xxxNews Of The Weirdxxx
Bizarre but true stories about real people collected by syndicated columnist Chuck Shepherd.
Brett Backwell, Australian rules football player for Gleneig, a suburb of Adelaide, whose broken finger has hampered his playing for three years, decided in September to forgo bone fusion in favor of just having half the finger amputated. “(I)f that’s going to help me to succeed at this level (of pro football), then it’s something you’ve just got to do.” (In 1985, San Francisco 49ers all-pro defensive back Ronnie Lott chose to have the tip of one finger amputated because surgery, and the rehabilitation necessary to repair the finger, would have caused him to miss one game.)
The Moscow Cats Theater still plays to packed houses in Russia, as described in News of the Weird in March 1998, but founder Yuri Kuklachev brought 26 of his improbably trained housecats to New York City’s TriBeCa Performing Arts Center this fall to play weekends through October. Among the tricks: front paw stands; “tightrope” walking on a pole; and traversing the pole from underneath by grasping it with four legs (but one cat does it using only two legs). Kuklachev says each show is different because “(s)ometimes a cat doesn’t want (to perform) one trick, so he does another.”
Turkmenistan’s supreme leader Saparmurat Niyazov, chronicled here in 2002 (when he whimsically changed the names of the seven days of the week and the 12 months of the year) and 2004 (for insisting that all licensed drivers pass a “morality” test), said in September 2005 that his country would build a huge, natural-habitat zoo for a large array of species, including penguins, in a desert-like area of the country.
(Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 18737, Tampa FL 33679 or WeirdNews@earthlink.net or go to www.NewsoftheWeird.com.) NEWS OF THE WEIRD