A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
A sampling of news items about people who may have voted in recent elections.
[from Hickory Daily Record]
Ken Charles Barger, 47, accidentally shot himself to death in December in Newton, N.C., when, awakening to the sound of a ringing telephone beside his bed, he reached for the phone but grabbed instead a Smith & Wesson .38 Special, which discharged when he drew it to his ear.
[from Bloomburg News Service]
A terrible diet and room with no ventilation are being blamed for the death of a man who was killed by his own gas. There was no mark on his body but an autopsy showed large amounts of methane gas in his system. His diet had consisted primarily of beans and cabbage (and a couple of other things). It was just the right combination of foods. It appears that the man died in his sleep from breathing the poisonous cloud that was hanging over his bed. Had he been outside or had his windows been opened, it wouldn’t have been fatal. But the man was shut up in his near airtight bedroom. According to the article, “He was a big man with a huge capacity for creating this deadly gas.” Three of the rescuers got sick and one was hospitalized.
[from The News of the Weird.]
Michael Anderson Godwin had spent several years awaiting South Carolina’s electric chair on a murder conviction before having his sentence reduced to life in prison. Whilst sitting on a metal toilet in his cell and attempting to fix his small TV set, he bit into a wire and was electrocuted.
[from The Indianapolis Star]
A Jay County man using a cigarette lighter to check the barrel of a muzzle loader was killed Monday night when the weapon discharged in his face, sheriff’s investigators said. Gregory David Pryor, 19, died in his parents’ rural Dunkirk home about 11:30 p.m. investigators said Pryor was cleaning a .54-caliber muzzleloader that had not been firing properly. He was using the lighter to look into the barrel when the gunpowder ignited.
[from Associated Press]
Robert Puelo, 32, was apparently being disorderly in a St. Louis market. When the clerk threatened to call police, Puelo grabbed a hot dog, shoved it in his mouth, and walked out without paying for it. Police found him unconscious in front of the store. Paramedics removed the six-inch wiener from his throat, where it had choked him to death.
[from Associated Press]
A man at a party popped a blasting cap into his mouth and bit down, triggering an explosion that blew off his lips, teeth and tongue, State Police said Wednesday. Jerry Stromyer, 24, of Kincaid, West Virginia, bit the blasting cap as a prank during a party late Tuesday night, said Cpl M.D. Payne. “Another man had it in an aquarium, hooked to a battery, and was trying explode it,” Payne said. “It wouldn’t go off and this guy said, ‘I’ll show you how to set it off.'”
[from Arkansas Democrat Gazette]
Two local men were seriously injured when their pick-up truck left the road and struck a tree near Cotton Patch on State Highway 38 early Monday morning. Woodruff County deputy Dovey Snyder reported the accident shortly after midnight Monday. Thurston Poole, 33, of Des Arc, and Billy Ray Wallis, 38, of Little Rock, are listed in serious condition at Baptist Medical Center. The accident occurred as the two men were returning to Des Arc after a frog gigging trip. On an overcast Sunday night, Poole’s pick-up truck headlights malfunctioned. The two men concluded that the headlight fuse on the older model truck had burned out. As a replacement fuse was not available, Wallis noticed that the bullet from his pistol fit perfectly into the fuse box next to the steering wheel column. Upon inserting the bullet, the headlights again began to operate properly, and the two men proceeded on east-bound toward the White River bridge. After travelling approximately twenty miles and just before crossing the river, the bullet apparently overheated, discharged and struck Poole in the right testicle. The vehicle swerved sharply to the right exiting the pavement and striking a tree. Poole suffered only minor cuts and abrasions from the accident, but will require surgery to repair the other wound. Wallis sustained a broken clavicle and was treated and released. “Thank God we weren’t on that bridge when Thurston shot his balls off or we might both be dead,” stated Wallis. “I’ve been a trooper for ten years in this part of the world, but this is a first for me. I can’t believe that those two would admit how this accident happened”, said Snyder. Upon being notified of the wreck, Lavinia, Poole’s wife, asked how many frogs the boys had caught and did anyone get them from the truck.
These are actual news items collected by Professor Wesley Wildman who teaches philosophy, theology, religion, and ethics at Boston University in the United States.