NewsQuirks 440

Mensa Rejects of the WeekBungee jumper Eric A. Barcia, 22, of Fredericksburg, Va., taped together a number of plastic bungee cords, wrapped one end around his feet and tied the other to a railroad trestle. Then he jumped. Unfortunately, the cord was longer than the 70-foot distance between the trestle and the ground, and Barcia died on impact.Washington Redskins quarterback Gus Frerotte celebrated his one-yard touchdown run against the New York Giants by running head-first into the concrete wall in the end zone of Jack Kent Cooke Stadium. Even though the wall is padded, the impact sprained Frerotte's neck, sending him to the hospital at half-time.ShortfallWomen average 4 billion fewer brain cells than men, according to a 10-year study by Danish researchers. Dr. Bente Pakkenberg, a neurologist at Copenhagen's Kommune Hospital who headed the project, said she is baffled as to what the difference in nerve cells means. "Maybe we'll find it's much more important how they are connected than how many there are," she said, adding, "And if men have to have 4 million more brain cells to function as normally as women, it's all right with me."Curses, Foiled AgainPolice in Ceres, Calif., charged Jesse Krigbaum, 19, with burglary after finding his jail release papers at the scene. Detective Sgt. Allen McKay said that Krigbaum claimed to have lost a coat containing the papers that someone else must have worn while committing the crime, but investigators dismissed that excuse because it was 92 degrees the day of the burglary. They also found Krigbaum's fingerprints at the scene.Authorities in Spotsylvania County, Va., charged Roderick Farmer, 22, with stealing a neighbor's 1989 Oldsmobile Cutlass. Noting that Farmer had driven the car around the neighborhood where he stole it, sheriff's deputies arrested Farmer while he was washing the car after a friend of its owner recognized it and notified authorities.Done In by Political CorrectnessBoycotting companies that do business is so-called repressive regimes has become so widespread in Berkeley, Calif., that the city is having trouble finding politically correct gasoline. The only major oil company not on the official boycott list is Exxon, but that company is the target of an unofficial boycott because of its handling of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. "Pretty soon we'll have to do our own offshore drilling, city councilor Polly Armstrong said.Cheaper SolutionNoting the high cost of personalized automobile license plates in England, London resident Dave Parker spent just $40 to have a plate that matches his name. He used the money for a filing fee to change his name legally to "C 539 FUG," which is his current license plate.Intimations of ImmortalityAfter five years of squabbling, three spelling errors have been corrected on the grave of Isaac Bashevis Singer, winner of the 1978 Nobel Prize for Literature. His headstone had described him as a "Noble" laureate. A smaller footstone also spelled "Nobel" wrong and dropped the "h" from his middle name. According to the New York Times, when Singer's widow complained about the mistakes to Shastone Memorial Corp. in Great Neck, N.Y., which made both stones, the company produced her signed approval of the plans. "We told her the spelling of Nobel was incorrect," said Shastone's former owner, Arnold Haskel. "She said, 'Do it as I gave it to you.'" A year later, Shastone changed the footstone, but the headstone wasn't changed until last summer because one of Singer's heirs refused to approve the change.A crematorium that opened last winter in the Swedish town of Boras provides heat for 60,000 residents. Boras energy chief Roger Bergstom explained that the heat is not directly from the bodies. "When people are cremated, it frees up dangerous materials like quicksilver and amalgam," he told the Aftonbladet newspaper. "These materials have to be burned, and this is the heat that is being used."Sex BizWhen Tammy Papler, the owner of the New Life Massage Parlor in Oak Grove, Ky., accused city officials and police of taking bribes to allow her to run her business as a brothel and of buying sex from her girls, city councilor Patty Belew backed up Papler's allegations. Belew admitted that she worked as a prostitute at Papler's massage parlor for about two years. When some of the town's 3,000 residents called for her to resign from the council, Belew said she was remaining in office because "there ain't nobody else in there that's any better than I am. At least I did come out and tell the truth, unlike everybody else."Actress Dalny Marga Valdes, 29, filed a labor complaint against the Screen Actors Guild, claiming the union rejected her membership application because she performs in adult films. "They're denying any X-rated actor or producer into their union," she said. "I say we're just like any other actor."Publisher Norm Zadeh announced that his new magazine, Perfect 10, features only nude women who have not had breast implants. ""I've been to strip joints and fallen in love. And then you realize they're not real," Zadeh said, adding that he wants readers to know "what real breasts look like, because they've forgotten."Lowered ExpectationsMost Ontario residents believe in miracles, according to a poll commissioned by Global Television, although the Toronto Star reported that respondents have differing views as to what constitutes a miracle. One man insisted it was a miracle, for example, when "I went to someone's house and got a good deal on a power tool that I wanted for a long time."Honor Thy Live-in AdultsIreland's Roman Catholic Church urged teachers to drop "Mummy and Daddy" from their classroom vocabulary to recognize the growing number of one-parent families. Instead, the Irish Independent newspaper said, teachers are instructed to use phrases such as "the adults who live in your house" or "the people who look after you."Reach Out and Touch SomeoneAn alarm system intended to warn authorities in Finland about accidents at Russia's Kola nuclear power plant stopped working because of an unpaid phone bill. Heikki Reponen, a senior advisor at Finland's Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, blamed the breakdown of the system on the Murmansk meteorological institute, which he said had failed to pay its telephone bill of between $1,900 and $3,800.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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