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Wide World of Weird

July 03, 1998

A weekly roundup of unusual news stories from around the globe, compiled from Times wire services:

A Lawsuit to Soothe the Savage Breast: A Florida man is suing a nightclub, claiming he suffered whiplash when a topless dancer knocked him out with her oversized breasts, the Tampa Tribune reported.

"Apparently she jumped up and slammed her breasts on my head and just about knocked me out," Paul Shimkonis claimed. "It was like two cement blocks hit me. I saw stars. I've never been right since." Shimkonis, 38, is seeking more than $15,000 in damages from the Diamond Dolls club.

Till Death or Bingo Do Us Part: Bingo and booze are now the leading causes of divorce in Albania. They were the deciding factor in half of all divorce cases lodged in Europe's most impoverished country in the last three months, a newspaper said. The burgeoning obsession with bingo has pushed the traditional causes for divorce--adultery and violence--to less than a third of all complaints.

There Was an Old Newsman Who Swallowed a Fly: British television newsreader Jonathan Hill didn't want to make a scene when a fly zoomed into his mouth during a live broadcast, so he swallowed it. Hill said his instinct was to spit out the insect but he feared it would disgust viewers. He also said that, as a dedicated vegetarian, it was the first meat he had eaten in years.

Candlelight Dinner Without the Candles? Light-emitting enzymes from jellyfish and shrimp could be used to make glow-in-the-dark cosmetics, beverages, yogurt and cake icing, a team of scientists and doctors said. The team has reportedly cloned the genes that make sea creatures glow, creating light-emitting proteins that could also be used to make tumors visible. A spokesman said the proteins are safe for use as a food colorant because they're made from natural sources.

When the Light Is Red, the Foot Becomes Lead: How many red-light runners are running around Charlotte, N.C.? Enough to vex the person who loads film into cameras set up at two intersections. The cameras, which are part of a pilot program, ran out of film in just an hour. City officials had expected to photograph only 30 scofflaws a day at each place. Instead, a violator came along at least every 3 1/2 minutes.

William Tell for the '90s: A Kentucky man who accidentally killed his best friend when he took up his dare to shoot a beer can off his head was being held on murder charges, police said.

Can't Keep a Good Jogger Down: A British heart patient climbed out of his hospital bed and walked five miles home--in his sleep. Wearing slippers and pajamas, 48-year-old Michael Turner, who was recovering from a heart attack in northern England, wandered through the rainy night for three hours. "Hello, love. I've been jogging," he told his startled wife when she opened the door.

News McNuggets:

* A British secretary fired because she grieved too much for Princess Diana has won a claim for unfair dismissal. British newspapers said a football team near London fired Jeanne Cummins, 38, because she cried for a week in the office after Diana was killed in a car crash last August.

* The Navy is deep-sixing its unpopular bell-bottom work dungarees in favor of a spiffy new straight-legged dark blue poly-cotton blend. However, bell-bottoms will survive in the Navy's traditional white "Cracker Jack" dress uniform, which also features a distinctive flap on the back of the shirt.

* Wide World of Weird is published every Friday. Off-Kilter appears Monday through Thursday.

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