A weekly roundup of unusual news stories from around the globe

Hot Legislation: Heat-withered Houston has drafted a bizarre City Council resolution: “Whereas, it’s hotter than hell in Houston [and] the rain just ain’t happening in the Bayou City . . . it shall be illegal for any employer to require the wearing of pantyhose or neckties.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, the resolution calls for public humiliation of bosses who violate the ordinance. Punishment includes “public flogging by the City Council, ridicule in the local media” and a month of chambermaid duty at the city zoo. Repeat offenders will be turned over to the Public Works Department and turned into speed bumps.

A Truly ‘90s Wedding: Terry Jones and Victoria Dunn got married in New York; the best man and maid of honor were in Seattle; their minister was in Berkeley; and some of their friends were in Portland, Ore. But thanks to video conferencing, everyone took part in the nuptials, united by TV sets at four copy stores.

Good Thing She Didn’t Have Breast Implants: A German woman has accused her dentist of storming into a crowded bar and yanking out her dentures because she failed to pay her dental bill.


Animal Caskets R Us: Pet coffins were on display in Baltimore this week at the American Veterinary Medical Assn. meeting. A company called EMB was hawking wood, steel and bronze models--some with hand-stitched velvet linings for open casket viewings--that retail for up to $1,196. Antal Plastics Inc. offered more moderately priced caskets for deceased pets. Made of polyurethane foam with a wood-grain finish, they start at $43, according to company brochures featuring a heavenly blue background behind the slogan “Protect Your Pet for Eternity.”

Goofy Lawsuits: A trio of strange suits:

* A New York man charged with holding up an Atlantic City, N.J., bank last year has filed a $1.2-million defamation lawsuit against the teller he allegedly robbed because she told police he threatened to shoot her if she didn’t hand over the money. He says he made no such threat. The firearm threat could lengthen his sentence by 15 years if he’s convicted.

* A Colorado film developer who said she became depressed after working in the dark for 25 years sued her former employer for allegedly refusing to let her do part of the work in a lighted area.


* A New Jersey man is suing the makers of Viagra, saying the potency pill’s side effect of blue-tinged, blurred vision caused him to crash his car. The man’s attorney said he also saw blue streaks shoot out from his fingers as he reached for an audiocassette.

Not So Finicky Felines: Two pet lions became agitated while being walked in a Spanish town and mauled four passersby.

News McNuggets:

* An Austrian miner, rescued after being trapped in a collapsed mine for 10 days, said he lived on prayers, cigarettes and visions of his girlfriend bringing him glasses of water.


* Italian police on Monday questioned a British pilot who held 148 passengers on board his plane for 40 minutes after landing in Milan because no one would admit to being the person who broke the strict no-smoking rules.

* A pet squirrel grounded a Cyprus Airways jetliner for a day as it played hide-and-seek with engineers and airline crew trying to catch it, airline executives said. The errant rodent cost the airline some $95,250 in rescheduled or delayed flights.

* A large swordfish that escaped from the nets of a Maltese fishing boat went on the attack and rammed the vessel, holing it below the waterline and nearly sinking it. The crew killed the fish and cut its head off, but left its body stuck in the hole as a plug.

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