Weirdness  - 26Sep97
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 97 23:23:03 -0800
Subject: Weirdness  - 26Sep97
Excerpted-from: WEIRDNUZ.503 (News of the Weird, September 26, 1997)
by Chuck Shepherd
* One of the four annual Pennsylvania rattlesnake-bagging tournaments was
held in June in Curwensville. Teams of two amateurs who have paid an entry
fee race the clock in an 8-foot-by- 8-foot cage to bag five rattlesnakes;
one person holds the bag above knee level while the other puts the snakes
in, always tail first. Entry fees and admissions benefited the local fire
department. Said a spectator, "It's a lot like going to a NASCAR race . .
. like waiting for a crash." Some people do get bit (it's a 3-second
penalty if it draws blood), but, said one contestant, "Why do something
sissy, like play golf?" Said another, "It's [only] $5 to get in [here, but]
$100 for cocaine. This is a whole lot cheaper."
* To publicize an April poetry show at the Hyperdisc coffee house in Los
Angeles, poet-psychiatrist Robert Carroll released one of his recent pieces,
entitled "Am I Really Going to Veg Out in Front of the TV Again Tonight?"
The text of the poem is: "Yes."
* Sculptor Anthony-Noel Kelly, who works in the medium of corpses and
severed body parts, was arrested in London in April on suspicion of illegal
possession of cadavers that he received through an associate in the Royal
College of Surgeons. Kelly is a cousin of the Duke of Norfolk, and some of
the 30 human body parts police seized were found at his family's ancestral
castle in Kent. Kelly formerly worked as a butcher.
* During the summer, the Institute for Contemporary Arts in London featured
a functioning toilet entitled "The Great Flood" by the highly-touted
sculptor Sarah Lucas. The piece sold for about $20,000 last year, and the
buyer loaned it to the ICA under the proviso that it be plumbed to work.
Visitors are allowed to pull the chain but not to use the toilet (although
two visitors during a Berlin show did, in what the ICA curator said was "the
ultimate involvement of the audience").
* In February, after his conviction in Nashville, Tenn., for drug
trafficking, Clemmie Jones, 35, complained to a federal judge that he was
upset by the circumstances of his arrest. Jones had been the object of a
manhunt that sheriff's deputies grew so intense about that they had T-shirts
made with photos of Jones on the front and his wife on the back, and were
wearing them when they collared Jones. Said Jones to the judge, "I felt as
though I was being targeted."
* In July, police in Lexington, Ky., were searching for Delbert Buttrey,
47, who they believe is the man who kidnapped a transient couple from
Indiana, took them to an isolated spot, and forced them to perform oral sex
on him while Buttrey's girlfriend snapped photographs. After that,
according to police, Buttrey took the couple home with him and forced the
man to mow his lawn.
["'Okay,' he said, 'paint my house.'" -psl]
* The February Scientific American reported on how conservation biologist
Joel Berger (University of Nevada at Reno) field-studies moose, which are
notoriously unfriendly to humans. Berger needed to be able to hurl fresh
bear and wolf dung accurately enough to assure that a moose immediately
smelled it, to see if it made the moose fearful or aggressive. To be able
to get that close to a moose, he engaged a designer who worked on the movie
"Star Wars" to make a moose suit, which worked so well that Berger said he
spent much of his time in the suit worrying about being mounted.
* In March, a 36-year-old man choked to death on a 6-inch tropical fish he
had popped into his mouth while showing off for friends in Bayou Vista, La.
And in April, a 12-year-old boy was electrocuted in East Palo Alto, Calif.,
after he climbed a high-voltage transmission tower in the rain, dared his
three companions to join him, and then accidentally touched a wire. And in
July, a 22-year- old man, described by his grandmother as "smart in school,"
died in a bungee-cord accident on a railroad trestle in Fairfax County, Va.
(Said a police spokesman: "The length of the cord that he had assembled
was greater than the distance between the trestle and the ground.")
Copyright 1997 by Universal Press Syndicate.
© 1997 Peter Langston