Most of the year, civil aviation engineer Joseph Ngoupou and his wife (a budget officer at the World Bank) live the life of a suburban Washington, D.C., couple taking up golf on weekends. But two or three times a year, Ngoupou travels to Cameroon, where he is, by heredity, a village chief, responsible for resolving disputes among his 3,500 subjects. According to a September Wall Street Journal dispatch, his impoverished village has no electrical service or running water and lies five miles of barely passable road from the nearest town, and the isolated villagers are eager to cede Ngoupou authority as the ultimate wise man, to decide, for instance, the fair price of a bride’s dowry or the proper restitution for the theft of plums.
Sometime next year, if all goes well, Brett Holm of Chaska, Minn., will begin selling his Season Shot, an improvement over current shotgun shells because its pellets dissolve on contact in the game meat and, more important, automatically flavor it for cooking. Holm told the Chanhassen Villager newspaper in August that he will initially offer lemon pepper, mesquite, Mexican, and Creole flavors, but, he said, chemists are at work right now to expand the selection.
California graffiti artist Paco Rosic, set out to facilitate what he called his life’s ambition in January when he and his family bought an abandoned warehouse in Waterloo, Iowa, so that he could re-create with spray paint a near replica (in half-size) of Michelangelo’s fresco on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The Los Angeles Times reported in September that he has used 2,000 cans so far and eventually will cover about 2,500 square feet of newly installed curved ceiling in the warehouse.
GAS PUMP BATTLES
In September, police in Madison, Wis., said Milo G. Chamberlain’s blood-alcohol content was .425, which experts said normally is attainable only by those either dead or in a coma, but he was picked up, quite conscious, allegedly causing a disturbance at a Marathon gas station, where he reportedly got into a fight with a gas pump before being restrained by passersby. Police said Chamberlain responded to each of their questions only by rattling off strings of numbers of no particular pattern.
Surgeons have reattached many penises (in the cases of accidents, self-mutilations or angry wives’ vengeance), but the first successful transplant of the organ, to the point in which blood and urine flow were regenerated, was performed this summer in a 15-hour procedure at Guangzhou General Hospital in China. Although the patient was left functional, he and his wife, two weeks later, citing “psychological” reasons, ordered the new organ removed.
FETISHES ON PARADE
Alfred Thomas Steven, 69, was arrested in the La Purisma Mission park in Lompoc, Calif., in September, and cited for trespassing and animal cruelty for attempting to satisfy himself sexually with a horse. According to police, Steven apparently had anointed himself with olive oil and coated his nude body in feed grain or oats, and then lay down so that the horse would nibble and lick him. Deputies said he told them that it was a longtime fantasy. MTW