Weird news

The tractor tango

Eight farmers in the town of Nemaha, Iowa (population 112), have taught themselves to perform various square-dancing routines (do-si-do's, promenades, etc.) while seated on, precisely maneuvering, their tractors, according to a June San Francisco Chronicle dispatch from the state. However, an apparent problem for the farmers is that all are males, while square-dancing is a couples activity. Thus, four of the dancers operate their tractors while in calico skirts, under the apparent belief that cross-dressing is more acceptable than having an overtly same-sex dance partner.

Cyber sleaze

In June, the New Meat Theater in San Francisco's Tenderloin district opened a cybercafe (first-come, first-served computers with high-speed Internet connections, plus scanners, printers and digital cameras) in an upstairs room, the first such facility specifically designed for surfing pornography, sort of "a kinky version of Kinko's," according to owner Terrance Alan. In fact, said Alan, the theater's nude male dancers might roam the computer room, "enhancing the Internet" with a "fourth dimension: the ability to touch."

Freaky happenings

In Clacton, England, in March, a freak gust of wind propelled Chris Grimes, 17, holding his oversized kite, for a half-mile at a height of 25 feet, until he touched down in a mud bog.

And in Fairhaven, Mass., in May, a 65-year-old woman was hit by lightning and lifted from the ground into the back of a pickup truck, reaching a height of 12 feet, according to witnesses; she was taken to St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford but not seriously injured.

In his own words

Zamora the Torture King (mentioned in News of the Weird in 1999 for his outrageous Jim Rose Circus act of swallowing a length of twine and then removing it on stage via self-surgery on his stomach), to a New York Post reviewer in May on what his parents think about his act: "I told (Mom) a while ago that I was a fire-eater, and it got her upset, so I haven't told her much more. My dad's just happy I'm successful doing something."

Trying to trump Trump

Mark Merrill, 38, filed a lawsuit in February in Gary, Ind., against Donald Trump, alleging that the reason Merrill turned to bank robbery (in Peotone, Ill., in 1998 and Mokena, Ill., in 1999) was excessive debt, in that the floating Trump Casino in Gary fed his gambling addiction by enticing him to wager, even offering him free trips to Las Vegas.

Least justifiable homicides

A 37-year-old man was charged with beating another to death in a dispute over whom a "Planet of the Apes" video belonged to (Roanoke Rapids, N.C., June).

A 41-year-old man was charged with smashing his landlord's skull with a sledgehammer after the landlord had cautioned him to lift the seat when he uses the toilet (Wealdstone, North London, England, March).

A 45-year-old motorist was charged with shooting a police officer to death during a traffic stop because he feared additional points on his driver's license (near Frankfurt, Germany, February).

Also, in the last month ...

A dog exploring a discarded pickled pigs' feet jar on June 18 got his head stuck inside and constantly ran in fear from neighbors who tried to help, until a man freed him on June 30 (Mobile, Ala.).

The unrelated Republican Steve Nass of Whitewater, Wis., and Democrat Steve Nass of Lake Mills, Wis., 20 miles away, officially filed for election to the state legislature.

A 27-year-old man, upset at the judge's setting a high bond for him on a charge that he beat his mother, viciously rammed his head into a courthouse wall and is now paralyzed (Parma, Ohio).

A 35-year-old grocery customer was arrested after he beat up a man who was behind him in line but who had tried to jump ahead when an adjacent register opened (Westport, Conn.).

-- Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 18737, Tampa, Fla. 33679 or, or go to


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