Wins and losses: The Lane brothers of New York, Mr. Winner Lane, 44, and Mr. Loser Lane, 41 (their actual birth names), were profiled in a July Newsday report, made more interesting by the fact that Loser is successful (a police detective in the South Bronx) and Winner is not (a history of petty crimes). A sister said she believes her parents selected "Winner" because their late father was a big baseball fan and "Loser" just to complete the pairing.
The future, today: Seattle computer programmer Boris Tsikanovsky told the San Jose Mercury News in April that he has developed software that will stop his cat, Squirrel, from bringing animal prey into the house when he's not at home. Squirrel can enter through a special door via a magnet on her collar and had been hiding dead mice and birds in the furniture. Consequently, Tsikanovsky developed imaging software, with a camera by the door, that permits Squirrel to enter only if her pixeled profile shows nothing in her mouth.
John sweet John: In May, the British real estate agents Acorns in Lewisham announced the offering of a small, split-level apartment in south London for about $200,000, even though it was recently converted from an Edwardian-style public restroom and measures about 13 feet by 13 feet. Said an agent, "It is very convenient (and) has its own front door (and) you have no one above or below you, which is unusual for a flat."
Cow update: Two months ago, News of the Weird reported that Cuba's Fidel Castro once had the idea of breeding miniature cows that could be kept indoors and which would supply their owners with enough milk for the family. About a month after that dispatch from Havana appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press reported on Rockwell, Iowa, farmer Dustin Pillard, who is offering his 50 miniature cows (height: 3 feet) for sale, but primarily as pets. Said Pillard, "We're breeding just for the novelty."
Least Competent Criminals: Norman Micallef, 35, created a scene (and police attention) when his van collided with a moose near Sudbury, Ontario, in June; unfortunately for him, an officer who stopped to help noticed a certain scent: $325,000 (U.S.) worth of marijuana plants in the van. And on May 18 in Torrance, Calif., as members of rival gangs began to congregate over a shooting incident, two F-15 fighter jets flew by, low to the ground, causing the gang members to freeze in apprehension; a couple of minutes later, as the F-15s made a return low pass, the gang members quickly dispersed in panic, apparently unaware that the jets were part of the nearby Armed Forces Day parade.
Burial blues: Arcadia, Fla., officials, citing zoning rules, voted to make Beverly Georges dig up her late husband, Rick, from the back yard, where he had chosen to be buried so as to be united with his beloved pit bull, Bocephus (July). And Linda Montgomery of Staffordsville, Ky., complained to government officials when a dog was buried in the Highland Memorial Park cemetery, six feet from her parents' graves (June). And the family of Jim Crovetti honored his wishes and buried him at the Loving Rest Pet Cemetery, beside his Rottweiler, Lady (Indianola, Iowa, July).
Also, in the Last Month: Tough-love mother Karen Paape distributed mug-shot posters of her two teenage sons, asking that anyone who sees them smoking should call the police (West Bend, Wis.). A 20-year-old man was fatally shot wrestling for a gun with a 21-year-old man with whom he had been debating which of the two was more likely to wind up in heaven (Godley, Texas).
2002 CHUCK SHEPHERD