Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi 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 stop sign.

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.

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