Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary

JULY 20, 1998: 

Dateline: Japan--Japan's second largest city, Osaka, finds itself wrapped up in the story of a mad monkey who kidnapped a defenseless kitten. The catnapping capuchin wandered into the high-rise metropolis early last week from some nearby wooded hills. About 50 police officers chased the wild animal through the outskirts of Osaka before cornering the beast. Unfortunately, the monkey grabbed a several-month-old kitten "as a diversionary tactic" and eluded police capture. The monkey hunt continued unabated into the weekend. Among the many eyewitness sightings of the monkey, several reported that he was still carrying the kitten, which appeared "weak." A police spokesman told reporters, "We're not as interested in finding the kitten as we are in getting that monkey." The story was featured as the lead on several news broadcasts last Wednesday night, where the monkey/kitten hostage situation bumped a State of the Economy address by Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto.

Dateline: Afghanistan--Leaders of the fundamentalist Afghan Islamic sect Taliban have banned all television sets, video cassette recorders, video tapes and satellite dishes. On a positive note, Afghani teenagers were relieved to hear that Allah apparently has no opinion on Nintendo systems.

Dateline: Germany--"Lucky," an ill-named German shepherd guide dog for the blind in Wuppertal, Germany, recently became available for a fifth owner. Trainers admit that Lucky's 0-4 record is not too impressive "on paper." Lucky's previous owners have all met with unfortunate ends. Lucky led his first owner in front of a bus, killing him. He led the second owner off the end of a pier, killing him. He nudged his third off a railway platform in front of the Cologne-to-Frankfurt express, killing him. The fourth he abandoned in traffic, killing him. Lucky's newest owner will not be told of his previous mishaps. The trainers claim that the dog might sense nervousness and "do something silly."

Dateline: Indonesia--Thanks to the recent rioting and political unrest, Indonesia has seen a 50 percent drop in tourism. Hoping to salvage the fading industry, the Indonesian government has announced that one surprise day in July will be a "Happy Day," with no charges for hotels, restaurants and transportation. In addition, the government has declared all of August a "Happy Month," featuring reduced tourism rates and other financial lures for out-of-towners.

Dateline: New Mexico--Irate over the increased use of trendy South American black beans in Southwestern-style cuisine, San Juan County Commissioner Steve Neville called for a resolution encouraging area restaurants to employ locally-grown pinto beans in their Southwestern cooking. The resolution passed unanimously. Pinto beans are New Mexico's largest dry crop, averaging about 7,000 acres a year.

Dateline: West Virginia--And finally, back to the subject of primates. Arthur Warden, a mail carrier in Beckley, W. Va., found himself the unhappy object of affection for a 4-foot, 6-inch chimpanzee named Herbie. The chimp leaped through the passenger window of Warden's mail truck and latched onto the startled mailman. "He grabbed me, and I grabbed him," Warden told reporters. "I was yelling, 'Get this monkey off of me!'" Herbie apparently escaped from his owner, Joyce Wriston, and "just wanted to play." Wriston, who raised the chimp with her own children, calmed Herbie down with some ice cream and a can of Coke. Warden was startled, but uninjured by the affectionate ape.

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