NEW YORK RULES
To settle a discrimination lawsuit by transsexual men in October, the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority agreed to open all of its restrooms on the basis of individuals’ “gender expression,” meaning that any man dressed seriously as a woman could choose the ladies’ room. And New York City is currently considering adopting a rule to permit people to switch genders on their birth certificates, regardless of whether they’ve had surgery, as long as they’ve lived in the new gender for two years and a physician and a mental-health counselor approve.
CAN’T POSSIBLY BE TRUE
Karen Madden, 38, goes on trial in December in Harrisburg, Pa., after allegedly confessing to stealing $550,000 worth of jewelry and handbags from the residence of her former boss, who is the chancellor of the state’s college system. The chancellor, testifying at a July hearing on the charges, said Madden had called her recently and apologized but then went on to say, “I hope you and I can still be friends, and I would like to use you, can I use you as a reference, just for the work part?”
THE UK IS FUN
Britain’s Channel 4 public television announced in July that it would soon schedule a week of documentaries on masturbation, including one by self-designated “orgasm coach” Betty Dodson, “Masturbation for Girls,” teaching hands-on techniques to three women. But the pendulum swung the other way in October when Britain’s Tesco stores agreed that a kit for learning pole dancing to “[u]nleash the sex kitten inside,” with a garter and suggestive DVD, was perhaps unsuited for its “toy” section, where it might have been appealing to adolescent girls. Tesco moved the listing to its physical fitness section.
Two men in a Dodge Neon were seriously injured in a rollover accident on Interstate 75 near Toledo, Ohio, in October after a red bra flew from the radio antenna of another car, startling the Neon driver and causing him to swerve and lose control. The Ohio Highway Patrol later learned that the owner of the bra had hung it from the aerial after she realized that it had broken due to her dog’s having chewed on it earlier that day. A prosecutor said a misdemeanor littering charge would be filed against the woman, but was exploring whether there had been out-the-window socializing between the cars’ occupants before the rollover.
BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST
After shooting video undercover in 10 Army recruiting offices in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, ABC News released in November an episode of recruiters telling a prospect that no one is going to Iraq anymore. “No, we’re bringing people back,” he said, and his partner followed with, “We’re not at war. War ended a long time ago.” In a separate on-camera interview, Col. Robert Manning, who is in charge of Army recruiting in the Northeast, said, “We are a nation and Army at war still.”
LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS
A prison inmate named Calvin Miller, who was angry with a former partner in crime who had escaped conviction, called police in Kansas City, Mo., in 2003 with information that led them to reopen that cold case. Eventually his partner, Johnny Chapple, was convicted of murder. So was Miller himself. While Chapple received a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, Miller got 17. By the way, Miller’s well-known nickname, acquired before any of this transpired, is “Cheesy Rat.” MTW