Wide World of Weird

A weekly roundup of unusual news stories from around the globe, compiled from Times wire services:

Necking With a Giraffe: A Georgia woman is suing a Florida zoo because a giraffe licked her in 1994. Jennifer Jordan, 28, claims she left Zoo World in Panama City Beach, Fla., with neck, back and shoulder injuries because a giraffe got a little too friendly.

Smooch-a-thon: Two couples broke the 24-hour mark Thursday trying to set a record for the world’s longest kiss. Under the rules, the couples’ lips had to touch constantly, they had to remain standing and no breaks were allowed. The contest is sponsored by Breath Savers mints. The Guinness Book of World Records has only one entry on kissing: Alfred Wolfram smooched 8,001 people in eight hours at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in 1990.

Court Issues Breast Ruling: “We must recognize that public reaction to the exhibition of the female breast and the male breast are highly different,” a court panel said in rejecting arguments that New York City discriminates against women by banning female topless bars--but not male strip clubs--from residential areas.


Stinky Shoe Contest: Children ages 5 to 15 donned their foulest footwear last week in front of the eyes and nostrils of five judges in the International Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest, held in Montpelier, Vt. The secrets to the stenches were far-ranging. “My three cousins wore these before me,” said Jennifer Phin, 7. “I step in manure and I got them wet,” said her little sister, Megan, 5.

But 15-year-old Brian Patton clinched the dubious honor, sporting a pair of decomposing, duct-taped size 12s that looked as if they’ve been through a meat grinder. He won a trophy, a $250 savings bond and a trip to “The Rosie O’Donnell Show.”

Zombie Eel Attacks Man: London fishmonger John Hogg will never feel the same about dead fish after being confronted by a gigantic, enraged conger eel that apparently rose from the grave. Hogg was sorting through the boxes of catch when the enormous, shark-like creature reared up, snapping its razor-like teeth inches from the terrified fishmonger’s face. Hogg escaped unhurt.

Not From Hallmark: Massachusetts is sending letters to deadbeat parents--most of them dads--reminding them when their child’s birthday is approaching and asking them to mark it by paying up. The cards are aimed at adults whose child-support debt has risen up to $5,000. “Above $5,000, we’re not sending a birthday card, we’re hunting for them with handcuffs,” an official said.


Take Me Home, Country Roads: In 1987, in the area of Florida’s Gulf coast known as the Redneck Riviera, 911 emergency crews got fed up dealing with several streets and roads that all had the same names. So officials let residents select new road names, hoping they’d choose dignified titles. Instead, they christened Six Pack Road, Billy Bob Lane, Bubba Lane and Rooster Run.

Quick Hits:

* Apparently, the newest fad in Japan is keeping jellyfish as pets, sort of like living lava lamps, to calm and soothe frazzled humans.

* A 76-year-old Hong Kong man is free after being convicted of killing a roommate who chided him for scratching his buttocks. A judge said the eight months he already spent in jail was enough.

* About 40% of baseball fans will eat a hot dog while attending a game this season, enough wieners to circle the bases 36,000 times, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council said.

* A collector paid $3,450 for John F. Kennedy’s long johns to go with the Marilyn Monroe slip and panties he already owns.

* A New York motorist angry at being cut off used a phony police badge to stop the other car, only to discover the other driver was a real police officer. The genuine officer arrested the impostor.

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