Stranger Than Fiction 

Curses, Foiled Again

A man entered a liquor store in Dayton, Ohio, flashed a BB handgun and demanded cash from clerk Victor Ojezua. Before Ojezua could hand over any money, a beer salesman and a customer entered the store. When they heard the conversation between the robber and Ojezua, they quickly left, but Ojezua followed right behind them. Once outside, he locked the door, trapping the robber inside the store until police arrived.

Three concession workers at Yellowstone National Park decided this summer to go for a late-night swim in a cold-water pond. It turned out to be a hot spring, whose 178-degree water fatally burned a 20-year-old woman and critically burned her 18-year-old male companions.

Two federal corrections officers were indicted for helping imprisoned felons smuggle frozen sperm to their wives and girlfriends in exchange for thousands of dollars in payoffs. The officers essentially provided sperm bank services by hustling cryogenic sperm kits through security to inmates at the Allenwood minimum-security prison, about 50 miles north of Harrisburg, Pa., officials said. Investigators said the sperm-filled vials were then delivered to a New York City fertility lab. The New York Post reported that as many as five New York mobsters fathered children while in federal prison.

"I've been at this job for eight years now, and this is the first case of sperm-kit smuggling I've seen," remarked U.S. Attorney David Barasch, who said the indictments stemmed from a two-year FBI investigation. "Usually, the contraband is drugs or food or money."

The last living member of the Dracula family told the Daily Telegraph newspaper he is "too frightened" to remain in Germany ever since neo-Nazis tried to set his castle on fire. "I have had enough of the mentality of some people here," said Vlad Dracul Prince Kretzulesco, 60, who lives in the Brandenburg countryside south of Berlin. "I am afraid to stay here. I would like to find a castle in England from where I can run my business."

Britain's Task Force on Near Earth Objects, appointed by science minister Lord Sainsbury, urged the government to take immediate action to prevent an asteroid from hitting the Earth. Its report warned the effects of the Earth being hit by an asteroid bigger than one kilometer would be devastating. Even though an asteroid this size hits the Earth only once ever 100,000 years, the report recommended the government establish a British asteroid defense center and spend $98 million to develop technology to detect and divert asteroids by "giving them a nudge with a rocket or a nuclear device."

Los Angeles businessman Emmanuel Broust, 42, checked into the Ichi Haisin Hotel in Tokyo before meeting some clients but suffered a heart attack and died in bed. For the next four months, the hotel staff continued to obey the "Do not disturb" sign on the door. Finally, a maid who had just started working at the hotel entered the room and discovered the body, although she said afterward she wanted to resign in shame for having disturbed a guest.

The Climax Gentleman's Club in Salem Township, Pa., near Pittsburgh, began offering something new for those who can't stop in for lap dances: drive-through nudity. Motorists drive around to a window at the back of the club, show proof they are 18 or older and pay $5 per minute. Then they pull up a few feet to a second window and watch a nude dancer for the amount of time they paid for. A 26-year-old Climax stripper, who identified herself only by her stage name, Barbie, said most customers pay for two to three minutes, but one man paid $100 for 20 minutes. "That can be tough," she said. "After a while, you run out of things to do."

A California performance artist has launched what she hopes will be a new women's movement against logging ancient redwoods: baring her breasts and reciting poetry to stunned timber crews. "They stop their chainsaws and they stop their trucks and they pay attention," said Dona Nieto, who goes by the name "La Tigresa" and has brought what she calls "Goddess-based, nude Buddhist guerrilla poetry" to timber and logging sites in an area some 120 miles north of San Francisco, which is one of the main battlegrounds in the fight between environmentalists and timber companies. "I've changed some of these guys' lives. But I'd like to change the laws, and I'd like to change history."

Laurence Webbler, 68, of Bay City, Texas, was fishing with his 8-year-old grandson Josh when he suffered a heart attack and lost consciousness. Josh grabbed an electronic device used to stun fish and gave his grandfather a jolt of 5,000 volts. "It was enough to get the old ticker going again," Webbler said after being taken to the hospital.

The Louisiana Department of Corrections has forbidden prison inmates from having typewriters. Jody Sinclair, the wife of an inmate who helped expose a pardon-selling scandal in the 1980s, said the new rule is aimed at preventing prisoners from writing the media, but corrections department secretary Richard Stalder insisted the move will improve security. "They are one of the No. 1 security risks in an institution as far as hiding contraband goes," Stalder said. "There are all sorts of places in a typewriter to hide things. Typewriter keys can easily be made into shims that can be used as weapons."

After Indian butcher Rakesh Kumar was arrested for slaughtering in an open area of New Delhi's Wazirpur district, then released on bail, he set up shop in a public toilet and threatened to dump pig parts into the streets if the authorities try to close down his sausage business. "I will throw entrails, guts, blood and even worse on the streets now," Kumar declared. "Let me see what the police or these residents can do."


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