'Wolf Files' Hits Bookstores

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No matter how strange, I try to deal fairly with every subject in this book, yet still go for the laugh. It's sometimes hard to think what place offbeat stories have in a newsroom, yet nearly every news organization, including the Associated Press and Reuters, devotes a regular feature to weird news. At their best, these stories somehow throw light on the world we're living in. I've tried to distinguish The Wolf Files by avoiding stories based on botched crimes and quirky accidents — to avoid poking fun at incidents that involve pain or suffering. Of course, I make exceptions for shameless self-promoters who have turned their lives into punch lines. Hence, the occasional calls from the porn-star-turned-standup-comic-turned-sideshow-attraction better known as John Wayne Bobbitt. As for my personal journey in the wide world of weird, it's up to the readers to decide on its merits. Let me assure you that I'm having significantly more fun than Bobbitt and it comes at a fraction of the pain. Buck Wolf, New York 2003 Vintage Wolf Files

Dead Man Sparkling More Americans are turning to cremation, and they're doing unusual things with the ashes of their loved ones. One company turns cremated ashes into diamonds. Other companies will turn ashes into portraits or objects of art.

Talk about Ultimate Frisbee: The inventor of the flying disk, Ed Headrick, had his ashes crushed into a flying disk. The ashes of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry boldly went were no urn had gone before — into orbit, via a U.S. satellite.

Stanley Cup Misadventures Every player on the team that wins the Stanley Cup gets to keep sports' most famous trophy for a day. Some hockey players sleep with the cup. Others have taken it to a strip club.

The Stanley Cup has been used as a champagne cup, dog-food bowl and baptismal font. On one afternoon, The Wolf Files took the cup on a little tour of Central Park.

Muppet Sexuality You probably laughed off those rumors that Ernie and Bert are gay. After all, they're puppets. But The Wolf Files looks into the origins of the muppet sex scandal and Sesame Street's ongoing denial of any hanky-panky.

Bizarre Baby Naming If you look at Social Security records, baby names get stranger and stranger. You'll find some kids named "Gouda," "Almond," "Cappuccino," "Veal," and even "Bologna." Parents aren't just naming their kids after food, they're naming them after their favorite movie characters. In the last few years, you'll find little boys named Neo and Morpheus, while Trinity became a popular name for girls.