Wide World of Weird

A Chinese Tongue Twister: Chinese surgeons operated on a man to remove two of his three tongues so he can eat and speak normally for the first time in 20 years, a news agency said. The 32-year-old farmer from Sichuan was born with one tongue, but a second, smaller one grew when he was 5, and later a third. "The largest was 13 inches long, 6 inches wide and 4.4 inches thick, while the two others were 3.6 inches long and of varying widths and thickness," the report said.


Home, Sweet . . . Splat!: A West Virginia man who was ordered to sell his hand-built home and share the profits with his estranged wife hated the idea so much that he got a giant piece of machinery and flattened the house, police say.


May the Best Hand Win: Two candidates locked in a tie for mayor of the small New Mexico town of Estancia settled their contest last week with a quick game of five-card draw.


Wife Shopping: John Critcherson has two horses, five goats, five cats, nine chickens and a dog named Zebulont. But something's missing. He wants a wife. Last year, the 43-year-old Voluntown, Conn., man put up a sign next to his mailbox that says, "Wife Wanted: Inquire Inside." He describes himself as an "outdoors person; boots and jeans." He takes particular pride in his beard, which he has had since 1974.


Soap Opera: Canadian authorities have taken a newborn baby from its mother because of a health threat at home--overexposure to detergent. The mom reportedly uses powerful cleaning chemicals constantly because of an obsessive-compulsive disorder.


Nailing the Slopes: Naked above the waist except for a turban on his head, a self-styled Norwegian fakir, or Eastern sage, added a sideshow to a World Cup downhill race by sledding down a mountainside on a bed of nails mounted on skis.


A New Spin on Self-Serve Gas: Two men entered a Texaco station in Absecon, N.J., one brandishing a handgun, and locked the two employees in a bathroom. Then one robbed the cash register and a cigarette machine while the other waited on unwitting customers for about 10 minutes.


Music to Soothe the Savage Beater: Club-swinging Turkish riot police, notorious for tough tactics against street protesters, will now listen to soothing classical music before going into action.

Quick Hits:

* A 19-year-old was crowned Miss Albania in the first national beauty contest since 1995. She won a gold crown worth $15,000, a huge sum in a nation where teachers and cops earn $65 a month.

* In Creve Coeur, Ill., police say Jim Rogy should pay a $50 fine for leaving litter in yards. His offense? Delivering newspapers.

* Nintendo was looking for the right place to release a new video game featuring cartoon dinosaurs that pick off enemies with super-long tongues. The winner: Lizard Lick, N.C.

* Officials in Southbridge, Mass., want dangerous dogs to sport bright orange collars and leashes with the word "danger" printed on them. The pooches would also have to be tattooed.

* An unusual health scare has struck at one of Britain's major nuclear power plants: radioactive pigeons.

* A faith healer has been arrested in Honduras and charged with killing three people with an ax after forcing them to take baths filled with bean fertilizers.

* Four masked men in black and white costumes slipped past customers and stole a Ronald McDonald statue from a McDonald's in southern France.


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

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