LEAD STORY: At the December ceremony in Najaf, Iraq, in which U.S. commanders turned over control of the city, Iraqi commandos took the stage carrying frogs and a rabbit and soon were eating the animals raw in a show of feral manliness. As U.S. personnel looked on apprehensively, one Iraqi cut open the rabbit's belly, screamed, snatched its heart in his teeth, and passed the carcass down the line, with each commando taking a bite. According to a Baltimore Sun dispatch, locals said that Saddam Hussein's special forces used to do similar things, but with snakes, dogs, cats and even wolves.
Compelling Explanations: 1) Floyd Kinney Jr., 49, pleading guilty in Northampton County, Pa., in December to indecent assault on two young girls, blamed the incidents on his wife's obsessive bingo habit, which he said took her out of the house "three, four times a week." (Said the judge, "Some people, when their wives aren't home, decide to clean the living room.") 2) Kevin Sutherland, 45, arrested in Salt Lake City in December for downloading child porn on his office computer, told investigators that he personally would "never" access child porn but that he has been diagnosed with multiple personalities, one of which is a 16-year-old boy ("Casey") who likes to look at pictures of girls his own age.
Latest Civil Rights: Charles Littleton, 22, was defiant even after being Tasered by police when he resisted efforts to remove him from a Saginaw (Mich.) City Council meeting. He said he had to stand up for his right to wear his Los Angeles Dodgers baseball cap, despite a rule banning hats for men inside. "It means more than just a hat," he said. "It's like my crown. It's like asking a king to remove his crown."
Ironies: California's Golden State Fence Co., which has a contract to build the U. S. immigrant-impeding barrier on the Mexican border, agreed in December to pay fines totaling nearly $5 million because it had been employing illegal aliens.
Least Competent People: Some British and German drivers have over-relied on their cars' satellite-navigation devices, according to a December Reuters dispatch, sometimes with tragic (or hilarious) results. A 53-year-old German man thought the device's instruction to turn "now" meant not at the next corner but right that second, and he crashed into a building. Another followed instructions but ignored a prominent "closed for construction" sign and plowed into a pile of sand. Said an exasperated German auto club spokesman, "It's not as if people are driving in a tank with only a small slit to see out." (In November, an ambulance in London went 400 miles to make a 20-minute trip, and in May another took 90 minutes to take a crash victim to a hospital 10 minutes away, both due to faulty "sat-nav" programming.)
Burglar Sheldon Reece, 32, was shot in the abdomen by homeowner Abel Sisneros in Fort Worth, Texas, in December. According to a report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, to enter the house Reece had to boldly disregard two signs outside: "Warning. Nothing inside is worth risking your life for. Owners of this property are highly skilled to protect life, liberty and property from criminal attacks" and "No trespassing. Violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again."
Committing Malpractice on a Man's Best Friend: In October, the Rhode Island Supreme Court entered a final judgment for Charles "Chick" Lennon, 68, against the manufacturer of a penile implant he had received in 1996 but which perpetually remains somewhat erect. (He says he has to wear a fanny pack in front to conceal it.) He had originally won $750,000 for his pain and humiliation, reduced to $400,000, but then back up to $950,000, which he is scheduled to receive. In Chicago, dozens of men have sued Dr. Sheldon Burman after having their penises deformed in lengthening surgeries, according to lawsuits reported by the Chicago Sun-Times in September, even though Burman said he stands by his original self-taught methodology, involving vacuuming and stretching.
Use What You Have: 1) Police in Sydney, Australia, arrested 19 people in a two-family street fight in January and, according to Sydney's Daily Telegraph, confiscated "knives, baseball bats, metal poles, planks, branches, cricket bats, pick handles, screwdrivers, golf clubs, curtain rods and glass bottles," as well as hammers and machetes. 2) Chytoria Graham, 27, was arrested in Pittsburgh in October after a fight with her boyfriend, culminating in Graham grabbing the couple's 1-month-old son by the legs and using him to clobber the boyfriend.
© 2007 CHUCK SHEPHERD
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