Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary

AUGUST 18, 1997: 

Dateline: New Zealand--Sweetie the Rat, rodent star of the soon-to-be-released international TV series "Mirror Mirror," has been kidnapped. Or ratnapped. Or whatever. Owners of the Gibson Group film production company say that Sweetie was stolen last Wednesday by burglars who ransacked the company's Wellington offices. Also taken in the raid: a stereo, computers, CDs, a toaster and several cellphones. No word yet on Sweetie's whereabouts.

Dateline: Japan--A hungry bird must have been in the mood for a little barbecue last week in the town of Yokosuka. The unidentified bird fished a tasty eel out of nearby Tokyo Bay, dropped it on a power line and caused a power outage in 500 homes.

Dateline: Senegal--Officials in Dakar are trying their best to quell the growing mob frenzy over so-called "sorcerers" capable of shrinking a man's penis to nothing with a mere handshake. Scores of people have been beaten and burned to death in the West African nations of Ghana, Ivory Coast and Senegal in the past year. Daily papers in Dakar, Senegal, published pictures of suspected "genital thieves" killed in the latest wave of panic along with headlines like "Have We Lost Our Common Sense?" Police have tried to assuage public fears by assuring West African populations that allegations of vanishing penises are baseless.

Dateline: Ireland--Chalk one up for Irish ingenuity. The Irish Farmers Association estimates that recent flooding due to torrential rains has caused some $20.1 million in damages countrywide. Kitty Keily's pub in Dublin, though, has found a unique way to deal with the nonstop rains. The pub has recently begun nightly goldfish races on the bar's flooded floor. Patrons can sit at the bar drinking discounted beers while Sonia, Sam and Ossie compete for the title of "Fastest Goldfish in Dublin" underfoot.

Dateline: Florida--Your mother warned you. She told you time and time again, but you just didn't listen, did you? Well, maybe this one will make you think, little mister. A Fort Lauderdale teenager riding with a friend through Oakland Park last weekend stuck his hand out the window to point out an "End School Zone" sign. The sign sheared his arm off at the elbow.

Dateline: California--For the past 10 years, students at Morningside High School in Los Angeles knew Mr. Sullivan as their strict, but fair English teacher. It was announced last Wednesday, though, that "Mr. Sullivan" was in fact "Mr. Wright." Willie Clifton Wright was charged with numerous felonies for stealing the identity of a teacher at another L.A. area school. The impostor was uncovered when the real Robert Sullivan retired last year from Los Angeles Unified School District. Wright is now free on bond pending his Aug. 14 court case. Prosecutors allege Wright, 59, assumed Sullivan's identity about 10 years ago after somehow obtaining the teacher's credentials.

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