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Latest Jesus sightings: Hundreds of people flocked to the town of Bras d'Or, Nova Scotia, in September after residents spotted a likeness of Jesus Christ on an outside wall of a doughnut shop. The clearest image is said to be under the floodlights of a nearby chicken restaurant called the Lick-a-Chick. And in Rio de Janeiro designer Patrizia D'Angello and boutique owner David Azulay announced plans to introduce men's swim trunks with a picture of Jesus on

the seat.

Clinton-Gingrich position rejected: In August a Virginia circuit court, ruling in the divorce case of Glaze v. Glaze, said that sexual intercourse is not a legal requirement for having sexual relations. The court did rule, however, that sexual intercourse is necessary to prove adultery. But since Mrs. Glaze was alleged only to have had sexual relations with a woman, Mr. Glaze had to sue on other grounds.

In September customs officials at Port Hueneme, California, went into a tizzy when a nearly fully operational Scud missile was off-loaded from a British vessel, destined for a local address. Said an agent, "All you needed to do was strap on a garbage can full of C-4 [an explosive], and you had a weapon." After an investigation, officials said the buyer was just a collector and that the British seller had merely failed to disable the missile as required by U.S. law.

Obsessions

In July the Los Angeles Times reported on Dan Taylor, a 58-year-old retired entrepreneur in Hardeeville, South Carolina, who is close to finishing a $1 million, 40-foot-long submarine he plans to take to Scotland next June to hunt the Loch Ness monster. Taylor says he first encountered the creature 30 years ago, but the submarine he was in couldn't keep up with it. According to his wife, "Nessie" is almost all Taylor has thought about for the last three years.

A July article in Los Angeles's Westside News focused on paralegal Michael Levin, 57, of Santa Monica and his 30-year fixation with clipping and cataloging thousands of newspaper articles, which now fill three five-foot-high file cabinets. "What strikes me," he said, "is the zany, the quirky, or a magnum opus of a piece in the newspaper, such as a solid overview of Albania."

John Livingston of Cleburne, Texas, and Gayle Brennan and Mike Drysdale of Duarte, California, have transformed their homes into shrines to their personal icons: Livingston's to baseball pitcher Nolan Ryan and Brennan and Drysdale's to Garfield, the cartoon cat. Livingston's most prized possession is a 1991 chest X ray of Ryan. Brennan and Drysdale have 3,000 Garfield items, including 20 pairs of bedroom slippers, and plan to move to a bigger house so they can display everything.

A September New York Times story described some of the hundreds of people who are so taken with the Broadway show Jekyll and Hyde that they have seen it dozens of times and refer to themselves as "Jekkies." Said one Jekkie, "Instead of going to a therapist, we talk to each other about it, since others truly don't understand."

First Things First

According to a July New York Times report on wilderness adventurers needing assistance, a man refused an airlift from an Alaska Air National Guard rescue team because there were too many members of the federal government present. He relented later that day when the team returned with two state troopers. And on a recent state visit to Australia, China's premier-in-waiting, Zhu Rongji, held up a procession by lingering in the rest room. When apprehensive guards broke in, they found that Zhu, an engineer, had disassembled the water-conserving dual-flush toilet and was studying it. Said Zhu, "We must introduce this to China."

Recent Fools for Love

In June, two days after his wife slammed a hatchet into the back of his neck, Thomas Deas, 53, of Morton, Illinois, told reporters, "I still love her. I'd have her back in a minute." And in Saint Louis in April, Andrea Caldwell Murray begged a judge not to jail Bobby Murray for shooting her in the head last year, sending her into a coma and causing her to miscarry. Said Andrea, "I don't want to lose my Bobby." She had married Bobby between the shooting and the sentencing and is pregnant again.

Who You Know Isn't Everything

Daniel Sneed, 22, spent a week in Los Angeles County jails in June when prosecutors in La Mirada erroneously charged him with having failed to pay a $100 loitering fine from 1996. After several days Sneed's bank produced the canceled checks, but he was not released until the next day, even though Sneed's father is a police lieutenant in Compton, not too far away.

Still More Rages

Tweety rage: In Pleasanton, California, in July, one of two men brawling over the last stuffed toy bird prize at the Alameda County Fair pulled out a handgun and started firing, wounding eight people. Shrinking genitals rage: At a retirement ceremony for an army general in Canberra, Australia, in July, former soldier Darryl Hanel, 36, ran screaming at the general and tackled him before guards pulled him off. Hanel claims the general was responsible for giving him a sex-inhibiting drug years ago that caused his penis to shrink.

Recurring Themes

When pigs fly: In Corbeil, Canada, Lucette St. Louis, 66, suffered a broken leg and other injuries in August when a 180-pound pig owned by her son came flying through the air and hit her. It had been knocked airborne by a passing car.

Least Competent Criminal

Christopher Grant, 21, was arrested in Danville, Illinois, in September and charged with a series of burglaries. Officers stopped Grant's car because it resembled one used in a recent burglary and noticed that the interior was littered with gum balls. A gum ball machine had been stolen earlier that day.

The Ever-Dangerous Pulpit

In September, according to police in Trotwood, Ohio, Reverend Andrew Lofton was explaining the Book of Revelation to Bible students when he was shot to death by a parishioner who had frequently quarreled with Lofton over biblical interpretations. And nine days later in Jacksonville, Florida, Reverend Melvyn Nurse, 35, accidentally killed himself by firing a defective round of blanks at his head while demonstrating to parishioners that committing certain sins was the equivalent of playing Russian roulette.

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): illustration by Shawn Belshwender.

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