Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary

MAY 4, 1998: 

Dateline: New Zealand--Just hours before she was set to race, a horse by the name of Tulsy Tsan was yanked from the card at a Wellington, New Zealand, hippodrome. The problem? Track officials realized that the horse's name, when spelled backwards, may be offensive to certain people. The horse was quickly redubbed Ben Again, and was free to race again several days later. New Zealand Conference Spokesman Tim Aldridge admitted to the Evening Post last Thursday that risqué names on horses was a common practice: "We often have to seek help from the German or French language departments of Victoria University to clarify the meaning or pronunciation of names."

Dateline: Sicily--Two ski-masked bandits robbed a supermarket in Acireale, Sicily, recently, making off with approximately $400 in cash. Now, here's the cute part: The bandits brought with them a ski-masked kid of about six years old. During the robbery, the pre-pubescent pilferer tried to steal some candy but was too short to reach it on the counter. Awww.

Dateline: New Jersey--City officials in Stafford Township, N.J., last week lost a court case intended to silence a local ice cream vendor who insisted on playing "Turkey in the Straw" over and over again on his ice cream truck's loudspeaker. The vendor cited "free speech" laws. The township called the ceaseless jingle "a form of torture." Free speech (such as it is) won out.

Dateline: California--In other freedom-related news, the California Senate has refused to repeal a piece of Cold War-era legislation which allows the immediate firing of any state employee belonging to the Communist Party.

Dateline: Texas--Customs Service agents in Houston have busted what is certainly one of the more clever money-running schemes. During a routine scan of cargo on a Bogota, Colombia-bound flight, officials discovered some $1 million in cash stuffed into boxes of Monopoly and other board games. The boxes were even properly shrink-wrapped as if bound for store shelves. Despite the clever disguise, Customs agents recognized the cash as real. No one has been arrested yet in the Monopoly money scheme. If caught, the perpetrators will go directly to jail.

Dateline: Texas--KENS-TV in San Antonio has become the first station in America to refuse to air the upcoming Howard Stern TV show--despite the fact that it has yet to be written, shot or broadcast. CBS recently announced plans to air the sketch comedy/talk show sometime in the fall opposite the popular "Saturday Night Live."

Dateline: Michigan--Last Monday, a photo lab developer in Royal Oak, Mich., uncovered what he thought to be photographs of child pornography. The camera shop employee immediately alerted police and turned over forty-odd sexually explicit photos involving two nude women and what looked like a 10-year-old boy in a Chicago Bulls uniform. Police confiscated the film and sent officers to question a person who came to pick up the pictures. Turns out the "10-year-old boy" was actually a 23-year-old male with a "growth disorder." Police dropped the case after the disrobing dwarf went to a police station and showed his identification. No word on whether or not he got his photos back.

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