Weird News of the 1990s
January 1990: The Viskase Corporation debuted a new technology that allowed edible-ink ads to be printed onto hot dogs. The company boasted that now, for the first time, hot dogs could be used as a "communications medium." It also suggested that hot-dog-vertising would be a great way for companies to target messages at children and "establish brand preference early." However, the company found no takers for its hot-dog-ad technology. One concessions manager noted, "Our hot dogs are already cooked and in a bun and wrapped when they're sold. You wouldn't see the message."
June 1992: The opening in Cranston, Rhode Island of Condom Hut, the world's first-ever drive-through condom store, sparked outrage among local residents. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence condemned it as a "moral outrage." A rock was thrown through its window, and graffiti was spray-painted on its front. The owner of the business, former flight attendant and self-styled "adventurous entrepreneur" Emanuelle Del Vecchio, eventually succumbed to community pressure and closed the store.
1993: Ventriloquist Arthur Takeall sued Pepsi for $130 million, claiming that the company's popular TV ads, featuring Ray Charles saying the slogan "You got the right one, baby, uh-huh," infringed on his intellectual property. Takeall insisted he had been using that line for years in his act. He would choose an attractive woman in the audience and say, "You've Got The Right One" and his puppet, "Scooter," would then say "Uh-huh." The judge dismissed the case.
January 1994: A school bus driver in Port Washington, Wisconsin insisted he was only joking when he shouted out "Should I hit the dog?" seconds before he hit a dog on the road. The animal belonged to two of the children on the bus. It often came up to the road to meet them. The driver, who later resigned, blamed the accident on icy conditions.
March 1994: Jeff Goldstein, who described himself as a “semi-active pagan-Jewish minister,” got into trouble with the city of Madison, Wisconsin because he refused to mow his lawn, claiming that to do so would violate his deeply-held, religious belief that plants were sacred. He further explained that he prayed to his lawn, and that to mow it would be a “holocaust against the green creatures.” However, the court ruled that Goldstein had to mow his lawn anyway because he hadn't proved he was a follower of a genuine religion.

Rice Recipe Causes Nervous Breadown

April 1996: The Supreme Court declined to hear the case of Bobbie June Griggs vs. South Carolina Electric & Gas, despite Griggs's insistence that the utility's publication of her rice recipe in its Rice Cookoff Contest Cookbook had been "physically and emotionally devestating," causing her to have a nervous breakdown, as well as leading to a loss of marital relations between herself and her husband. Griggs's case had already been dismissed by two lower courts, costing her over $9500 in legal fees.
October 1996: Montblanc, a maker of high-end pens, had to issue a recall of a limited-edition $750 pen engraved with the signature of Alexandre Dumas, author of The Three Musketeers, when it realized that the signature on the pen was actually that of Dumas's not-as-famous son, Alexandre Dumas Jr., who is mainly remembered as the author of "The Lady With the Camellias."
January 1997: The commissioners of Kleberg County, Texas voted unanimously to adopt "Heaven-O" as the county's official greeting. The resolution was the result of years of campaigning by local resident Leonso Canales who opposed the use of 'Hello' because it contained the word 'Hell.' He proposed that 'Heaven-O' would be a more positive, harmonious salutation.

The Fainting Woman Sex Case

March 1996: A Cincinnati woman who suffered from a rare psychiatric disorder that caused her to faint every time she heard the word "sex," claimed that she had been sexually assaulted by a man who took advantage of her condition. During the trial, the judge had to instruct the lawyers to use the terms "nookie" or "blank" instead of "sex," so that the woman wouldn't keep fainting in court. The defendant was found guilty and sentenced to 7 to 25 years in prison.
1997: The front cover of the 1997 Thomas Guide road atlas for Los Angeles and Orange Counties boasted that the guide included "666 new streets," which prompted concerned Christians to start calling the publisher, fearing that the use of the number 666 was a satanic signal. Eventually the publisher recalled the Guide and issued a new one that boasted of only "665" new streets. The company explained that it made the change because it wanted buyers to "feel confident with the use of our product."
June 1998: During a routine check, police stopped a man in Colchester, Essex and discovered that he was wearing wellington boots filled with baked beans in tomato sauce. The officers never found out why he was doing this, but warned him that he should wear more appropriate footwear since boots full of baked beans could cause him to be distracted and have an accident.

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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2016 by the author of the post, which is usually either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.