BILL AND HILLARY, Zoe and Kimba, an Oregon senator and a cast of dozens, Milosevic and Aideed, the M'Jays (Jordan and Jackson), Boutros and Boutros-Ghali, John and Lorena -- those are the people who made the headlines. But other newsmakers were busy too, even though their stories were less widely reported ...

LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS

Jackie T. Stipes was arrested in Johnson City, Tenn., in January, reported the Johnson City Press. Allegedly he was intending to burglarize a house when he got stuck in the dog door.

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, three men who were attempting to steal copper wire off live electrical lines in January near Mineral Wells, Tex.s, were electrocuted.

Edilber Guimaraes, 19, was arrested in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in November for attempted theft at a glue factory. He had stopped to sniff some of the glue he was stealing but accidentally knocked over two large cans of the stuff. When police arrived at the factory 36 hours later, according to an Associated Press report in the San Francisco Examiner, they found Guimaraes sitting immobile, glued to the floor.

WAR IS STILL HELL

As President Bush ordered air strikes against Iraq during his last days in office in January, Patriot missile launchers were set up, as a precaution, on what are the fairways for six holes of the golf course at the Hunting & Equestrian Club in Kuwait City. Golfer Walid Al-Tailji told the Associated Press in a story reported in the New Haven Register, "I know national security is a priority, but this {inconvenience to golfers} is another form of invasion."

LEAST COMPETENT TV REPORTER

The Los Angeles Times reported in February that station KCBS-TV, after promising an interviewee that it would protect her identity if she talked about neighborhood drug traffic on the air, edited the piece carelessly. The report gave the woman's age, occupation, hair color (blond) and first name and showed the inside of her apartment and what a view from her window looks out on. Three days after the broadcast, a Molotov cocktail was thrown through her window.

DIDN'T ASK, DIDN'T TELL

In the course of investigating a charge of fraud against Portuguese Army Gen. Tito Anibal da Paixao Gomes, a highly decorated soldier, authorities discovered he was really a she -- Teresinha Gomes. For 18 years, according to an Associated Press story in the Columbus Dispatch, Gomes had pretended to be a man and was married to a woman.

A NEW FRONTIER IN COMPULSIVE BEHAVIOR

In May, Elk River, Minn., landlord Todd Plaisted reported that his tenant Kenneth Lane had fled the area, abandoning his rented farmhouse and leaving behind at least 400 tons of used carpeting he had buried, at least 10,000 plastic windows from Northwest Airlines planes, and rooms full of sofas, mattresses and washing machines, among other things. According to a story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, a deputy sheriff driving by the farmhouse last year saw Lane burying carpeting with a tractor and stopped to question him. Said Lane, panicking, "I don't know what to say. You got me. I even make up an excuse." Seeing no illegal activity, the deputy moved on.

ONE ARTIST'S BODY OF WORK

The French performance artist Orlan recently completed the fifth of seven episodes of plastic surgery in her four-year attempt at art by personal body transformation. According to the magazine Art in America, she is having parts of her face and body modified to conform to Renaissance and post-Renaissance ideals of feminine beauty, and when she finishes, an advertising agency will select a name for her reflecting her new persona.

KITCHEN BAZAAR REPORTS RUN ON FILET KNIVES

In a four-month period, at least three men besides John Bobbitt had their genitals trashed by angry women. In April, a 29-year-old woman in Milwaukee partially severed her boyfriend's penis after he announced that he wanted to break up, reported the Milwaukee Journal. In Waynesville, N.C., in July, Cynthia Mason Gillett, 28, was charged with setting her husband's genitals on fire while he slept after an argument, reported the Charlotte Observer. In April, Jose Dogelio, 31, was shot in the penis by a woman he was "flashing" on a street in Dasmarinas, Philippines, according to the Manila newspaper, People's Journal.

FIRST THINGS FIRST (I)

In April, according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the Montana Legislature passed a harsh animal-abuse law that increased the penalty for a second conviction to two years in prison and a $1,000 fine. The state's maximum penalty for second-offense spouse-abuse is six months and $500.

MAKES BOB PACKWOOD LOOK LIKE A STATESMAN

Georgia state Rep. Jimmy Benefield, 52, confirmed that he had once brought a dildo onto the floor of the Legislature. According to two lobbyists, quoted in the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier, Benefield walked around the halls wearing the dildo covered by an apron over his suit; occasionally he would flash it at passersby.

MISSED THE POINT

In September, Stanford University professor Donald Kennedy began teaching a course on ethics. Kennedy was president of Stanford during the time the school improperly used over $2 million in federal research grants for such things as paneling Kennedy's own bedroom, but in a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, he said he "{doesn't} see any irony" in his teaching the course. "Nobody's found anybody who is ethically deficient here. All of us admitted that Stanford had made some mistakes."

IN THE ORATORS' HALL OF FAME

In May, Baron Trevor, a member of the British House of Lords since 1950, finally took to the floor to make his maiden speech, saying that after 43 years he had finally found an issue "that affected the locality in which I live." According to a Reuter story in the Boston Globe, he spoke on the need not to over-supervise police officers.

South African KwaZulu leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi began his annual state-of-the-state policy address to the KwaZulu legislature on March 12, according to an Associated Press dispatch in the Deseret News. He spoke continuously during weekday business hours and finished on March 30 -- reading 427 pages of text.

BERT PARKS, MEET FRANZ KAFKA

In May, to boost morale in Sarajevo, local fashion designers and the Bosnian army organized a "Miss Besieged Sarajevo" beauty pageant, even though a few of the contestants' bodies were marred by shrapnel scars. During a procession on stage, according to an Associated Press report in New York Newsday, the contestants held a banner reading, in English, "Don't Let Them Kill Us." The 17-year-old winner, questioned by a reporter, responded, "Plans? I have no plans. I may not even be alive tomorrow."

WONDER WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF WE MADE A SUCKING SOUND?

The Syracuse Herald-Journal reported in January that its telephone hotline, featuring excerpts of the presidential debates last fall, was successful except for one glitch: Ross Perot's voice sometimes hit a pitch that mimicked a certain telephone tone that automatically shut down the whole system.

BENSON & HEDGING

The Harrisburg, Pa., Patriot-News reported in March that the state's largest health insurer, Pennsylvania Blue Shield, had bought $1.8 million worth of stock in Philip Morris Inc. in 1992 and nearly $10 million worth since 1990.

ACCORDING TO THE DEFENDANT, ALL THE MONEY ON EARTH WON'T BE ENOUGH

Four families in Burlington County, N.J., filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Church in March because the church had permitted an alleged sexual-abusing priest to remain at the St. Mary of the Lakes Church in Medford. In addition to the usual damages asked, according to the Hunterdon County Democrat, the families asked for an unspecified amount of money because the incident had destroyed their religious faith and thus severely reduced their chances of being admitted to heaven.

FIRST THINGS FIRST (II)

The Pasadena, Calif., Humane Society, using private funds, early in the year began construction of a $4.3 million dog-and-cat shelter, with towel-lined cages, skylights, "microclimate" air-conditioning, an aviary, sculptured bushes, "adoption counseling pavilions" in which people can meet with their prospective companion animals, and, according to the architect, "a very subdued classical painting scheme." The Los Angeles Times, noting that there are four times as many shelters in the United States for animals as for battered women, quoted a caseworker for a local homeless-person shelter: "It's mind-boggling. I want to know {who} their {funders} are."

"MY FRIENDS, WHAT I OFFER YOU IS LEADERSHIP!"

A week before the April Los Angeles mayoral primary, candidate Tom Houston held a "news conference" 60 feet underwater one mile into Santa Monica Bay to publicize an environmental program, reported the Los Angeles Times. However, only one reporter attended, and he got seasick; the water was too murky for Houston's campaign banner to be visible; several divers in Houston's party panicked after becoming separated in the cloudy water; and Houston himself developed breathing problems at a depth of 10 feet, had to be rescued, and called the whole thing off. He finished well back in a field of 24.

ALL POLITICS IS A GAME, ANYWAY, BUT AT LEAST THIS ONE IS IN A PUBLIC GYM AND YOU CAN KEEP SCORE

In May, to help it decide on which of two sites to build a nuclear waste landfill, a team from the North Carolina legislature scheduled a basketball game with a team from the South Carolina legislature, according to an article in the Charlotte Observer. If the North Carolinians won, the landfill could be close to the N.C.-S.C. border; if they lost, it would be located in the interior of the state. The South Carolinians played the game, but renounced the stakes, which they said would violate their state's anti-gambling laws.

AND IN WASHINGTON, NO LIES WERE TOLD

From 7 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, through 7 a.m. the next day, no murders, bank robberies or fatal arson crimes were reported in any part of New York City, according to an Associated Press report in the New Haven Register.

NOT TO MENTION THE CHOLESTEROL

The Jerusalem News Service reported in June that chemist Rabbi Moshe Antelman has invented a bullet that he believes will do more than merely kill Islamic fundamentalist terrorists physically. The bullets contain small amounts of pork, and many Moslems believe that any contact with swine will kill their souls.

"HI, THERE, MR. MILKEN. MY NAME IS BRUNO."

In May, Malaysian Law Minister Syed Hamid Syed Albar told the Star newspaper in Kuala Lumpur that the government would institute public floggings of white-collar criminals by the end of the year.

THE ENVIRONMENTALLY CORRECT ARMAGEDDON

The Air Force announced plans to retrofit each of its ICBMs, which carry from three to 10 nuclear bombs that can wipe out entire cities, with new cooling systems, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. The reason for the switch is to eliminate systems that use chlorofluorocarbons, which are suspected of destroying the earth's ozone layer.

HEADLINE: "U. S. RETAINS LEAD IN TECHNOLOGY..."

A June Boston Globe story on the Soiree strip joint in South Boston disclosed that dancer Taylor Monet, 33, has the world's first inflatable breasts, the result of an innovative "valve and hose" implantation that allows her to inject or extract a saline solution to vary the size of her silicone breasts between a minimum 40-D and a maximum 96.

HEADLINE: "...BUT HERE COMES JAPAN"

The Environmental Assessment Center in Okayama, Japan, announced in October that it had manufactured an experimental sausage out of recycled Tokyo sewage by adding soybean protein and steak flavoring to "sewage solids." A Reuter story carried in the Boston Globe quoted a company spokesman as saying that he did not foresee commercially marketing the sausage: "Sewage does have a slight image problem. I don't think people will be content eating something they know has been excreted by humans."

Chuck Shepherd writes the weekly syndicated column, "News of the Weird," which appears in Washington City Paper.