Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary

JANUARY 26, 1998: 

Dateline: Croatia--Jako Vrancic, a peasant farmer living near the coastal town of Sibenik, took a pause recently from his cattle tending duties to chat in Croatian with four space aliens who landed in his field. "I felt no fear, as I had previously seen things like this on TV," said the elderly man who is described as honest and down to earth by his friends. Vrancic said the aliens, who landed in an "iron-shaped" spacecraft, were quite short and spoke a broken form of Croatian. The farmer offered the aliens some ham and dried figs, but they refused, saying they were not hungry.

Dateline: Germany--The German Defense Ministry announced last Wednesday that German conscripts who consider army underwear not sexy enough will be offered one-time payments to purchase briefs of their own choosing. Army officials made the concession after learning that the starched white briefs, vest and T-shirts issued to all new recruits were often left unused in the drawer. Now recruits who wish to forgo army-issue undergarments will be given a 50 mark ($25) allotment to procure their own skivvies.

Dateline: Peru--A newly completed wooden suspension bridge promptly collapsed last Sunday under the weight of local dignitaries who had arrived to celebrate its grand opening. The $44,000 structure, which spanned a river in the village of Aucayacu, fell apart under the combined weight of some 50 people--including local military and government officials who had gathered to cheer the inauguration. Ten people were seriously injured, and another 20 were less seriously injured from the fall. "We had cracked open two bottles of champagne on the bridge, and when we smashed the third one, it just came falling down," said local official Luis Contreras.

Dateline: California--The Los Angeles City Council has voted 9-6 to uphold a new ordinance that bans gas-powered leaf-blowers. In reaching their decision, the council ignored a hunger strike by local gardeners who fear the ban would harm their livelihood. Despite the council's decision, some 11 local gardeners have vowed to continue their week-long hunger strike, arguing that banning leaf-blowers unfairly targets Mexican immigrants. The gardeners, who have vowed "to continue the hunger strike even if we are to die," claim that they would lose money if forced to use less powerful electric blowers. Opponents of leaf-blowers, led by former "Mission: Impossible" star Peter Graves, say the machines are noisy and pollute the atmosphere.

Dateline: Georgia--Georgia Gov. Zell Miller has proposed a new state budget which includes a free classical music tape or CD for every newborn in the state. Miller believes the music will contribute to the intellectual development of Georgia's youth. The plan would cost an estimated $105,000 per year.

Dateline: California--How stupid are you? Please feel free to use the following case as a litmus test. A 22-year-old man in Fountain Valley, Calif., used his computer to log onto an online chat session late last week. The distraught man was apparently threatening to shoot himself after the breakup of his "cyberomance" with a woman in Australia. Unable to locate the man, Fountain Valley police logged onto the chat room posing as a sympathetic local female. The police kept the man engaged in conversation for several hours and finally lured him to a nearby coffee shop. When the man showed up to meet his new "date," police nabbed him and dragged him off for psychiatric testing.

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