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Sun, 19 Sep 2021
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The Purple Brain: America's New Reefer Madness

More than 70 years in the making, the long-awaited sequel to the notorious 1936 film, Reefer Madness has arrived. It's called The Purple Brain, and just like its unintentionally campy predecessor, its purpose is to frighten Americans about marijuana.

Bizarro Earth

Man accused of taking skull for ashtray

Police say a gravedigger stole body parts - including a skull and a thigh bone - from a broken casket at a church cemetery and took them home to make an ashtray.

"While he was digging a grave, a casket was broken open, so (investigators) believe he took the body parts to make an ashtray and a pipe," Police Lt. Kevin O'Brien told the Sentinel & Enterprise of Fitchburg.

Police discovered the theft when they went to his apartment Wednesday after his wife complained that her husband, Keith Chartrand, killed her dog. She said she found the body parts among his belongings.

Police charged Chartrand, 30, with removing a body from a grave and cruelty to animals.

Cloud Lightning

US: Lawman's car hit by lightning

Walworth County, South Dakota Deputy Sheriff Chuck Davidson answers to a new nickname. "They're all calling me Sparky," said Davidson, whose patrol vehicle was hit by lightning. "I just feel sorry for my poor patrol car."

Davidson was on U.S. Highway 83 when the lightning hit at about 7 a.m. Thursday.

"All of a sudden, there was a flash, a bang and then there was a bunch of sparks on the road behind the vehicle," he said. "Everything in the vehicle turned off, and I coasted to the side of the road."

Wolf

N.J. dog crowned world's ugliest

Elwood, a 2-year-old Chinese Crested and Chihuahua mix, was crowned the world's ugliest dog Friday, a distinction that delighted the New Jersey mutt's owners.

Elwood, dark colored and hairless - save for a mohawk-like puff of white fur on his head - is often referred to as "Yoda," or "ET," for his resemblance to those famous science fiction characters.

"I think he's the cutest thing that ever lived," said Elwood's owner, Karen Quigley, a resident of Sewell, New Jersey.

Quigley brought Elwood out to compete for the second year at the annual ugly dog contest at the Marin-Sonoma County Fair. Elwood placed second last year.

Bizarro Earth

N.Z. couple can't name their son '4real'

New Zealand authorities have blocked a couple's bid to officially name their new son "4real," saying numerals are not allowed.

Pat and Sheena Wheaton said they decided to name their new baby "4real" shortly after having an ultrasound and being struck by the reality of his impending arrival.

"For most of us, when we try to figure out what our names mean, we have to look it up in a babies book and ... there's no direct link between the meaning and the name," Pat Wheaton told TV One on Wednesday. "With this name, everyone knows what it means."

But when the parents filed the name with New Zealand's Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, they were told names beginning with a number were against the rules.

Bizarro Earth

Muscleman Facing Jail Over Disability Con

A bodybuilder who claimed £43,000 in disability benefits despite being fit enough to win a strongman contest is facing jail.

Jon Stentiford, 35, insisted he had crippling back pain while secretly putting himself through a gruelling training schedule.

The 'disabled' man went on to dominate Cornwall's Strongest Man contest in 2003.

Despite the publicity surrounding him, the father-of-two was able to continue claiming benefits because he had entered the competition under a false name.

Star

Waitress may win Million-Dollar stock picking contest

It's Friday afternoon in the tiny Appalachia town of St. Clairsville, Ohio, and Mary Sue Williams is about to begin her shift as a waitress at Undo's, a spacious Italian restaurant that overlooks Interstate 70. She enjoys taking care of her regulars, she says, and after nine years in her job, she has accumulated plenty of them. Even with dozens of the restaurant's tables empty, she cuts quickly across the floor to the bar to refill an empty water glass. "I'm going to do this until I can't walk," Williams says, insisting that she wouldn't quit for a million dollars.

That conviction may soon be put to the test. Williams could be in line to win the stockpicking contest sponsored by cable channel CNBC, which carries a million-dollar grand prize. According to the last official standings, posted on May 25, she was in sixth place, with a 29% return during the two-week final round. But as BusinessWeek first reported, a handful of top finishers are suspected of exploiting a loophole in CNBC's trading software to inflate their returns (see BusinessWeek.com, 6/7/07, "CNBC's Easy Money"). CNBC later acknowledged the problems and said it will disqualify contestants who violated any of the game's rules. Based on BusinessWeek's analysis of the trading results for the contest's finalists, Williams appears to be the most likely winner.

Coffee

Holy Grail buried under Roman basilica?

An Italian archaeologist, Alfredo Barbagallo, claims that the legendary Holy Grail is hidden in the catacombs under the 6th-century Roman basilica of St. Lawrence Outside the Walls.

Barbagallo believes that the Holy Grail-- the chalice used at the Last Supper-- is kept in a room that is now buried under the basilica. His claim is based on two years of studying medieval iconography inside the basilica. In the wake of Barbagallo's claim, archeological authorities in Rome may give approval for the catacombs to be opened and examined.

Bizarro Earth

Continental apologizes for sewage overflow during flight

Passengers who endured a two-day trans-Atlantic odyssey with sewage overflowing from a jet's lavatories are getting an apology from Continental Airlines Inc. for the "poor conditions."

Flight 71, with 168 customers on board, took off June 13 from Amsterdam bound for Newark, N.J., but only got as far as Shannon, Ireland, because of a problem with the restrooms.

The flight resumed the next day after repair work seemed to restore smooth flow in the lavatory system, a Continental spokesman said Thursday. But during the flight from Shannon to Newark, renamed Flight 1970, "the problem developed again," spokesman Dave Messing said.

When the plane landed in Newark, he said, it was discovered that the blockage was caused by someone flushing latex gloves down the toilet - despite signs that warn not to discard foreign objects into the system.

"Occasionally these instructions are overlooked," he said.

Bizarro Earth

Brazilian woman gives birth in shower after un-noticed pregnancy

A woman in the Brazilian state of Sao Paolo spent nine months blissfully unaware she was pregnant, then gave birth while taking a shower, local media reported.

Claudia Fernanda, 27, gave birth to a girl weighing 3.3 kilograms, with a height of 48 centimeters.

"I did not know I was pregnant," she told doctors in a maternity department, where she came on foot with her baby, the umbilical cord still attached.

Claudia Fernanda, who is unemployed and already has three children aged eight, six, and four, said she had visited a doctor a week before the delivery, but the examination had not revealed any signs of pregnancy.