Sometimes strange, sometimes funny and sometimes sad,
but always absolutely true.

"Cruelty is the child of ignorance." ~ Seneca

Just Plain Strange
As Reported In The National Press
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Doc's diagnosis: Nail gun caused headache
12 nails found in the man's skull, he suffered no lasting effects

PORTLAND, Oregon (AP) -- An Oregon man who went to a hospital complaining of a headache was found to have 12 nails embedded in his skull from a suicide attempt with a nail gun, doctors say.

Surgeons removed the nails with needle-nosed pliers and a drill, and the man survived with no serious lasting effects, according to a report on the medical oddity in the current issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery.

The unidentified 33-year-old man was suicidal and high on methamphetamine last year when he fired the nails -- up to 2 inches in length -- into his head one by one.

The nails were not visible when doctors first examined the man in the emergency room of an unidentified Oregon hospital a day later. Doctors were surprised when X-rays revealed six nails clustered between his right eye and ear, two below his right ear and four on the left side of his head.

The study did not say how long the nails were, and a hospital spokeswoman refused to release that information. A photo published in the study suggests the nails range from 1 1/2 to 2 inches long.

No one before is known to have survived after intentionally firing so many foreign objects into the head, according to the report, written by Dr. G. Alexander West, the neurosurgeon who oversaw the treatment of the patient.

The man at first told doctors he had had a nail gun accident, but later admitted it was a suicide attempt.

The nails came close to major blood vessels and the brain stem but did not pierce them. The patient was in remarkably good condition when he was transferred to Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, where the nails were removed.

The patient was later transferred to psychiatric care and stayed under court order for nearly a month before leaving against doctors' orders.

Bizarre end to Dispute Over a Cellphone

Blue Springs, Mo: (AP) A lovers' dispute over a cellphone ended suddenly when the woman tried to swallow the phone, the poice said.

The police said they received a call at 4:52 a.m. from a Blue Springs man who said his girlfriend was having trouble breathing. When they arrived at the house they found the 24-year-old woman had a cellphone, model unknown, lodged in her throat.

"He wanted the phone and she wouldn't give it to him, so she attemped to swallow it," Said detective Sgt. Steve Decker of the Blue Springs Police Department. "She just put the entire phone in her mouth so he couldn't get it."

The police said an ambulance took her to St. Mary's Medical Center in Blue Springs. A hospital spokeswoman said she could not give details about the woman's health because her identity had not been released.

He's Lying

Police in Radnor, Pennsylvania, interrogated a suspect by placing a metal colander on his head and connecting it with wires to a photocopy machine. The message "He's lying" was placed in the copier, and police pressed the copy button each time they thought the suspect wasn't telling the truth.
Believing the "lie detector" was working, the suspect confessed.

Cockroach Slain, Husband Badly Hurt

TEL AVIV -- (Reuters) An Israeli woman's fight with a stubborn cockroach put her husband in the hospital with burns, a broken pelvis and broken ribs, the Jerusalem Post newspaper reported yesterday.

The woman, frightened by the insect when she found it in their living room, stepped on it, threw it in a toilet and sprayed a full can of insecticide on it when it refused to die.

Her husband came home from work, went to the toilet and lit a cigarette. When he threw the cigarette butt into the bowl, the insecticide fumes ignited, "seriously burning his sensitive parts," the Post wrote.

When paramedics were called to the home in Tel Aviv, they laughed so hard when they learned what had happened that they dropped the stretcher down the stairs, breaking the unidentified man's pelvis and ribs.

Artificial Leg Taken By Creditor

CLAY, NY -- (AP) Police say a teenager took revenge against a man who had refused to settle a $100 debt by stealing his artificial leg. The man was charged with third-degree grand larceny and released on $100 bail. Despite the arrest, the leg's owner must wait to get his leg back. The limb is being held "in-limbo" as evidence sat the Clay police station.

Buffalo Professor Charged In "Game"

BUFFALO, NY -- (AP) A professor of Creative Studies has been charged with blindfolding, handcuffing and choking a male student during a bizarre role-playing game in a motel room. Scott Isakesen, 44, director of the Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State, faces up to four years in prison if convicted of unlawful imprisonment and coercion. According to the Assistant Police Chief, Isakesen accused the student of cutting class, and offered his the choice of writing a 20-page paper or playing a game which he called an experiment in stress.

Man Said To Ram Neighbor With Car.

NEW YORK -- (AP) A man used his red Volkswagen to kill a neighbor on the building's condominium board who had tried to stop him from constantly washing his car, police said. Konstantine Berdenis, 28, was arrested Thursday and charged with murder and the possession of a weapon -- his 1991 VW Golf.

Shop's "Nun Bun" Finds A Place In Cyberspace.

NASHVILLE, TN -- (Reuters) The image of Mother Teresa discovered in the folds of a coffee shop's cinnamon bun has launched a cottage industry, and now Internet believers can view the bun on its own web site.

The preserved cinnamon bun, whcih bears a likeness to the 86-year-old Mother Teresa, is on display inside a glass case illuminated by Christmas lights in front of a purple velvet background.

Net surfers can link up to the site at the address:

Money Falls From Above.

MIAMI, FL -- (AP) A Brinks armored truck flipped on an INterstate 95 overpass, showering thousands of dollars in bills and coins onto a poor neighborhood.

Dozens of people stuffed bags, boxes, pockets and anything else handy, making off with a reported $400,000 before the police arrived and Brinks workers shoveled up what was left.

Hours later, residents were back, sifting dirt with their hands to recover whatever they could.

"God sent us a truck," said James Toni, a bystander.

A Chocolate Mess In Frigid Belgium.

BRUSSELS -- (Reuters) A Belgian truck driver trapped by some of the coldest weather to hit Belgium in years tried unfreezing his fuel tank with a blowtorch and finished up with a chocolate fondue. Police said yesterday the diesel fuel caught fire, melting the tons of chocolate the truck was carrying.

Woman Gets 2 1/2 Yrs For Sex With Boy, 13

CAMBRIDGE, MA -- (Boston Globe) A 37-year-old Maynard woman was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for raping a 13-year-old boy.

Superior Court Judge Paul Chernoff sentenced Kathleen Kennedy, saing that the woman's gender did not merit leniency any more than it mandated a tougher sentence "to enforce the politically correct view that gender is irrelevent in society."

Kennedy sobbed in court and covered her face at times during the sentencing, which was delayed two hours until she could regain composure. Her lawyer said she had been treated at a Cambridge hospital the past few nights because she was contemplating suicide.

The lawyer said that Kennedy's own past as a spousal abuse victim, no prior record and three children under age 8 at home cried out for probation. He noted that there was no allegation that she coericed the boy to engage in various acts of sexual misconduct.

In June, two neighbors reported to police that when they went to check with Kennedy about a ride, they peered through a door and saw her performing oral sex on the boy in the living room.

The boy's mother had entrusted him to the care of Kennedy, whom she says she had known for 25 years, for two weeks so he could complete exams before moving with her to Lynn.

Let's Speak English.

(NYT) -- Is clarity of speech too much to ask from TV sports analysts? No. So let's appeal for some from ABC's Dick Vermeil. He is obviously passionate and well-prepared. But his jargon-laden commentary is so prolix that it might have addled the physicist Stephen Hawking. During the Texas-Nebraska Big 12 conference championship, he described one play like this:

"See, that's the same movement he used to get that vicious outside-in crack block. This time they faked the crack block, crossed him underneath the formation, underneath the secondary, which is throw a play-action pass. Good design. Good changeup." I think he meant: he caught the ball.

Two Slain in Texas Celebrations

HOUSTON -- (Reuters) A man accidentally shot and killed his 7-year-old daughter when he fired a gun to celebrate the New Year, police said. Additionally, a 39-year-old man was killed at a party when a number of people went outside to shoot their guns off at midnight, said the County Sheriff's Office. The shootings occurred despite a police effort to discourage people from greeting the new year with gunfire. The girl died when her father, Randy Farmer, fired a bullet into their home as he stood in the front year and tried to unjam his .38-caliber pistol. In the other shooting, Edward Titus died when he was shot by a friend, Hugh Watson. Watson's handgun went off accidentally as he reloaded after firing off several rounds.

Man Is Sentenced For Drugging Wife.

BRISTOL, CT -- (AP) A man has been sentenced to five years in prison for forcing his wife to take drugs that the authorities said nearly turned her into a "zombie."

The man, Gary Simons, 39, was convicted of illegally dipensing prescription drugs and of first-degree unlawful restraint.

Prosecutors contended that Mr. Simons systematically forced his wife to take his prescription tranquilizers and blood pressue medication last June so she would stay married to him.

"Mr. Simons tried to turn his wife into, for lack of a better word, a zombie," as assistant State's Attorney, Brian Preleski, said during sentencing on Tuesday. "He tried to snuff out any will she might have."

The prosecutor said that Mr. Simons had been arrested 10 times on domestic violence charges and drugged his wife while on probation for a previous incident of violence against her.

The couple have divorced.

Driver Thought Pedestrian He Hit Was A Dummy.

BRAINTREE, MA -- (AP) An elderly driver, who hit a pedestrian then kept going even though the injured man was on his car roof, told police he thought he had struck a dummy.

Earl Hoerner, 74, was cited for driving to endanger and failing to slow down for a pedestrian after the accident Friday morning. The man he struck, Wayne Davidson of Weymouth, was hospitalized with a broken leg.

"I was crossing the street, and that was the last thing I remember," Davidson said.

Davidson was walking across Grove Street, where Hoerner's car slammed into him, sending him five feet in the air and onto car's roof, police said.

Hoerner drove a few feet, got out of the car, looked at Davidson, got back into his car and drove on, witnesses said. He finally pulled over after another motorist motioned him to stop.

When police and an ambulance arrived, Hoerner told them he thought he had hit a dummy, police said.

Chewing Doll Nearly Consumes Girl's Hair.

GRIFFITH, IN -- (AP) A battery-operated Cabbage Patch Doll that can chew had to be taken apart piece by piece when it munched a 7-year-old girl's hair up her scalp and would not let go.

The girl, Sarah Stevens, was in a hair salon with her aunt when the doll began chewing her blond hair. It took her aunt and teh owner of the hair salon 30 minutes on Thursday to remove 20 screws, open the battery compartment and pull apart the mouth to free Sarah's hair.

Sarah was shaken but not hurt. "I have a little headache," she said.

The Cabbage Patch Snack Time Kids Doll is designed to chew automatically when plastic french fries or other items are placed in its mouth. It has no on-off switch.

Sarah's aunt, Kelly Nagy, who had brought her neice to the hair salon, had gone to check on the girl in the waiting room and found her leaning owver a chiar crying. The hair salon owner was eventualy able to take the doll apart.

Glenn Bozarth, a spokesman for the doll's maker, Mattel, Inc. said the toy was safe and the he knew of no other safety complaints about it.

Mr. Bozarth said it is hard to imagine such a thing happening unless the child stuck her hair into the doll's mouth.

Burp! Glutton Sets Hot Dog-Eating Record

NEW YORK -- (AP) Japan's top glutton squared off against the world hot dog-eating champion recently and the results were not pretty -- for competitors, or spectators.

Hirofumi Nakajima, a 144-pound furniture delivery man, dethroned 320-pound Ed "The Animal" Krachie by downing a world record 23 1/4 hot dogs in 22 minutes. "This kid is a phenomenal eater," said George Shea, a promoter for Nathan's Famous, the restaurant that sponsored the contest. "He astounded the competitive eating world with his new style -- out slow, home fast."

Alternating bites with sips of water, Nakajima, 22, pulled each frank from its bun, then crammed bread and beef separately -- but neatly -- into his mouth. Clearly determined, he braved chants of "USA! USA!," downing dog number 23 without even breaking a sweat.

The defeated champion, Krachie, ate 21 hot dogs, one off the record he set in the summer at Nathan's annual Coney Island eat-off, and then vomited repeatedly.

Football Fanatic Kills Noisy Child During Cowboys Vs. Patriots Game

DALLAS -- (Reuters) A Texas man beat his 3-year-old son to death for making too much noise during the broadcast of Sunday's Dallas Cowboys -- New England Patriots football game, police said. James Thornton 3rd, was punched in the stomach and suffered a ruptured liver and kidney. He died in surgery in a Dallas hospital Monday. Police said that James Thornton 2nd, had been charged with injury to a child, but that the charge might be upgraded to capital murder.

Nuzzling Dog Offends Woman, Acquitted

WATERBURY, CONN. -- (AP) A federal judge has rulled that a Danbury woman was "barking up the wrong tree" when she tried to sue a judge who she claimed did nothing to stop his dog from nuzzling under her skirt repeatedly in court. The Judge, Howard Moraghan, habitually brought his dog, a Golden Retriever named Kodiak, to court with him. Barbara Monsky, a political activist, in court over a land dispute, stated that the dog had a penchant for nuzzling its nose under women's skirts, and that the judge did nothing to stop or discourage the dog. The lawyer for the Judge stated that the dog's behavior was analogous to wagging its tail. The presiding judge, in his decision, found Moraghan's failure to restrain his dog may have caused distress among women in his court, but that the court "has no jurisdiction over this case."

Ms. Monsky stated at the conclusion of the case that the decision and the lighthearted tone of the presiding judge was as "just as insulting as having a dog sniff under your skirt."

Escape's Easy, Being Green

HUNSTVILLE, TEXAS -- (AP) A 39-year-old inmate walked out of a prison here on Friday by coloring his prison whites green with a Magic Marker, the authorities said.

Officials of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said the inmate, Steven Russell, apparently used a green marker to make his uniform look like hospital scrubs. Posing as an employee, Mr. Russell walked away from the Estelle unit of the state prison system. He had been serving a 45-year term for aggravated theft, theft and escape. Mr. Russell had also escaped from the Harris County Jail last July, officials stated, after he called the district clerk's office and posed as a judge. He simply told the clerk to lower his bond and, again, he walked away.

Cleaner Polishes Off Patients

FREE STATE, SOUTH AFRICA -- (Cape Times) For several months, our nurses have been baffled to find a dead patient in the same bed every Friday morning" a spokeswoman for the Pelonomi Hospital (Free State, South Africa) told reporters. "There was no apparent cause for any of the deaths, and extensive checks on the air conditioning system, and a search for possible bacterial infection, failed to reveal any clues.

However, further inquiries have now revealed the cause of these deaths. It seems that every Friday morning a cleaner would enter the ward, remove the plug that powered the patient's life support system, plug her floor polisher into the vacant socket, then go about her business. When she had finished her chores, she would plug the life support machine back in and leave, unaware that the patient was now dead. She could not, after all, hear the screams and eventual death rattle over the whirring of her polisher.

"We are sorry, and have sent a strong letter to the cleaner in question," hospital authorities stated. Further, the Free State Health and Welfare Department is arranging for an electrician to fit an extra socket, so there' d be no repetition of this incident. The enquiry is now closed.

Navigate the internet with one hand!

TOKOYO, JAPAN -- (EE Times) Matsushita Electric is promoting a new Japanese PC targeted at the Internet. Panasonic has developed a complete Japanese Web browser, and to make the system "user-friendly", licensed the cartoon character "Woody Woodpecker" as the "Internet guide." Panasonic eventually planned on a world version of the product.

A huge marketing campaign was to have introduced the product in Japan last week. The day before the ads were to be released, Panasonic suddenly pulled back and delayed the product launch indefinitely.

The reason: the ads featured the slogan "Touch Woody - The Internet Pecker." An American staff member at the internal product launch explained to the stunned and embarrassed Japanese what "touch woody" and "pecker" meant in American slang.

Player's Father Admits To Sharpening Helmet Buckle

ALBUQUERQUE, NM -- (AP) The father of a high school football palyer admitted he sharpened a buckle on his son's helmet before a game in which several opponents were cut, one badly enough to need 12 stitches.

The father said he did it because referees had failed to penalize players for roughing up his son in an earlier game.

Officials stopped the game between St. Pius and Albuquerque Academy after five Academy players were cut.

They then found that a buckle on the helmet worm by St. Pius junion Mike Cito had an edge sharp enough to shred a magazine cover. Some Academy players said they believed other St. Pius athletes knew about the buckle before the game was stopped.

The father indicated regret over the incident, but that the previous week he felt his son was being tackled and getting pushed around unfairly and the referees said they didn't see anything. This was his dad's solution.

Mike Cito was expelled Monday, and already had been dismissed from the team. The elder Cito declined to comment to the newspaper and did not return calls from AP.

Officials stated that Mike Cito's parents appealed the expulsion, but the father's confession wasn;t enough to warrant keeping the teenager in school.

"The son is 17 years old," school officials said, "we're talking about an age of being able to reason. We still have to look at what the intent of this was."

Academy senior Joe Paquette, who needed 12 stitches to close a gash on his forearm, said he believed several St. Pius players made indrect references to the buckle before the game was stopped.

"It seems like they knew what was going on," Paquette said.

Officials stated that there was no evidence that coaches, athletic staff, or other players knew about the buckle in advance.

Four Are Hospitalized After Drinking Brew For Bodybuilding.

PLAINVIEW, L.I., NY -- (The New York Times) Usng a recipe from an underground pamphlet on steroids for bodybuilders, four young Long Island men cooked up a caustic potion and drank it, hoping for a chemical high and bigger muscles.

They ended up in the hosital with severe burns.

"They were mixing sodium hydroxide, the base used in Drano, with a mild organic acid used to make paint thinner," said Joseph Haas, an engineer with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. "But it didn't come out the way they expected."

Mr. Haas was among a tream of experts who removed the chemicals, none of them illegal, from the bedroom of one of the four men who drank the brew late Tuesday night. The four were taken to the hospital with two of them in critical condition.

What they hoped to produce was a substance called gamma hydroxybutyrate, but the pH level was too high, making it too caustic, Mr. Haas said.

Among some bodybuilders, the substance, also known as GHB, is used as a powerful anesthetic. "It is taken with the notion that it burns fat and causes the release of growth hormones in the body," said Dr. Charles Yesalis, a professor at Pennsylvania State University and a specialist in performance-enhancing drugs.

When the four men were heating and mixing the brew in the bedroom of James Raman, 20, at his home on Jerusalem Avenue in Massapequa Park, his parents, who were downstairs, thought his was distilling water for his fish tank, according to the Nassau County police.

James Raman remained in very critical condition today with burns on the throat and lungs.

Others of the four suffered severe burns, in addition to internal injuries from drinking the brew, on their faces and arms when they were overcome by the fumes.

Are You Part Of This Growing Population?

Washington, D.C, -- (AP) The government considers a body mass index over 25 to be too fat. Here's how to figure yours:

First, multiply your weight in pounds by .45 to get kilograms. Next, convert your height to inches. Multiply this number by .0254 to get meters. Multiply that number by itself. Then divide this into your weight in kilograms.

Your answer wil probably be a number in the 20s or low 30s. It is your BMI.

British Tourist Falls To Death

NICOSIA, CYPRUS -- (AP) A British tourist trying to show off his aim by throwing a melon from a second-floor blacony into a municipal trash container lost his balance and fell to his death. Police said Stephen John Pepperell, 39, fell to his death Monday from the balcony of an apartment.

Bricklayer Injured Moving Bricks

The following letter was mailed to the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company.
Dear Sirs:

I am writing in response to your request for additional information in Block 3 of the Accident Report Form. I put "poor planning" as the cause of my accident. You said in your letter that I should explain more fully, and I trust that the following details will be sufficient.

I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of my new six-story building; when I completed my work, I discovered I had about 500 pounds of bricks left over. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley which fortunately, was attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor.

Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 500 pounds of bricks. You will note in Block 11 of the Accident Report Form, that my weight is 175 pounds.

Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rather rapid rate up the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel which was now proceeding in a downward direction at an equally impressive rate of speed. This explains the fractured skull, minor abrasions, and the broken collarbone, as listed in Section III of the Accident Report Form.

Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley which I mentioned in Paragraph 2 of this correspondence.

Fortunately, by this time, I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope, in spite of the excruciating pain I was now beginning to experience. At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel now weighed approximately 50 pounds.

I refer again to my weight in Block 11. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, broken tooth, and the severe lacerations on my legs and lower body.

Here my luck began to change slightly. The encounter with the barrel seemed to slow me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks and, fortunately, only three vertebrae were cracked.

I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the pile of bricks in pain, unable to move and watching the empty barrel six stories above me, I again lost my composure and presence of mind and let go of the rope!

Sincerely yours,

Name withheld

Baby Found In College Dorm Waste Basket

POULTNEY, VT -- (AP) A newborn infant boy was hospitalized in stable condition after he was found in a waste basket at Green Mountain College in Poultney,

Vermont State Police in Rutland said that the boy was found at about 10 A.M. in a dormitory on campus.

The infant, who weighed 4 1/2 pounds, was in good health, doctors said.

Thirsty Elephants Hit India Brewery

CALCUTTA -- (Reuters) A herd of elephants in search of a drink destroyed several illegal breweries southwest of Calcutta, Indian forest officials said. The 45-strong herd charged out of the hills in search of water but dropped into the illegal breweries instead creating havoc, but finding what they were looking for.

South Africa Thieves Take Suicide's Car, Toss Body, Notes Aside

JOHANNESBURG -- (Reuters) Thieves stole the car of a dead woman after she had apparently gased herself in the vehicle, South African police said. The body was found in dense bush north of Johannesburg along with two suicide notes and a length of hose pipe which she had used to feed exhaust gases into the car. Police suspect thieves came across the dead woman in the car, took her out, removed the piping and suicide notes and then drove off.

Man "Marries" Comatose Woman, Says Dog Told Him To Do It

Robert Meier...

TAMPA, FLA -- (Newsweek) Robert Meier was charged with grand theft, forgery, and fraud after police say he forged a marriage license to marry comatose Constance Sewell hours before she died, then ran up $20,000 on her credit cards. Police said Meier claims her dog told him to do it. "He said Ms. Sewell's dog told him she would want him to go on living, have a better life and it would be OK to use her credit cards," said Detective Ed Hancock. He said Sewel, 49, had suffered an aneurysm Jan. 8 and "was deeply comatose, not capable of consenting to marriage."
Man Dies Trying To Reach Lost Keyes

DETROIT (AP) -- A man who squeezed through an 18-inch-wide sewer grate to try to retrieve his car keyes became pinned headfirst in a hole and drowned in two feet of water. Ray Langston, 41, was pronounced dead at Grace Hospital about an hour after became stuck early Saturday, police said. Langston used a coat hanger to pry open the 130-pound sewer grate, his brother said.

Naked Man Arrested In Beverly

BEVERLY, MA -- Going for an early morning jog is a common sight on the North Shore nowadays but a Beverly patrolman was caught off guard by what he saw on Broadway this weekend.

A 27-year-old Beverly man running naked down the roadway.

Patrolman Richard Moody was patrolling the downtown street at 5 A.M. Sunday when in the distance he saw a man running up the roadway, said police Sgt. William Terry. As the officer approached the runner, he noticed he was completely nude, Terry said.

Moody arrested Daniel P. Lane on a charge of indecent exposure. Lane is shceduled to be arraigned.

Terry said Lane, when asked why he was running naked, reportedly replied, "I was running for the fun of it."

ATM Spits Out Free $100 Bills

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- Remember the Monopoly game card that read, "Bank error in your favor, collect $200"? It really happened here in the city that inspired the board game.

An automated teller machine in a casino began spitting out $100 bills instead of $20s. But authorities warned that those who kept the money might be needing a "Get out of jail free" card if they don't come forward with the ill-gotten cash. All ATMs record transactions on video tape.

Virginia Cop Arrests Veiled Muslim Women

PORTSMOUTH, VA -- Two Muslim women were arrested for wearing veils in public by a police officer who misinterpreted a law meant to target the KuKluxKlan.

The women also said they were fondled during a search for weapons, but authorities disputed the claim. Portsmouth police were investigating the arrests, spokeswoman Amber Whittaker said Tuesday. The women were detained Sunday by an officer who thought they were violating a state law against wearing masks in public, she said.

Girl With Headphones Never Heard It Coming

NEW YORK -- A 15-year-old ggirl whose headphones apparently drowned out traffic was struck and killed by a construction backhoe. Jennfier Brenes, an honors student, was hit by the large, slow-moving vehicle while crossing a street on her way to school Tuesday in Queens.

China Suicide Tied To 2nd Girl's Birth

BEJING (Reuters) -- A farmer in eastern China who attempted suicide after his wife gave birth to a daughter succeeded in taking his own life after the couple had another girl, a newspaper reported. The man, "heavily influenced by the fuedal concept of regarding men as superior to women ... felt ashamed to face his parents and that life was not worth living," said the Nanjing Daily newspaper, seen in Bejing yesterday.

Man Crushed By Safe He Was Trying To Steal

HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (AP) -- A man was crushed to death by a 600-pound safe he apparently was trying to steal.

Solomon Garcia, 22, was trying to move the iron safe down some stairs at a real estate and insurance company office in suburban Huntington when it slipped, crushing him to death, Suffolk County police Lt. John Gierasch said.

A maintenance man found the body before the office opened for business Thursday morning. It was under the safe at the base of the first-floor staircase.

The safe contained only insurance forms, police said.

Guy With Big Beans And No Brain

John Maich, a New Zealand farmer, with a harvest of giant New Guinea beans that he grew in Helensville, which is north of Auckland. The largest of the bean pods is nearly seven feet long, but at that size, which flouts prudence and the laws of cuisine, the beans are considered inedible.
(The New York Sunday Times)

Parents douse daughter's head with gasoline.

MERRIMAC (AP) -- The state Department of Social Service is investigating a that poured gasoline in their 11-year old daughter's hair to kill lice just inches from the pilot light on a gas stove.

The gasoline ignited, burning Cheryl MacBridey on 30 percent of her body.

"It's just hard for us to believe," Merrimac Fire Chief Brian Peavey said. "They obviously gave no thought to the stove."

MacBridey was in fair condition Monday at Shriner's Burn Institute in Boston.

The fire started in the kitchen of the family's home while Kevin and Laurie Dudley were washing thier daughter's lice-infested scalp with gasoline over the sink, officials said. The gasoline ignited when fumes came in contact with the pilot light, which Peavey said was 4 inches away.
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