Odds and Ends
By Devin D. O'Leary
FEBRUARY 21, 2000:
Dateline: Papua New Guinea -- And you thought road rage was bad? A personal dispute in rural Papua New Guinea culminated with one angry man tearing out the eyes, testicles and heart of his neighbor and eating them. Villagers at the Ono Works camp east of Madang watched in horror as Moropia Silkapi, 35, attacked the body of Yakamup Makatu, 55, and cannibalized the choice bits. Apparently the two villagers began arguing earlier in the day. Things reached a fever pitch when Makatu's house burned to the ground. Then the cannibalism began. "Silkapi caught Makatu and smashed his head with a rock, killing him. He then ate him," explained Police Superintendent Ben Simanjon. Silkapi was chased into the bush by villagers and tied to a tree to await police. Unfortunately, Makatu's angry relatives arrived first, killing the hot-headed cannibal. Three of the relatives were arrested.
Dateline: England -- Thanks to a mix-up in primary colors, some Yorkshire residents may have received love letters this Valentine's Day scented with something other than perfume. Seems that mistaken mailers in a Yorkshire park have been stuffing their letters into a large red bin intended for dog waste. A local building firm accidentally supplied a red doggie do bin instead of the customary green one. Red is a color reserved for English mail boxes.
Dateline: France -- Is it the deep existential angst or merely the ennui? According to a Sofres opinion poll published last Thursday, almost a third of French adults have considered suicide at on time or another. Of 1,000 adults polled, 13 percent had "seriously" thought about killing themselves while a further 19 percent had thought about it "vaguely." One percent of those surveyed late last month said they "often" seriously considered heading for the great brasserie in the sky. Some 160,000 Frenchmen commit suicide every year.
Dateline: Toronto -- The Canadian War Museum has decided not to sell Adolph Hitler's limousine. The museum had voiced interest in selling the car at auction to raise funds for a new war museum. Public opinion to selling the black Mercedes-Benz was strongly in the negative, however, and the museum's director expressed reservations about letting the vehicle into the public sector where it might become an icon for neo-Nazi groups. According to the Ottawa Citizen, Ralph Engelstad, owner of the 2,700-room Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, had expressed interest in the car. Engelstad -- who was fined $1.5 million by the Nevada Gaming Commission in 1988 for holding a Nazi theme party -- currently owns a six-wheeled Nazi staff car and a Mercedes-Benz once owned by Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler.
Dateline: Florida -- A gator-wrestling Indian chief tried his hand at his old sport and wound up losing a finger last week. Chief James Billie, chairman of the 2,200-member Seminole Tribe of Florida, made a snap decision to try a little gator wrestling for a group of about 100 tourists visiting Billie's Swamp Safari on the Big Cypress Indian Reservation in the Florida Everglades. Billie, 55, has been wrestling alligators since he was 5 years old, but had not tried out his Steve Irwin imitation in at least 10 years when he leaped onto the back of a 7-foot gator last Tuesday. Thinking he had a good grip on the creature's submerged jaw with one hand, Billie snuck his other hand under water, only to find he had only grabbed the gator's top jaw. The alligator promptly bit off Billie's right ring finger. The chief stuck his injured hand in his jacket while an employee retrieved the finger. Recovering at a local hospital later, Chief Billie joked that he may dip the severed digit in gold and make it into a necklace. "When I die, I don't want to be buried with any missing parts," he told the Miami Herald.