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In August the Saint Louis Art Museum filed a $2.5 million lawsuit against the Whitney Museum of Modern Art in New York City, among other parties, because a Whitney guard damaged a Roy Lichtenstein painting while it was on loan to the museum. According to the lawsuit, the guard, Reginald Walker, 21 at the time, drew a heart and "Reggie + Crystal 1/26/91" on the painting with a felt-tip marker and wrote, "I love you Tushee, Love, Buns."

The classic middle name: Conan Wayne Hale, 20, a triple-homicide suspect who allegedly confessed to a priest in Portland, Oregon, has been fighting for the last three months to have the confession ruled inadmissible in court on religious grounds. Escaped murderer Michael Wayne Thompson was recaptured in July near Farmersburg, Indiana. And in the same month, Danny Wayne Owens, 38, was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, for allegedly murdering a neighbor. (Others with the middle name Wayne: serial killers John Wayne Gacy of Illinois and Elmer Wayne Henley of Texas; recently executed Arizona murderer Jimmy Wayne Jeffers; Louisiana murderer Robert Wayne Sawyer; the Ohio Aryan Nations member caught last year with freeze-dried bubonic plague bacteria, Larry Wayne Harris; the Oklahoma rapist recently sentenced to 21,000 years in prison, Allan Wayne McLaurin; and, of course, John Wayne Bobbitt.)

Monika and Mark Skinner filed a $35 million lawsuit in July in Newport News, Virginia, in connection with the 1994 death of their 16-year-old son, who was riding in a car that drove off a road and plunged into a lake. Among the defendants: Kmart, which sold a computer cleaning product to the car's driver that he and the Skinners' son used to get high by "huffing"; two engineering consulting firms that designed the lake that the car fell into; and the company that designed the road the car was traveling on because it should have been farther away from the lake.

The Continuing Crisis

The Austin American-Statesman reported that writer-actor Stephen Grant, who starred in a film based on gunman Charles Whitman's 1966 assault from the University of Texas tower (and who bears an uncanny resemblance to Whitman), was shot by a stray bullet on a street near the tower in March on his first visit to Austin.

According to a May report in the New York Times, one of Argentina's most popular radio programs is Loony Radio, produced by and featuring patients at the Borda Psychiatric Hospital in Buenos Aires. The show includes "The Bolivian Minute," in which the patient who presents the segment giggles uncontrollably until the producer reminds him that he's on the air. Another man delivers philosophy lectures, claiming to be "more schizophrenic than anyone" and saying he gets anxious with every incoming patient because he fears losing his title. One of Argentina's best-known talk-radio hosts says the patients are often more insightful than his callers.

In April the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina reported that private security officer David Anderson Jones, 51--who is certified by the state to be capable of such physical tasks as breaking through barriers and crawling in confined spaces--was granted a handicapped parking permit because of a sinus problem.

According to a July Associated Press story, the town council in Broome, Australia, recently required that camels carrying tourists on nighttime rides wear flashing, battery-operated taillights.

Cliches Come to Life

In July all 86 members of a jury pool for a criminal case in Centerville, Tennessee (population 16,000), had to be dismissed because, according to prosecutor Ron Davis, too many members were related to each other.

Jim Baen, publisher of Newt Gingrich's novel 1945, told reporters in August that almost 100,000 copies are stockpiled in a warehouse in Bristol, Pennsylvania, and that if they are not bought soon they'll suffer the usual fate of surplus books--converted into pulp and used for such things as toilet paper.

Police in Davenport, Iowa, arrested a 34-year-old man in April and charged him with indecent exposure. The police were alerted by two women in a car who said they first spotted the man, then drove by again to confirm what they had seen.

In the August issue of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, a University of Georgia researcher found that a group of homophobic men contained twice as many individuals who were sexually aroused by male erotic photos as did an equal group of straight, nonhomo-phobic men.

Least Justifiable Homicides

In July college president John Upton was arrested in Allegan, Michigan, for allegedly murdering his wife because, according to Upton, "she was demanding a great number of things that weren't feasible." In June, Ross Horton admitted at his trial in Honolulu that he killed his business partner in 1993 after the man criticized his ability to lay tile, which Horton takes seriously as "an art form." Also in June, according to police in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, Paul Crawford shot four neighbors and himself to death, ending a feud over a five-foot strip of land that separates their properties.

Update

The virtually semiannual student cheating riots in Bangladesh were first reported in News of the Weird in September 1988: Students were so adamant about the right to receive outside help when taking national placement exams that they sparked a rampage in which more than 500 people were injured. In March in Kanpur, India, all high school final exams had to be taken barefoot to prevent students from carrying notes in their shoes. And in July in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, hundreds of children scaled walls to pass notes to their friends taking high school entrance exams despite the presence of more than 100 police officers who ringed the school in anticipation of the cheating.

Send your weird news to Chuck Shepherd, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Shawn Belshwender.

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