Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary

APRIL 20, 1998: 

Dateline: South Africa--It's a race to recreate the Titanic. Late last week, a South African company announced plans to use the original blueprints to build a brand new Titanic for service as a modern cruise ship. The company plans to have the ship--complete with adequate lifeboats--ready to sail on New Year's Eve 2000. That's two years before the launching date announced by White Star Lines, Ltd., a Swiss/U.S. company, several days earlier. On Tuesday, White Star had announced their plans to rebuild the Titanic to sail in 2002--the 90th anniversary of the original Titanic's sinking. The White Star company says their ship will cost half a billion dollars, while tickets of the fate-tempting voyage could run upwards of $10,000.

Dateline: Mexico--The Virgin Mary continued her penchant for appearing in food last week. A cake baked in eastern Mexico has attracted dozens of faithful, who believe that the Virgin's image in the cake is a Holy Week Miracle. Homemaker Fernanda Rivas told reporters she nearly fainted when she pulled the cake from her oven and saw the shrouded virgin's outline in the middle of the dessert. Catholic residents of Bacalar village in eastern Quintana Roo state on the Caribbean Sea have gathered to admire the cake at a makeshift altar in Rivas' home. Reports of the Virgin Mary's appearance have been increasing in the past year. The faithful have seen her image in everything from the dented fender of an old Chevy in northern Mexico to a sewage stain in a Mexico City subway station.

Dateline: Mexico--Angry protesters in Mexico City expressed their views on government financial reforms by hanging their underwear on the finance minister's door last Wednesday. Proposed legislation working its way through Mexico's Congress would provide for the faster sell-off of a mountain of bad debt the government acquired from banks after the 1994 peso crash. Assorted lace panties and freshly-washed boxer shorts were strung on clothes lines across the glass doors of the finance ministry by bank debtors who wanted to draw attention to their plight.

Dateline: California--In a unique attempt to drive the Baker Street Gang from their favorite spot for loud and occasionally violent parties, City Councilors in Fullerton, Calif., are considering a proposal changing the name of Baker Street to Pansy Circle.

Dateline: Washington--A newly appointed municipal judge outside of Tacoma was forced to resign last week for what he called a "misguided sense of congeniality." On Feb. 20, Lakewood Municipal Court Judge Ralph H. Baldwin left the courtroom during jury deliberations in a drunken driving case and returned with a 12-pack of beer, which he graciously offered to share with lawyers for both sides. According to eyewitnesses, Baldwin made such remarks as, "I know this is uncommon and kind of funny following a DUI case," and "I'll deny it if any of you repeat it." After the guilty verdict came back, two members of the jury and the assistant city attorney took up Baldwin's invitation to "stay for a cold one" in the jury room. When Baldwin left following the trial, he hopped into his car and reportedly drove off with an open can of beer. A court administrator, who Baldwin allegedly called a "wimp" for refusing to drink, reported the judge to authorities. Baldwin later told the News Tribune of Tacoma, "It was stupid. When I thought about it, I thought, 'Oh my God, you fool.'" Baldwin had served only three months of his $65,000-a-year post.

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