NewsQuirks 380

HATS IN THE RINGTo call attention to his campaign for the Curitiba, Brazil, city council, Workers Party candidate Julian Carlo Fagotti appeared in television commercials wearing only glasses and holding a campaign leaflet at his waist. "You work. They steal," Fagotti says in the nine-second spot. "You vote. They forget. They're the ones who should be ashamed."In another Brazilian municipal contest, the leading candidate for mayor of Pilar died mysteriously. Even more mysterious, the front-runner was a goat. The week after a parade of 50 vehicles filled with the goat's supporters came under gunfire, its owner, Petrucio Maia, said he suspected a political rival had poisoned the goat, telling the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper the animal "had a lot a foam in his mouth."Civil servants in India's Uttar Pradesh state will vote for their most dishonest colleagues later this year. The names of accused offenders who receive at least 100 votes in the secret balloting by the 540-member Indian Administrative Service will be submitted to the government for prosecution, according to Surendra Mohan, president of the Uttar Pradesh IAS Officers Association, who explained, "Some of us have played the game we should not have played."In Idaho's Republican primary, Dr. William Levinger took nearly a third of the vote against incumbent U.S. Rep. Helen Cheoweth, then declared he would have done even better had he not suffered a manic episode during a taping of a local television talk show, been arrested for refusing to leave the studio and spent three weeks at a psychiatric unit. "As much as I gave to the campaign," Levinger said, "all I come away with is the label of the guy who went crazy at the TV station."In the race for the Volusia County (Fla.) Council, incumbent Lynne Plaskett skipped an Aug. 15 council session to appear on The Maury Povich Show and announce that aliens from outer space cured her cancer 20 years ago. She said the night after learning she was dying of cancer of her lymph nodes, she heard a buzzing sound in her bedroom. The room filled with fog, she was levitated from her bed, and an 8-inch disk scanned her body three times. After Plaskett's revelation aired, she said she was deluged by calls that were "extremely positive," adding a few callers even had extraterrestrial tales of their own to share.REALITY BITESAfter being robbed at gun point in a Disneyland parking lot, former Mousketeer Billie Jean Matay filed a suit in Orange County, CA, claiming she and her grandchildren suffered from negligence and emotional distress inflicted on them by security guards. Even worse, the suit charges, during the hours of questioning they were subjected to after the incident, they caught glimpses of Disney characters taking off their costumes, "exposing the children to the reality that the Disney characters were, in fact, make-believe."TO A TEEA new group of men protesting golf courses in England is the Transvestite Golf War movement. The London Observer reported "their tactic is to occupy golf courses in full makeup, fishnet stockings and high heels," adding that to ensure their action remains non-violent, "the transvestites take their best china and have picnics on the greens."When Tallahassee, Fla., Mayor Ron Weaver tried to play golf on a city course before it opened, having been warned before about following course rules, maintenance worker Mike Osley turned on the sprinklers, driving the mayor from the course. Weaver admitted he was wrong, but Osley was suspended a week without pay.POLLUTION POLICEChina announced it was sending a 50-member expedition to Mount Everest, not to climb the world's highest mountain but to haul away tons of garbage and human waste left behind by hundreds of climbers. The official Xinhua News Agency said the team would end its four-day clean-up by erecting a monument to the effort and sending 5,000 commemorative postcards from the world's highest post office at the Everest base camp.As a result of lobbying efforts by the International Dark-Sky Association, some 50 Arizona towns have enacted light-pollution laws. Astronomer David Crawford, a founder of the association, declared that if there were no light pollution from electric light of cities and suburbs, the heavens would display 2,500 stars, not the 250 visible in the average suburb or the 100 able to be seen in large cities.NO ONE THERE HAS EVER SEEN A TANGannett Outdoor Advertising covered up 10 billboards advertising suntan lotion in Grand Rapids, Mich., after some residents complained they showed too much skin. "Michigan has been a particularly difficult area for us," said Cheryl Stone of California Tan of Los Angeles, which paid for the ads. "We're not out to offend anyone. We will always need to show skin to show a tan."IT'S A RODENT'S LIFERobert Dorton greeted authorities investigating complaints that he was keeping rats in his motel room in Billings, Mont., by opening fire. Police and fire crews needed tear gas and a water cannon to subdue the man, who was seen kissing one of the rats and referred to them as "my brothers."A research team at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center announced the key to preventing the rejection of transplanted organs in humans may be a molecule found in mice testicles. Associate professor of immunology Donald Bellgrau said the discovery "could be the magic elixir that we can use to prevent graft rejection."NO APPETITE FOR REJECTIONThe Red Robin Grill, trying to organize a holiday dinner for needy people last Christmas in Langhorne, PA, collected food for 200 and gifts of toys for children, but nobody showed up for the party. Assistant kitchen manager Mike Lerro, who came up with the idea of feeding local orphans and having Santa Claus show up to give out toys, said he tried to find orphans, but there are no orphanages in prosperous Bucks County. Expanding the search, Lerro discovered many poor families had already made plans to eat Christmas dinner at the Salvation Army. Others said they had no way to get to the restaurant. Despite the outpouring of food and gifts, the dinner was canceled. "I got it all backward," Lerro said. "I figured getting the big corporations to give me the food would be the hard part, not finding people to eat it."

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