NewsQuirks 425

Cause and Effect British Army Air Corps Major David Senior, on trial for falsely inflating ration claims for his men and pocketing the $30,000 surplus, defended himself by declaring he acted under the influence of too much tea. His attorney said Senior has drunk as much as a gallon of tea a day for the past 20 years, resulting in his suffering from a recognized addiction called "caffeinism," which may have caused him to make a genuine accounting error.Some violent crime and antisocial behavior is caused by environmental pollution, according to Dartmouth University political science professor Roger Masters. His analysis of crime and pollution statistics found that the two are connected; countries with the highest levels of lead and manganese pollution typically have crime rates three times the national average.Swiss researchers identified a new eating disorder, called gourmand syndrome, where average eaters become obsessed with fine dining. It is caused by damage to the right hemisphere of the brain, according to neurologist and study co-author Theodor Landis of Geneva, who noted the research was prompted by two stroke victims who displayed unusual cravings for gourmet dining as they were recovering. One of them, a 48-year-old political journalist who previously cared little about food and ate whatever his wife served, became so obsessed with food that after his recovery he became his newspaper's restaurant columnist. The research looked at 723 patients with known or suspected brain lesions and found that 36 of them had gourmand syndrome.Jet SetAfter landing at Phnom Penh, Teng Boonma, the head of Cambodia's Chamber of Commerce and reportedly his country's richest businessman, got off the Royal Air Cambodge 737 that brought him from Hong Kong, ordered a bodyguard to bring him a pistol, then shot a tire on the parked jet. Explaining he was fed up because the airline lost his luggage after imposing a $4,000 excess luggage charge, Teng said, "I know it was wrong to do that. But I only regret that I did not get to shoot the other three tires."Clothes EncountersChristopher Reeves, the actor who was paralyzed in a fall from a jumping horse in 1995, is sponsoring a new line of polo shirts and sweatshirts, according to Entertainment Weekly. Sold only in equestrian shops, the apparel features a jumping horse with Reeve's initial underneath.Jail officials in Linn County, Ore., have banned underwear for male inmates, explaining that it costs too much money to replace T-shirts and drawers, which keep disappearing. Sheriff Dave Burright said some items were flushed down the toilet, resulting in a $200 bill to unclog the sewer lines. Also, this summer an inmate tried to hang himself with the elastic waistband from his briefs. So far, only one prisoner has complained, claiming it is his constitutional right for inmates to have underwear, according to Burright, who noted, "I don't remember Thomas Jefferson (sic) putting anything about underwear in the Constitution."Odd EndingsBritish actor Antony Wheeler, 26, was playing Judas in a production of "Jesus Christ Superstar" at the Sani Beach Hotel in Greece when he accidentally hanged himself in front of 600 audience members.Torge Czar intended to burglarize a jewelry store in Warsaw by tunneling through a wall and into a safe on the other side, according to authorities, who explained that he miscalculated, broke through the wall of a food factory, fell into a vat of spinach and drowned.Chance MeetingsAfter breaking off their two-year relationship, firefighter Richard Lightfoot, 35, and Donna Parry, 33, did not speak to each other for two months. While responding to an early morning fire in southeast London, Lightfoot realized it was his former girlfriend's home, so he "acted against my better judgment" by grabbing an ax, rushing inside and rescuing Parry. The incident revived their relationship. "He was a real hero and saved my life," Parry said. "It does not get more romantic than that."In Anderson, S.C., construction worker Roy Sanders, 43, was talking with co-worker Jeff Roberts, 20, when he realized that the younger man was his son. Sanders explained his girlfriend had the baby after they broke up and he entered the military, but she gave it up for adoption and didn't tell him about it. When he eventually learned of the baby, he tried to track it down but got nowhere. Meanwhile, Roberts learned that he was adopted but couldn't gain access to court and health department records. "On my 18th birthday I made a promise to myself: 'If I have not found my father by the time I'm 21, I'm going to give up,'" Roberts said after he and Sanders were reunited in March. "I'll be 21 in two months."In Davenport, Iowa, Joie Giese, 51, and Merrilee Woeber, 50, worked together for three years before learning in May that they are sisters separated by adoption 50 years ago. The discovery occurred while the two women and some fellow workers were comparing complexions and suggested Giese might be Italian. She said no, noting her mother's name was Dunn. Woeber said she was also a Dunn and joked that they might be cousins. Then Giese, who had been adopted, told Woeber that her birth mother's name was Lenore Dunn, the same name as Woeber's mother. "There were about 12 people sitting around with their mouths dropped to their knees," Giese said.What's in a Name?The Southern League, which advocates secession by the South, changed its name after the Southern League of Professional Baseball Clubs threatened legal action. The secessionists now call themselves the League of the South.Fruits of Research When ornithologists Martin Heubeck of Scotland and Mardik Leopold of the Netherlands met in Glasgow at an international conference on seabirds, Leopold said it was a little-known fact that more left shoes than right shoes washed ashore on the beaches, at least in his country. Heubeck decided to conduct his own research along 300 miles of Scottish coast. Where the Dutch had found 63.5 percent of intact footwear was for left feet, Heubeck noted 59.6 percent of the footwear he found was for right feet.The National Sex Health Survey, conducted by researcher Joseph Catania of the University of California at San Francisco, found no difference in rates of use of sex toys in urban and nonfarm rural areas (10 percent). The survey did note that use in farm areas was only 7 percent.Compiled by Roland Sweet from the nation's press. Send clippings, citing source and date, to POB 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.


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