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March 2000

2 March 2000

The teacher took his Pokemon cards away because they were against the rules. The intention was to return them at the end of the school day, but they vanished. The boy sued for $5000, $2160 of which is the value of equivalent cards in mint condtion. The judge awarded him $1500. He is upset that he was told that an appeal would probably have little chance of success, saying this comment is worth a lawsuit.

This month has been given the following designations: Bible Women Awareness Month, Ethics Awareness Month, Hemophilia Month (Bleed someone today!), American Red Cross Month, Humorists Are Artists Month, International Mirth Month, International Listening Awareness Month, Irish-American Heritage Month, Mental Retardation Awareness Month (tell them they are retarded today; they need to know!), Music In Our Schools Month, National Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month, National Craft Month, National Eye Donor Month, National Frozen Food Month, National Humane Education Awareness Month, National Kidney Month, National Nutrition Month, National Professional Social Work Month, National Sauce Month, National Talk With Your Teen About Sex Month, National Women's History Month, Optimism Month, Poison Prevention Awareness Month, Rosacea Awareness Month, Workplace Eye Health and Safety Month, and Youth Art Month.
This is also National Write A Letter of Appreciation Week, Return the Borrowed Books Week, Save Your Vision Week, and Universal Human Beings Week.

One of last month's designations got a Boston bar in trouble. Their display for Black History Month angered a black member of the city coundil enough that licensing officials will consider revoking their alcohol licence.
The display used native statues and more than 20 stuffed monkeys. 'I don't think this is funny at all. I'm proud of my African heritage and I'm insulted', said City Councilor Charles Yancey.
The intricate display's monkeys were hanging from vines and living in straw tree houses. Bar owner Tom English said it was an 'African jungle display' and denies that it was meant as a racial joke, although a bartender and patrons said it was for Black History Month. He said he has put up displays for ten years, using pirate, cartoon, and other motifs.
Licensing board spokeswoman Kathleen McNally said the agency has taken 41 formal complaints regarding the bar so far, in addition to several anonymous complaints and some from city officials.
A Dorchester group invited English to open his doors to the black community to allow for an appropriate Black History Month celebration.

In Missouri, the driver sped into the distance at speeds reaching 130 km/h in the SUV he just stole. Several motorists watched the bouncing boy hanging from a seatbeld outside one of the doors.
Jake Robel, six years of age, died before pursuing motorists (one car and two trucks) made the driver stop. One of the chasers said: 'He came flying around us, and we saw the kid hanging out the side of the car bouncing.' The five pursuers wrestled the fleeing man to the ground and tied him with rope.
Police said Robel's mother left the Blazer's engine running while she went into a sandwich shop. Carjacker Kim Davis pushed the boy out of the car and drove off.
Davis is being charged with second-degree murder.

Someone in a Toronto control room 'threw the wrong switch', and something unexpected came at the end of a World Wrestling Federation pay-per-view event at Silver City Polo Park and 16 other theatres across Canada. This resulted in several hundred children seing explicit porn.
'What an introduction to sex', said Ivy Allaman of the naked kneeling woman who was seen performing fellatio in the clip. 'The most he's ever seen before is kissing', she said.
The event was over, and the lights were coming up. People delayed while while gathering their coats as the view was shown on the nine-by-18-metre screen with digital surround sound. A parent said: 'Some kids were screaming and stuff, some were white as a ghost and some adults were laughing.' This was an unexpected birthday present for his 11-year-old son, but the man grabbed his younger son and prevented him seeing it. The family were refunded their US$69.96.
Famouse Players hired Bell ExpressVu to download the satellite feed and broadcast it to theatres. The latter's VP of technology said the tech responsible for programming the satellite signals accidentally switched to adult channel Venus. 'It's totally the most terrible thing we could have done', he said. The company is rewiring its system to permanently lock out all adult stations.

7 March 2000

UndercoverWear of Massachusetts planned to donate US$200000 and 20000 nightgowns to homeless shelters. Their plan involved asking customers to send photos of themselves in their 'ugliest nightie'. A new $40 nightgown and some cash would go to a shelter for each photograph received. However, the National Coalition for the Homeless refused the participation of member agencies. Its executive director, Mary Ann Gleason, said the lingerie company 'exploited women' with its 'sometimes naughty' products. And the ugly nightie idea 'just felt weird to me'.

As a follow-up to my piece on the Black History Month display in a US bar, the Boston Herald reports that a stuffed gorilla wearing a crown was featured at the bar for Martin Luther King Day. The Boston Licensing Commission meets later this week to decide the bar's fate.

Some would ask 'Why pay so much for so little?' of the fashions which accompany nubile bodies down the catwalk. No more, if Yohji Yamamoto has his way. In a recent high-power fashion show, his models were auilted and padded, with oversized fur hats and mittens.
He feels that seasonality should be taken seriously. For those who would only be satisfied with bare legs, he cut little dresses from imitation fur. Other models wore lambskin parkas and camel hair coat-dresses. All models wore headgear, and the obligatory 'bridal' finale featured an Inuit baby.

Quote of the day: George W. Bush, who is trying to follow his father to the US Presidency, may be following his father's vice president instead. He told students at a New Hampshire elementary school, 'This is Preservation Month. I appreciate preservation. This is what you do when you run for president. You've got to preserve'. The students were observing 'Perseverance Month'.

They can't find people. Giving you added faith in the US government, the US Census Bureau has incorrectly addressed 120 million letters telling Americans to be expecting the census questionnaire. The error involved the addition of an extra digit to the beginning of street addresses. Census Bureau Director Kenneth Prewitt blames the error on a contractor who was paid $5.6 million for the job. The contractor's identity was not disclosed. The mistake was discovered by chance last week by a postal manager in New England.

After Deo Dubbs, an 88-year-old from Florida, was arrested for buying crack cocaine, he worried that the arrest might 'spoil whatever reputation I have' at the Senior Friendship Center.
He said: 'I really have nothing else to do. I get lonely and get tired of watching the tube.' Given that he faces up to five years in prison, boredom may not be his only concern in the naer future.
Dubbs bought two rocks of crack cocaine after haggling the price down with an undercover police officer.

11 March 2000

All in the cards
Maria Morales was promised a free palm reading by the woman in the grocery store. After two palm and tarot card readings at a nearby house, Morales was convinced the woman knew more about her life than a normal person could.
At her final meeting with Morales, the woman, known to Morales and others as Patty, asked if she could bless Morales's jewellery overnight. This included two gold bracelete, two gold necklaces, and various rings, including a 2.7-carat diamond engagement ring, a half-carat diamond 'promise ring', and three ruby rings.
Surprisingly, Patty was not at the house the next couple days. Morales finally asked a neighbour if Patty was all right and was told that the house had been vacant for some time.
Morales said she goes back to the house every few hours in hopes that the woman will reappear. She also filed a police report. Morales later said: 'Like a fool, I believed her.'

Do it yourself next time
A Montreal couple sought a discreet photographer who, for $900, took erotic pictures of them. A while later, he asked if he could use their images, if darkened and slightly altered, on his business cards. They asked to see the result first and never heard back from him. It was a couple months later when the wife found herself, and her husband, on a poster in a sex shop.
Their pictures were also posted on the photographer's website and placed in adverts in an erotic magazine. The couple are seeking an injuunction and Michel Letourneau's negatives. They claim they may suffer professionally because of the incident. The husband works as a sales rep for a multinational company and the wife is a child care worker.
The legal papers said: 'The photos taken of the couple contain nudity and are extremely personal, intimate and of a private nature.' They met Letourneau at an annual Love and Seduction Show.
When visiting another sex shop near Valentine's Day, the wife was prevented by staff from tearing down one of the relevant posters.

If you liked Alien...
According to AFP reports, a Chinese farmer grew to adulthood with the partially developed foetus of an identical twin inside him. The Xinhua news agency reported that this was discovered via ultrasound after the Shaanxi (northern province) man hurt his stomach at work. The six-kilo cyst contained an ossified foetus.
The man underwent surgery at Hanzhong medical school, after carrying the dead but still-developing - thanks to the spleen artery - cyst for 28 years. The thing had genitals the size of those of a three-year-old boy but also featured a foetal-style navel.
His family said he had a particularly large stomach since birth.

I present to you used popcorn
Otherwise known as 'old maids', those tough kernels which didn't pop are available for purchase in the US under the name 'Pop Nots'. They are currently available only in butter flavour.
The packet describes old maids as having more 'real corn' flavour than the popped kernels.
Actually, they aren't factory rejects, we are told. 'We figured out a way to half-pop every piece and soften up the kernel so you can enjoy the great corn flavor you love in every bite of PopNots!', says the marketing material. I have no news as to whether the venture is being coo-opted by the Dentists' Cabal.

How does this fit into the aliens' masterplan
When Mike Roberts arrived home to find the back-door glass broken and a stranger bleeding on his couch, it seemed obvious that this was a would-be burglar. But let's not make assumptions. After Roberts grabbed the man, threw him on the floor, and screamed at him, the man denied breaking and entering. He claimed that he had been abducted by aliens two hours earlier in Davenport, Iowa, and was deposited in the house.
Brian Waddington stuck to this story when questioned by police. He is now being held on $13000 bond. Roberts is annoyed by the whole thing, especially that 'he acted like he belonged there'.

Mardi Gras knickers and knockers knocked
And in Louisiana, the Gretna City Council has decided to legalise the throwing of knickers from Mardi Gras parade floats into the audience. Originally, this behaviour was determined to be outlawed by an ordinance banning the throwing of anything representing 'male or female genitalia .. not limited to, condoms and inflatable paraphernalia'. The recent decision was made after a local marching club argued that 'panties have been a legitimate throw for Mardi Gras for years'.
'So we're pro-panties - it's on the record', said city council member Vincent Cox.
The hand that giveth also taketh away. Enforcement of laws against another Mardi Gras throwing tradition - throwing beads from balconies to reward women who flash their breasts - began in earnest after Playboy magazine gave advice on how to get the best photos of the breasts. 'There's no huge crackdown on Carnival fun', said a police spokesman, but 'it would be irresponsible of us not to respond. After all, we are the police department'.

17 March 2000

According to UPI reports, Robert William Handley has been refused in his attempt to change his name. An Ohio judge decided that it would not be appropriate for Handley to become 'Santa Claus' legally.
Handley's portrayal of Santa is supposedly respectful, and he does look the part: gut, beard, and all. So what's the problem. The judge explained that it would traumatise children to find Santa's name in the Columbus newspaper's obituaries column: Judge Thomas Stone's opinion said: 'An obituary for Santa Claus would be the inevitable result of a name change to Santa Claus. The sorrow caused from the sight of such an obituary should be avoided.'
Stone also said he doubts anyone can live up to the high ideal of Santa Claus, who is an important part of American culture.
Handley disagreed, saying that children who believe in Santa either can't read the paper or wouldn't read the obituaries. He added, 'What kind of parent would tell their child, "Oh look, Santa is dead. I don't have to get you a Christmas present"?'. Good thing I'm not a parent, I guess.

Government agencies often set an example of equal opportunity employment People were shocked when a blind snack bar worker at a Rhode Island state traffic court building was duped by a patron.
Richard Fracasso, who can tell the difference between light and dark, was surprised when a friend asked him why he had a mixture of $1 and $20 notes in the $20 slot of the till. Although Fracasso can distinguish coins by their feel, he relies on customers to tell him how much change they expect.
He did remember one woman who often said she was giving him a $20 bill. On her return, she asked change from $20 when buying apple juice, and he checked the bill in an electronic scanner he 'keeps for emergencies'. It was indeed a $1 bill. After Fracasso called security, Pamela Bingham was fired from the court clerk position she had held for two months.
If you ever go to Providence, Rhode Island, remember to ask for change from $1000.

When two homeless men were looking for food in a St. Louis, Missouri, apartment, they found a frozen baby. Instead of eating it, they contacted authorities.
Kim Allen, owner of the building, said she gave birth on 4 July, 1993, and left the body in a freezer. An inquiry continues as to whether or not the 42-year-old woman killed the baby by freezing it or merely broke the law by not disposing of the body legally.
A police spokesman said: 'She is obviously a troubled woman. She lived in that apartment while her baby was in the freezer.'

I don't need to say much about my final item. They did reattach the arm. 'The boy was alone when he walked up to the animal's cage Wednesday and stuck his arm inside. The tiger is his uncle's pet and was being kept in a chain-link cage in the Houston suburb of Channelview.'

29 March 2000

Dixons asked its technicians to list the weirdest objects they found in customers' PCs in the last six months. The list includes love letters and severed fingers.
One claimed to have found a fingertip which the user lost when attempting to intall a graphics card. The ill-balanced monitor hit the lid of the case and left the meat inside. An online shopper entered credit card details by sticking a credit card in the floppy drive slot.
Among computer fauna, a two-inch-long spider and a dead mouse featured.
Some items were superstition-related. One tech said the wishbone was intended to act as a talisman and stop the machine crashing. Another user wanted the machine to smell nice so put potpourri in the case.
Dixons quizzed experts who were part of PC World's 'healthcheck' sessions wherein customers have technicians look in their machines and tell them how to get more out of existing or new components.
The sessions cost £39.99 , but one technician found L125 in a machine and returned it to the customer, who said he had bought the machine second-hand at a church fair. As for the love letters, the customer denied knowing anything about them. It wasn't mentioned if there was a partner or spouse present.

Don't you wish you were Javanese? Police in Cilacap arrested a shaman for tricking women into having sex with him. He told his female patients his healing powers allowed him to grant their wishes. First, the woman was to bathe and lie naked in his house. Then, a police spokesman said, Shaman Suryono told them that 'while in the room if a man approached them looking like Suryono it was actually a genie who would make their wishes come true as long as they did what this supposed genie said'. The women paid the healer for the privelege. At least 35 women were taken in by the 36-year-old man.

Gateway Computers, known for their dappled boxes, are trying to corner the idiot market. Their new line of machines includes the Gateway Astro, which costs only £549 and gives you an iMac-esque all-in-one machine, including speakers and 15-inchish monitor. This follows from the findings of a 'why don't you have a computer' survey wherein 2/3 of UK respondents said they were too poor to own a PC and about half said they were too stupid. Well, okay, specifically, machines were 'difficult to use' for 51 per cent and were difficult to set up for 43 per cent. Keep reading.
The survey respondents also indicated other issues. Twenty per cent of people said they had argued with their partner about setting up electrical goods at home - some of these having trouble setting up their toasters. (Whether this was a question designed to weed out silly responses was not mentioned. To be fair, this was only about 10 people out of about 1000.)

For what it's worth, German Chancellor Schroeder must pay DM686 per month to be chauffered to and from official engagements in a bullet-proof limousine. Were he to use this car for personal business, he would have to pay much more by way of taxes, so his solution is to drive his wife's Volkswagen. His bodyguards follow in a bullet-proof limousine. For more of what it's worth, Guinness paid for a moustache study which indicated that some Guinness goes to waste..

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© 2000 Anna Shefl