatook, Oklahoma, in August when he stumbled down the stairs of a house he was burglarizing and fell onto a hunting arrow.

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