NEWS OF THE WIERD LEAD STORY * In March an 18-year-old dockworker at Roadway Express in Dallas, Tex., was arrested at a local Western Union and charged with forgery after improperly trying to cash a check made out to his employer. The man produced a photo ID that gave his name as Mr. "Roadway V. Express." After questioning him, the Western Union manager said, "Okay, Mr. Express, I'll be right back [with the money]," but went into another room and called police. [Houston Chronicle, 3-31-96] THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT * The hog-farming Fox family of Mahaska County, Iowa, which for ten years has been selling vials of boar semen for artificially inseminating sows, recently expanded its operation to include a drive-through window for farmers in a hurry. Said Genette Fox, of the playfulness of customers, "'[O]rder of semen and fries'-- I've heard that a million times." [Des Moines Register, 1-18-96] * Sigma Chemical Company in St. Louis, Mo., gained notoriety in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing for making the artificial scents used to train the dogs that helped find dead bodies amidst the rubble. According to the March Discover magazine, the company makes these smells: Pseudo Corpse I (for a body less than 30 days old), Pseudo Corpse II (more than 30 days old), Pseudo Drowned Victim, and Pseudo Distressed Body (for a person still alive but in shock), with Pseudo Burned Victim in the works. [Discover, March 1996] * According to a Reuters News Service report in February, sales are booming for such businesses as the Baltimore, Md., firm Stocks & Bonds Ltd., which makes special furniture for people who engage in erotic restraint, discipline, sadism, and masochism. A primary reason for the upsurge is the influx of mainstream couples, some of whom even shop while pushing their kids in strollers. Said another erotic furniture maker, "Some people get excited about the fact that they might serve coffee to their parents on a table they used to tie each other to the night before." [Reuter wirecopy, 2-14-96; Paper-San Francisco Chronicle, 4-10-96] * Relatives of victims filed a $60 million lawsuit in December against Quaker Oats Co., which was allegedly a sponsor of 1940s and 1950s experiments to feed oats with radioactive tracers to some mentally handicapped schoolchildren. The children were told that eating the cereal was part of a science club experiment, when in reality it helped Quaker in its competition with rival Cream of Wheat. The radioactive bits, according to the lawsuit, allowed researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology to trace the absorption of the oats' calcium and iron into the body. [Edmonton Journal-AP, 12-7-95] * Fremont, Calif., paramedic Paul Schmidt, 29, was fired in March for running a side business. He and a partner were marketing a set of nine photo cards of gruesome accidents and murders--"Cards of Death" for $8.95. [San Francisco Chronicle, 4-2-96] * Late last year, Halle, Germany, tavern owner Bernd Helbig introduced "beersicles" at about $3.50 each. (They're just what you think they are.) [Tampa Tribune-AP, 1-14-96] FAMILY VALUES * In December, New York City welfare authorities took custody of three small children who were discovered, filthy and starving, when the father called police to report that his girlfriend (the kids' mother) was missing. Asked by police why he hadn't fed or cleaned the children himself, father Ahmed Aldaeesheh said, "I don't do that." [Des Moines Register-AP, 1-1-96] * William Harasymow, 25, and his brother James, 22, were sentenced to 90 days in jail in Edmonton, Alberta, in January for cultivating marijuana in their home. According to the brothers, who had never been in trouble with the law before, the elaborate setup of plants in their basement had been their father's all- consuming passion until he died two months before, and the brothers had not yet decided what to do with them. Said William, "You love your dad. But it sucks. He didn't leave us with much." [Edmonton Journal, 1-30-96] * In January in Palm Harbor, Fla., a 41-year-old ex-pastor pleaded guilty to persuading his daughter, then age 6, to touch him sexually while he videotaped her. Reflecting on the community support for the ex-pastor, county Judge Charles Cope rejected the normal three-year prison term for the man and instead sentenced him to house arrest--in the same house where the girl, now 8, continues to live. [Tampa Tribune-AP, 1-15-96] UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT * In the last statement given before his February execution in California for the 1979 sexual mutilation-murders of 14 teenage boys, William George Bonin said the death penalty "sends the wrong message" to America's youth. [Greensboro News Record- AP, 2-24-96] * In February, John Howard opened a Ku Klux Klan museum and apparel store, called The Redneck Shop, in Laurens, S. Car. Asked by a reporter what the reaction was by townspeople, Howard said, "The only people I've had a problem with, who took it as an insult and a racial situation, have been blacks. I didn't know blacks here were so prejudiced." (Shortly after it opened, a man in a pickup truck rammed the storefront, shutting Howard down.) [Louisville Courier-Journal-AP, 3-7-96] * In March, Judge Philip Mangones in Keene, N. H., declared unconstitutional a drug-producing search of the dormitory rooms of two Keene State College students. The students consented to the search, and more than six ounces of marijuana was found, but the judge said that the men were too stoned to know what they were doing when they consented. [Exeter News-Letter, 3-5-96] * According to a March Associated Press story, Multimedia Entertainment, Inc., producer of the "Jerry Springer" show, recently filed a lawsuit against four Toronto, Ontario, comedians who had fooled the show's staff and posed as a couple and their baby-sitter (and her boyfriend) on a show themed around men who sleep with their children's baby-sitter. Multimedia says such hoaxes threaten the integrity of daytime talk shows like Springer's. [San Francisco Chronicle-AP, 4-1-96]