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A leading U.S. advertising agency, BBDO Worldwide, and Vneshtorgizdat, a Soviet state-owned publisher, have approached the Soviet secret police with a proposal for a campaign to spruce up its image and "dissociate itself" from its "history of repression and lawlessness." A KGB spokesman told a reporter, "We tend to think that the best advertisement [for our image] is our own work."

Just Can't Stop Myself

The High Court of Hong Kong awarded Lee Wun, 69, more than $100,000 in January after he suffered brain damage from being hit by a truck. He has experienced an uncontrollable urge to turn on faucets, and part of the award was to cover his mounting water bills.

Los Angeles glass salesman Richard Joseph Angona, 39, was arrested in January for felony vandalism after his five-month BB gun spree caused $180,000 in damages. Police say Angona shot out at least 32 store windows but believe the motive was not to sell glass. The deputy prosecutor said he thought Angona just liked to watch glass shatter.

Lawrence Singleton, 63, who was convicted in 1978 for the highly publicized rape and maiming of a 15-year-old girl in California and who had relocated to Tampa, Florida, after his release from prison, was arrested again in November for trying to steal a $4 hat from a Wal-Mart. (He had spent August and September in the slammer for another shoplifting incident.)

Last summer Baton Rouge police sought Thomas J. Hoffman, 35, who they said had mail-ordered $200,000 worth of merchandise--using five post office boxes and 227 aliases--and merely discarded the bills. He allegedly received up to 50 packages per day, and police removed enough goods from his house and two storage rooms to fill an 8,000-square-foot postal service warehouse.

James Clark, 50, was arrested in September in Columbus, Ohio, for breaking into telephones in at least 32 states and stealing about $1 million in dimes and quarters. Clark's secret weapons were a lock pick made of piano wire and a device that measures how full a coin box is (so he wouldn't be wasting his time with small change). Other states were lining up to indict him as well.

Todd Christopher Tassin was arrested in July in LaPlace, Louisiana, and charged with his eighth burglary of the same grocery store in four weeks.

1990 Election Recap

Voters in Washington, D.C., selected as a nonvoting delegate to Congress a woman who admitted to not filing local tax returns for the last seven years. And 33,000 Minnesotans voted, for state treasurer, for a man in jail awaiting trial for first-degree murder (and whose address listed in a voters' guide was the address of the county jail). (Said the Minnesota secretary of state, "It's impossible for the voters to know a lot about all the candidates.")

The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch identified 27 dead people who have voted in various elections since 1981 in East Saint Louis, Illinois. Two men joined the democratic process only upon death, having never cast votes while alive. Willie E. Fox Sr., who has voted six times since his death in 1987, mysteriously switched this year from Republican to Democrat.

South Carolina had to postpone a special election for two months when state senator Rick Lee resigned before the election. State law requires that a "special primary" to replace him be held 11 Tuesdays after the resignation, but the 11th Tuesday was November 6, which was Election Day, and state law forbids a special election on Election Day because it's a legal holiday.

Ballots for the city-council election in Redfield, Arkansas, were printed with no names because the filing deadline completely slipped the minds of each of the six council members and their challengers.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court in December upheld the landslide victory by incumbent Frank Ogden III (91 percent) over Josh Evans. Evans had campaigned as an "able lawyer and a living person," which he thought gave him an advantage over Ogden, who had died three months before the election.

Cliessa Nagle, running for the Pennsylvania Assembly, was attacked by her father in a vitriolic seven-page letter to local newspapers. James Nagle urged rejection of his daughter because of her prochoice stand on abortion. He said he still loves her, but she characterized the relationship as "dysfunctional."

A grand jury in Austin, Texas, indicted Michael Taylor, 25, last May for registering to vote 37 times under the names of 37 different dead people. Taylor denied criminal motives: "I wasn't going to use it for voting. It was just to be doing something. I had some problems in my life." (Indeed, none of the 37 names were used to vote in the March 1990 primary.)

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.

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