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 V.15 No.5 | February 2 - 8, 2006 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Thailand—Thailand's creepiest couple is planning to tie the knot on Valentine's Day. The Scorpion Queen and the Centipede King plan to get married on Feb. 14 at the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum's Haunted House Adventure in the southern resort town of Pattaya. Kanchana Ketkaew, 36, set a world record in 2002 for spending 32 days in a glass cage with 3,400 scorpions. Bunthawee Siengwong, 29, set a Thai record for enduring 28 days with 1,000 centipedes. The two met while performing their respective stunts at a snake farm on the resort island of Koh Samui. According to Somporn Naksuetrong, general manager of Thailand's Ripley's Museum, the couple will wear bloodstained wedding clothes and will partake in a traditional Thai ceremony. But, instead of heading to a traditional “wedding room” after the ceremony, the pair plans to climb into a coffin to consummate their union.

Dateline: Thailand—Health authorities in Bangkok are moving to put a stop to the latest fashion craze among Thai teenagers--wearing fake orthodontic braces. Metallic grins are regularly featured in teen magazines as braces have become more commonplace in Thailand, transforming the dental gear into a fashion statement. Rather than getting themselves fitted for real, expensive and often unnecessary braces, many teens are now opting for do-it-yourself kits. Available in many local stores, the fake braces feature multicolored rubber bands that can be used to coordinate with favorite outfits. Rasamee Vistaveth, secretary-general of the Consumer Protection Board, said the agency is planning to sign an order punishing sellers of fake braces with six months in prison or a $1,300 fine. Importers and manufacturers could face up to one year behind bars and a $2,600 fine.

Dateline: Colombia—Two people are dead in a case of fatal hiccups. According to police in the Caribbean port city of Barranquilla, 21-year-old university student David Galvan got the hiccups last Sunday night while having drinks with neighbors. Galvan's uncle, 35-year-old Rafael Vargas, offered to cure him using a home remedy. Vargas, who works as a security guard, pulled out his revolver and pointed it at Galvan, hoping to scare the hiccups out of him. Unfortunately, the weapon went off, hitting Galvan in the neck and killing him. According to police, Vargas became so distraught that he then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide. “They were drinking, but they were aware of what was going on,” one witness told a local television station.

Dateline: Virginia—Last week, a Circuit Court judge in Russell County convicted 25-year-old EMT Joshua Philip Martin of involuntary manslaughter for electrocuting one of his coworkers with a set of defibrillator paddles. According to testimony, the rookie rescue squad worker was working his fourth day on the job when he began fooling around with the paddles in the back of a Highlands Ambulance Service vehicle on the evening of June 1, 2005. Though he was an EMT, Martin was not yet qualified to use the defibrillator and had been told it was “not something to play with.” Courtney Hilton Rhoton, a 23-year-old mother of two small children who was working her way through school, was sitting in the passenger seat of the ambulance and told Martin not to touch her “with that.” Ambulance driver Mike Coleman said in court that he looked back to see Martin putting the paddles away. Shortly after that, Coleman heard the “sound of a shock” and heard Rhoton yell, “Oh my god, Mike, he shocked me!” Seconds later, she stiffened and went limp. Coleman frantically tried to hold her slumping body while steering the ambulance south on U.S. 19 and calling the private ambulance company's office. Rhoton, who had been an EMT for one year, never regained consciousness. She left behind two children, aged 6 and 4. Martin will return to court in March for sentencing and faces a maximum of 10 years in prison. After Martin was led away by bailiffs, his mother was heard outside the courtroom screaming, “Josh is a good kid! A good kid!” at the victim's family. “He was just playing around,” Martin's aunt told the Times-Dispatch.

Dateline: Florida—Deputies in Bradenton report that a 16-year-old has been arrested for beating up his grandmother because she wouldn't buy him beer. Investigators say Kurt Cass went into his 60-year-old grandmother's bedroom last Thursday and demanded $100 for beer. When she refused, the teen allegedly placed a razor to her throat and ordered her to take him to the bank to get the money. “When the victim arrived back home, she locked all of the doors,” deputies told WTSP-TV news. “The defendant arrived back home and kicked the front door in. Once inside, the defendant grabbed a two-foot 2x4 piece of wood and hit the victim numerous times on the back. The defendant then grabbed a three-foot piece of three-inch [wide] PVC pipe and hit the victim on her head, back and legs numerous times.” Eventually, Cass' caseworker arrived on the scene and was able to hold the teen until police arrived. Cass was charged with domestic aggravated assault, two counts of domestic aggravated battery, attempted robbery and kidnapping.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to devin@alibi.com.

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