NewsQuirks 384

OOPS!Carolyn Hutchinson, 35, of Cincinnati was playing bingo when she left her table to use the restroom. Apparently, police said, she forgot she had stuffed a loaded gun into her panties. The .25-caliber derringer fell out, hit the floor and discharged, lodging a bullet in her calf.Seven Spanish teen-agers tried to mug Herminia Alvarez in Alicante, thinking she was a defenseless woman. She actually is a circus weightlifter, the highlight of whose act is supporting eight people on one shoulder. Her seven attackers were all hospitalized.THE ONE THAT DIDN'T GET AWAYIn Brazil, Nathon do Nascimento was fishing in a river near the remote Amazon city of Belem when a 6-inch-long fish suddenly leapt out of the river and into his mouth, lodging in his throat. Two other fishermen tried to help him, but by the time they got him to a local hospital, he was dead.TAKE OFF THE BLINDERSTwo race horses died at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., when they collided head-on. The animals were completing a morning workout when Miss Carson's bridle broke. The 4-year-old filly threw her exercise rider and headed back up the stretch. "I was going around the turn and here comes the loose horse," said Dean Flatland, who was riding 5-year-old gelding Rare Reason. "I was trying to go one way or the other, and the horse just kept coming straight at me -- and bang."CHEW ON THISPalmdale, Calif., secretary Linda Jeffery, 46, was awarded $1.2 million after she went to the dentist for a cleaning and ended up toothless. Jeffery claimed that Dr. Leoneed Gordon told her that her teeth were so rotten they would fall out in a few months. The suit said he gave her the choice of expensive surgery and pain to try to save the teeth or a 30-minute procedure to replace them with dentures. She said she was so scared she let him pull all her teeth. Experts testified Jeffery at the time merely needed a deep periodontal cleaning.ANIMAL HUSBANDRYAfter 10 years of selling boar semen for artificially inseminating sows, the Fox family of Mahaska County, Iowa, added a drive-through window for farmers in a hurry. "'Order of semen and fries,'" said Genette Fox. "I've heard that a million times."SLEEP TIGHTThe house in Fall River, Mass., where Lizzie Borden lived when she was accused, then acquitted, of hacking her father and stepmother to death, has been converted to a bed-and-breakfast.FALLOUTMelany Paula Campos, 60, who shared a home in Los Angeles with her sister and some 40 dogs, was found dead beneath four large bags of dog food. Scott Carrier of the coroner's office said the heavy bags apparently smothered Campos.In the Spanish port of La Coruna, an estimated 100,000 tons of garbage the height of a 14-story building tumbled down a hillside at the municipal dump. The avalanche buried Joaquim Serantes, 52, who had been washing his car below. Carlos Munoz, environment officer of the regional Galician government called the dump "a living organism which moves on its own due to fermentation and other phenomena. We have to worry about what has been thrown in there in the past 22 years. Only now is it showing its ugly face."The driver of a tractor-trailer on Washington's Beltway died after a tire came through the windshield of his cab. Maryland State Police said the tire came off a car traveling in the opposite direction.HEY, YOU, GET OFF OF MY PLANETMartin Juergens, 59, of Westphalia asked the German government to uphold his ownership of the moon against a 1980 claim by Rio Vista, Calif., entrepreneur Dennis Hope, who sold 1,700 lunar lots for $16 each. "The moon has belonged to my family since 15 July, 1756," said Juergens, claiming Prussian Emperor Frederick the Great gave the moon to his ancestor, Aul Juergens, to thank him for a blessing that Frederick said brought him great foreign policy success, decreeing "that the moon should remain in my family's possession forever and should be passed on to the youngest born son."TIGHT SQUEEZESAfter dropping his car keys in a sewer grate in Detroit, Ray Langston, 41, used a coat hanger to pry open the 130-pound grate, then squeezed through the 18-inch-wide opening. He became pinned headfirst in the hole and drowned in two feet of water.Lynwood, Wash., police Officer Warren Beers handcuffed a 38-year-old shoplifting suspect and put her in the back seat of his cruiser, then left the car running while he helped another officer who was searching a nearby car. Even though the officers were only a few feet away, the 5-foot-3, 170-pound suspect squeezed through the small opening in the sliding partition between the front and back seats. Beers said he and the other officer turned around to see the 1996 Ford Crown Victoria leaving "at a high rate of speed." It was recovered an hour later, but the only trace of the suspect was a set of handcuffs in the back seat.THE NAME GAMEItalian member of parliament Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of dictator Benito Mussolini announced her support of a proposed change in the law to allow children to be given their mother's surname instead of their father's. "I think making the father's surname obligatory is an absurdity, stuff of the Middle Ages," she said, indicating she wants her new-born daughter to carry her family's infamous surname or else the Mussolini name will die out.KITCHEN CRISISThe U.S. Supreme Court rejected a claim by Bobby June Griggs against the South Carolina Electric and Gas Co., charging the utility with causing her nervous breakdown. Griggs explained that she entered a rice recipe cook-off but needed psychiatric help after the power company published the recipe without her permission along with the recipes of the other contestants.

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