April 26, 2000
Justice Served Renato Salazar entered his company's kitchen in Manila and opened two gas tanks. Hiding inside a water-filled drum to protect himself, he tossed a lighted match at the tanks, starting a fire that destroyed the building. The heat from the blaze boiled the water in the drum, killing Salazar.Rugged Individualism Two weeks after embittered Montana Freeman Ralph E. Clark ordered a follower to nail to his fence the manifesto that began, "Freemen are NOT a part to the de facto corporate prostitute a/k/a/ the United States," the New York Times reported that Clark and his ranch partners received $676,082 in federal assistance over the past 10 years.Music Lovers Officials in Vilnius, Lithuania, erected a monument to rock star Frank Zappa, explaining that even though the two had no connection, they were sure he would have visited Vilnius had he not died two years earlier. American scientist Dr. Hector Corona reported that dolphins sing along to the radio. By slowing down recordings of dolphins to one-quarter speed, he said he discovered that their sounds are popular hits from the likes of Mariah Carey and Bryan Adams, which they hear by picking up sound waves from radios on boats and beaches.Guaranteed to Get Results A welfare reform bill passed by the Florida Senate contains a provision that would take away the hunting and fishing licenses of anyone found to be behind in child-support payments.The Enemy Is Us Last year, the Army issued Bronze Stars to seven members of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment for "meritorious achievement" during the Persian Gulf war, even though their achievement was mistakenly firing on U.S. troops, killing one and wounding another.Veiled Threat The government of Kenya announced that Muslim women would have to be photographed for new national identity cards without their veils. When the women protested, the government said they could have their pictures taken wearing veils.Name Game Apple Computer Inc. revealed that it settled a lawsuit brought by astronomer Carl Sagan, who had objected to the company's use of his name as a code word for the development of its Power Macintosh 7100. After Sagan's attorneys complained, the company changed the project's name. The change didn't satisfy Sagan, who sued Apple after hearing news reports that project managers had relabeled the project BHA -- for "Butt-head Astronomer."Oops! Police investigating the stabbing of Melvin Moses, 36, in DeSmet, Idaho, said that his wife, Brenda, told them she was only trying to give him a tonsillectomy when she shoved a 7-inch butcher's knife down his throat.Land of the Setting Sun According to a survey by Japan's Cultural Affairs agency, 44 percent of those polled said that if spoken to by a foreigner they would answer in Japanese; 28 percent would use Japanese or English, depending on the circumstance; 2 percent would use English, and 19 percent would "try not to answer at all."Fruits of Research Martha Belury, a professor of nutrition at Purdue University, reported that a substance found in cheeseburgers, conjugated dienoic linoleic acid, inhibits skin cancer in mice.Curses, Foiled Again Police in Cadiz, Ky., charged Kevin Stanley Stokes, 25, with robbing a grocery store. After taking $170 at gun point, the robber dashed out to his waiting getaway car to find the door locked and the keys inside. He had to kick out a back window to get into the car, giving police more than enough time to respond to the emergency call by store clerks. Police in Lexington, N.C., arrested three men for robbing a gas station after their getaway car swerved off the road and flipped over when the driver tried to steer and count the stolen money at the same time.Yowzah! In Ireland, a man staggered into the emergency room of Belfast Hospital with a wind-up turtle attached to his testicles, explaining that his young son had dropped the toy into his bath. "A mechanical joint connected to his tender bits and jammed solid," a nurse said.Smoke Screen Stories warning about the dangers of smoking decreased in the popular schoolchildren's magazine Weekly Reader after the publication was bought by RJR Nabisco, a conglomerate whose holdings include tobacco company R. J. Reynolds, according to University of California at San Francisco professor Stanton Glantz. His study found that 62 percent of the stories about tobacco were anti-smoking until the Reader was bought; after that, only 24 percent were anti-smoking.Miles of Smiles Yu Qian, a dentist in China's Heilongjiang province, built an 8-foot-high tower out of 28,000 decayed teeth to promote awareness of dental hygiene.True Love Less than two months after watching her former boyfriend kill her date with a shotgun blast to the head, 19-year-old Amber Farris said she not only forgives him but wants to marry him. "I know it sounds weird to everyone, but I have a son with him and I really love him despite all he's done," Farris said after Jason R. White, 23, was indicted for the ambush killing. "He's not the monster you read about in the papers."Suspicions Aroused Maytag repairman Glenn Thomas Stooksbury got caught by claiming he had plenty to do. The owner of an appliance repair shop in Knoxville, Tenn., was charged with submitting more than $173,000 in bogus repair claims to Maytag Corp. and White Consolidated Industries. Prosecutors said the repairs were never done or were done on appliances no longer under warranty.Victimization Iraq's parliament passed a law forbidding wealthy Iraqis from hiring private bodyguards. Despite a wave of violent crime in recent years that led wealthy businessmen and popular entertainers to hire armed men for protection, only senior officials and close relatives of Saddam Hussein are allowed bodyguards.Compiled by Roland Sweet from the nation's press. Send clippings, citing source and date, to POB 8130, Alexandria VA 22306. Odd-news hounds will enjoy the latest compilation, "Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest: True News of the World's Least Competent People," by John J. Kohut and Roland Sweet (Plume/Penguin).