Odds & Ends
By Devin D. O'Leary
JULY 6, 1998:
Dateline: Kuwait--A Kuwaiti court recently sentenced an
opposition journalist in Egypt to six months in jail for publishing
a joke deemed insulting to Islam. The joke? Teacher: "Why
did God kick Adam and Eve from Heaven?" Student: "Because
they hadn't paid the rent." Since the Egyptian journalist
is not actually subject to Kuwaiti law, he will serve the six
month sentence in absentia.
Dateline: Pennsylvania--Although the Amish of Pennsylvania
Dutch country are most often associated with buckboards, butterchurns
and drab clothing, there's a new craze sweeping the technology-eschewing
religious types. It seems police in Lancaster County have arrested
two Amish men on charges of buying drugs from the notorious Pagans
motorcycle gang between 1993 and 1997 and distributing the drugs
at assorted barn dances in Amish country. Abner Stolzfus, 24,
and Abner King Stoltzfus, 23--both of whom are Amish and named
Abner Stoltzfus but, oddly, are not related--were indicted last
Tuesday on charges of distributing cocaine to members of Amish
youth groups. If convicted, the men face up to life in prison.
Three members of the Pagans were also arraigned on Tuesday.
Dateline: Virginia--Peter C. Gentry, a 41-year-old financial
planner, was sentenced to two years in prison for faking his death
three times in order to beat drunken driving charges. Gentry was
first arrested in 1991, but the case was dismissed after authorities
received an official-looking death certificate. Gentry pulled
a similar scam in 1994 and again in 1995, when he was supposed
to have died of "denzor hemorrhagic fever" in Africa.
Denzor hemorrhagic fever doesn't even exist. Gentry was nabbed
most recently when a police officer who made one of the drunken
driving arrests spotted the allegedly deceased felon running a
Dateline: California--Police in Berkeley, Calif., report
that more than two-thirds of that city's parking meters have now
been destroyed. It has not been determined yet if the outbreak
of meter mangling is the result of random vandalism or a political
statement against the city's aggressive pursuit of parking fees.
Dateline: Massachusetts--The state of Massachusetts has
come up with a novel solution to the recent poor showing by new
public school teacher applicants. An astonishing 59 percent of
applicants failed the state's new reading and writing competency
test. To make up for this, the state has now lowered the passing
grade from 77 to 66, and--Voilà!--now only 44 percent
of applicants are failures.
Dateline: Kentucky--Larry Slusher, 47, of Arjay, Ky., dared
his best friend to play William Tell and shoot a beer can off
his head early last week. Pal Silas Caldwell took up the challenge,
picked up a .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol and promptly missed.
Slusher died on Tuesday morning, and Caldwell was arrested on
murder charges. Witnesses told police the two had been drinking.
Dateline: Arizona--Mad scientist alert! Scientists at the
Institute for Food Research recently demonstrated flavorless,
edible, glow-in-the-dark additives they say will be in commercial
products within two years. The bioluminescent enzymes, which are
derived from fireflies, jellyfish and squid, could create a whole
new industry of light-up foods, cosmetics, soft drinks and more.
Prolume, Ltd., which plans to market a light-up squirtgun called
"Splashlight," claims it has conducted "one- to
three-month studies on rodents" and that the glowing goo
"appears to be safe." FDA approval will still be required
before the products hit the shelves.