NewsQuirks 575

Curses, Foiled Again

Women bathers at a nudist beach in Varberg, Sweden, were able to identify a Peeping Tom who spied on them after his wife published the man's name and photograph in the local paper to mark his 50th birthday.

An Australian police squad formed to protect this year's Olympic Games in Sydney arrested a man for possession of a large cache of explosives. Investigators also found neo-Nazi and other racist literature in his home. The man attracted suspicion because he used the alias Martin Bormann, the name of one of Adolf Hitler's closest lieutenants.

Point of View

The British Library agreed to remove a sculpture from its employee cafeteria after 60 women librarians and curators objected, according to the journal American Libraries. The work by Indian-born sculptor Dhruva Mistry depicts the annunciation in which the founder of Buddhism was created.

A library spokesperson told the London Guardian that the women objected "because they had to sit and eat with this rather revealing sculpture of Buddha's mother, with her large breasts, above them." The London Telegraph quoted another library worker as saying, "You have to look at this thing every day of the week or forgo your lunch. The breasts are huge, in your face, distorted, disturbing and slightly tacky." A senior male employee indicated no complaints came from men. "If there were any," he said, "I think they'd only say it's too high up on the wall to touch."

Second-Amendment Follies

Clarence Day, 68, the chief bodyguard of Housing Secretary Andrew M. Cuomo left his loaded .38-caliber revolver in the cafeteria of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Several HUD employees told the Washington Times that Day forgot his gun, which he carries in a small handbag, at least two other times in the previous year. In the most recent incident, the agency employees said, Day tried to retaliate against security officials who reported his absent-mindedness.

Nine Las Vegas-area residents filed a lawsuit this spring against the Rancho Santa Fe movie theater, claiming they were injured during a fake gunfight promoting the opening of last summer's movie "Wild, Wild West." Police who responded to multiple calls reporting shots had been fired said theater managers hired men to dress as cowboys and stage a mock gunfight outside. The first people to leave the theater saw the actors, but those inside only heard the shots. "Multiple victims began to run through the theaters through other movies and out the back door, causing a panic where people were knocked down and people were becoming hysterical," according to the police report.

Hot Links

German Minister for Women and Families Christine Bergmann hastily altered her Web site after a newspaper revealed it offered links to pornography and male prostitutes. The link had been to sites of interest to women, including churches and recipes, but it also included erotic art and gigolo services, prompting the Bild newspaper to declare: "Families Minister Offers Callboys!"

Tax Dollars at Work

The Internal Revenue Service mistakenly sent refunds to a Baltimore address used by a tax preparer for years after he moved from a first-floor apartment, according to investigators, who said remaining residents of the four-apartment row house cashed more than $500,000 of the checks. The Sun newspaper reported that among those who cashed the checks were a convicted drug dealer, who used the money to pay for his court-ordered home monitoring bracelet, and a hair salon owner, who is accused of funneling more than $100,000 into an account for his shop.

Marathon Event

More than 100,000 condoms have been ordered for competitors at this year's Sydney Olympics, double the number originally expected to suffice. The spokesperson for the official Olympic supplier, Ansell, said the manufacturer boosted the order after checking the figures on previous Olympics. The condoms, available in a range of colors, including gold, silver and bronze, will be dispensed from large bins around the athletes' village at Homebush Bay during the Games, which run from Sept. 15 to Oct. 1. Organizers had originally planned to include free condoms in each of the athletes' "welcome to Sydney" packs but later changed their minds.

Purge the Urge

To keep the sexes from mingling in Malaysia's Kelantan state, the governing Islamic party began requiring supermarkets to have separate checkout counters for men and women. Also, movie theaters were ordered to keep lights on during screenings to prevent couples from kissing.

Quebec prisons ended a $38,000 health-warning campaign using educational cards to warn inmates of the dangers of unprotected sex and sharing drugs because Public Security and Health Department officials judged the cards too explicit. The cards depict cartoon-style characters engaged in sexual activities, doing drugs or tattooing their bodies. One card shows two naked women and a vibrator with the caption: "We can do lots of things without risk ... except sharing the vibrator."

Degrees of Depravity

Congress banned the production and sale of "crush videos," which show the torture and killing of small animals for sexual gratification, after their widespread distribution via the Internet came to light in California. American-made animal snuff films typically show scantily dressed or nude women wearing high heels stomping rats, mice, rabbits, hamsters, turtles, snakes or insects, or burning them with cigarettes. Jeff Vilencia, who said negative publicity forced his Squish Production to stop selling insect-crushing videos through adult magazines, told USA Today nobody should profit from the killing of "hamsters or any domestic pet" but noted "mice and rats might be a gray area," adding, "We have a love-hate relationship with mice and rats."

Thieves in northern Siberia have begun throwing cats in the air to steal clothes. Agence France-Presse reported that thieves in Kikinda throw a cat at laundered clothes hanging on a window or balcony. The cat instinctively grabs at the clothing with its claws, dragging it down. Only clothing hanging on first-floor balconies has been stolen, according to the report, which noted even "cat throwing" has its limits.

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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