NewsQuirks 556

Strange ConditionsScotland's Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary acknowledged that two men, one British and one German, each had a healthy leg amputated at their request, even though nothing was physically wrong with them. Hospital officials said the men suffer from a psychological condition called body dysmorphic disorder, in which patients focus on a perceived imperfection that they find overwhelming.Italian police said that two men charged with murdering factory worker Tiziano Castellari, 34, were hired for the job by the victim, who was depressed over a failed love affair and paid two friends he had met in a bar to shoot him and make it look like a Mafia killing. Another friend, Adriano Pignedoli, revealed that Castellari had attempted suicide several times before, explaining, "Once he said that he would purposely pick up only those hitchhikers who looked dodgy. He would walk around with a pocketful of money, hoping that he would be shot as a result of someone trying to rob him."The Thrill Is GoneAfter Bryan Loudermilk's body was found in a specially built pit beneath a board that was underneath a rear wheel of his sports utility vehicle, police in Okeechobee, Fla., concluded from interviewing his widow that the victim became sexually excited from being run over. This time, however, a mishap proved fatal.Bottom LineA Canadian judge upheld an immigration decision denying a Romanian woman a work permit to be a striptease dancer in Toronto because she does not possess the necessary skills to dance nude. Loredana Silion, 24, had experience as an exotic dancer in a nightclub in Brasov, but the job involved taking off only her top, not the rest of her garments. Dancing topless was found to be insufficient training for her job in Toronto's Sunset Strip club, where she was expected to perform striptease nude stage shows -- three songs per show -- and nude table dance shows, a maximum of five songs per shift. Federal Court Justice Andrew MacKay ruled that Silion may reapply to enter Canada at any time -- provided that she has another job offer and the requisite experience removing all of her clothes, and not just her top.Shell GamesPolice arrested an Estonian sailor at London's Gatwick Airport who tried to pay for cigarettes at a duty-free shop with a rare tortoise. Officers who detained the man and his drunken companions confiscated 21 tortoises and seven chameleons from their luggage.Customs officers at Miami International Airport caught Rodney Carrington, a pet shop owner from Barbados, trying to smuggle 55 rare red-footed tortoises, each 4 inches long, into the country stuffed between two pairs of pants he was wearing. The officials said they became suspicious after noticing his pants were wriggling and had "ominous bulges in unusual places."Houston, We Have a ProblemEquipment was removed from a space shuttle exhibit at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., after NASA realized it was short of replacement parts for future space missions and decided it needed to stockpile some.Pizza Hut scrapped its plan to use lasers to burn a billboard with its logo onto the surface of the moon after scientists informed the company that the image would have to be the size of Texas to be seen on Earth and that the cost would be hundreds of millions of dollars. Instead, the company paid $2.5 million -- roughly the cost of a 30-second TV commercial during the Super Bowl -- to paint its logo on a Russian Proton rocket, then film the launch to provide film footage for future ad campaigns.Little Things Mean a LotCanadian tourist Edward Skwarek, 38, sued Starbucks Corp. for $1.5 million, claiming that a defectively installed toilet seat at a New York City location crushed his penis. Skwarek's lawyer, Richard Robbins, said his client "was in a seated position on the toilet when he turned to retrieve the toilet paper in back of the seat when the seat shifted, causing his penis to be caught and crushed between the seat and the bowl." The suit claims that as a result of Starbucks' carelessness, Skwarek suffered a "crushed penis, Peyronie's disease (deviation of the erect penis to one side), retrograde ejaculation with consequent substantial reduction in sperm count, infertility, severe bruising to his penis and sexual function impairment."What a BlastSome 100 people were killed in China last year by exploding beer bottles. Officials explained that many Chinese beer bottles are too thin, and when the pressure rises inside the bottle, the bottom can fly off. In addition to the deaths, thousands of people are injured or blinded every year.Captive AudienceJamie Brooks, 18, sued Kiowa County, Oklahoma, for $5 million, insisting it was the county's fault she became pregnant. She claimed that while she was being held in the county jail awaiting trial for murder, an inmate-trusty who had access to the hallways had sex with her through the bars of her cell.Rules Are RulesWhen Kevin Warwick, 45, a professor of cybernetics at Britain's University of Reading, told British Airways workers that he wanted his robot cat to sit next to him on a flight to Moscow to ensure its delicate mechanism was not damaged in transit, he was told it would have to be stowed in the baggage compartment because the airline doesn't permit animals in the cabin. He explained the cat was a machine, not an animal and offered to buy a ticket for an extra seat, but the airline still insisted the robot had to travel in the hold. Warwick and his robot made the flight seated together on the Russian airline Aeroflot.Mia CuppaFor Gov. George W. Bush's second inauguration, the Houston Chronicle mistakenly translated the official theme of "Together We Can" into Spanish, not as "Juntos Podemos" but as "Juntos Pedemos," which means "Together We Fart."Food FightTan Sokha and Kao Ly killed each other in Cambodia while fighting over whether the so-called millennium bug would prove fatal to anyone who didn't eat a certain type of cake. According to the Rasmei Kampuchea newspaper, Tan became enraged when Kao "refused to believe he would die if he failed to eat a custard, rice and lard cake wrapped in a banana leaf."Compiled by Roland Sweet from the nation's press. Send clippings, citing source and date, to P.O. Box 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.

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