Dispatches > The Buzz

The Buzz

Issue: "50 family-friendly movies," June 28, 2003

Marriage of convenience

Karnamoni Handsa of Khanyan, India, married a younger male-although in dog years, he's actually older than she is. As more than 100 guests watched, the 9-year-old girl this month "married" a stray 2-year-old dog in a ritual that her family hopes will ward off a supposed bad omen. According to her Santhal tribe's superstition, the growing of a tooth on her upper gum was the result of an evil spell, which only marriage could break. Karnamoni's poor father could not afford the expenses of a normal wedding, so he saved money by marrying her to a dog instead of a boy. The marriage is one of convenience: Karnamoni remains free to marry in the future-even without a divorce from the dog.

Explosive discovery

A woman in Papillion, Neb., must be pleased that at least one option on her recently bought car didn't work as designed. While she was trying to fix her used car's air-conditioning system, a half-foot-long homemade bomb fell out of a vent. Authorities say the woman purchased the car from a dealership and that the car was once used as a rental, making it difficult to track down the bomb's maker.

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The San Antonio Spurs defeated the New Jersey Nets in the National Basketball Association Finals-but lost to an Everybody Loves Raymond rerun in the Nielsen ratings. Overall, this month's NBA Finals drew its lowest TV ratings in at least 27 years, Nielsen Media Research reported last week. The low ratings dropped ABC to third for the week of the Finals, behind CBS and NBC, which mainly ran reruns of popular dramas and comedies.

Too cheap to be true?

An $89 plane ticket from Los Angeles to Honolulu would be a bargain-if it were real. But authorities say "Mainline Airways," which sold hundreds of such tickets, was a fictional creation of 18-year-old college student Luke Thompson of Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. The fake airline had an elaborate website that took credit-card orders-but no planes, crews, or permits. Mr. Thompson, who now says Mainline was merely a "tour operator," could face criminal charges.

Compact fridge

It could be called a David vs. Goliath contest, but the little guy is the champ and the 400-pounder is the challenger. Former NFL star William "The Refrigerator" Perry last week earned the right to take on 130-pound Takeru Kobayashi in the annual July 4 hot dog eating contest at Coney Island. Mr. Kobayashi, two-time champion of the event, set a world record last year by eating 50 and a half hot dogs in 12 minutes.

Nabbing Nelsons

It's not easy being "David Nelson" nowadays. David Nelsons across the country report being stopped by authorities who are apparently looking for a terrorist suspect with that name. Even former child star David Nelson was caught in the dragnet. Ozzie and Harriet's son told the Los Angeles Daily News that he was stopped at one airport until two police officers recognized him. On another flight, the FBI searched him before boarding. "It's weird because you're standing there ready to board the plane, and you hand the ticket over to the person behind the desk and all of a sudden their face lights up and they become silent," another David Nelson, this one from Beachwood, Ohio, told the Akron Beacon Journal. The Transportation Security Administration claims a name-matching technology used by many airlines caused the problem.

Clenched Jaws

British comedian Guy Venables may face criminal charges for scaring a shark to death. As part of a publicity stunt this month, Mr. Venables, without any clothes on, jumped into a tank holding a 12-year-old smooth hound shark at the Brighton Sea Life Center. Smooth hound sharks are "susceptible to stress," according to the center's Lisa Handscomb, and the shark died suddenly two days after the stunt. "We are very concerned he died as a result of seeing Mr. Venables jumping into the tank," she told the Daily Telegraph. The center's biologists are examining the shark corpse, and "if it is found that he died from stress, we will prosecute Mr. Venables for criminal damage," she said.

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