Odds & Ends
By Devin D. O'Leary
OCTOBER 5, 1998:
Dateline: Russia--Teachers in the central Russian
province of Altai will be receiving their monthly salaries in
vodka because the government is out of cash. The 8,000 educators
in the Altai republic will get 15 bottles of vodka each while
local leaders press the federal government to cover its debts.
Officials in Altai, some 1,850 miles east of Moscow, had previously
tried to pay off part of the teachers' six-month wage arrears
with toilet paper. The offer was refused. Now, if Russia would
only pay off students in vodka, the nation could do something
about its drop-out rate.
Dateline: India--Curators at India's Baroda Museum report
irreparable damage to a priceless 5,000-year-old mummy after an
overzealous cleaning person apparently opened the mummy's case
and vacuumed the dusty corpse. The violative vacuuming loosened
bandages, removed toe paint and sucked off part of the mummified
Dateline: Sweden--Members of the notorious Hell's Angels
bikers' gang have been denied membership in Sweden's Liberal Party.
Just two days before a general election, a Liberal Party spokesperson
announced that "they won't be accepted to the party because
they work in an organization that works against the purpose of
our party." Liberal officials accused the Hell's Angels of
"acting provocatively" and "trying to create some
kind of debate." Hell's Angels leader Thomas Moller of Malmo,
Sweden, said he paid his membership fee and received a welcome
letter. The political party may be a bit nervous over reports
that the Angels have been fighting a guerrilla war with rival
motorcycle gang Bandidos since 1994. The rivalry has occasionally
erupted into skirmishes involving machine guns, hand grenades,
bombs and anti-tank weapons.
Dateline: Texas--In the latest and most outrageous example
of sports fanaticism gone berserk, a 20-minute brawl erupted during
the halftime show at a Beaumont, Texas, football game. The combatants?
The Southern University and Prairie View A&M marching bands.
As the two rival groups passed each other in formation, a squabble
broke out landing three militant musicians in the hospital. Several
uniforms were damaged, four $5,000 tubas were bent and one saxophone
was reported missing.
Dateline: Idaho--Former Green Beret colonel, right-wing
leader of the Patriot Militia Movement and self-avowed gun nut
James "Bo" Gritz, apparently depressed over a pending
divorce, shot himself in the chest last week in Clearwater County,
Idaho. The wound is not believed to be life threatening.
Dateline: California--A member of the radical environmental
group Earth First! was killed last Thursday while protesting logging
efforts in California's Grizzly Creek Forest north of San Francisco.
A tree fell on him.
Dateline: South Carolina--In what is clearly a violation
of the Eighth Commandment, an unknown thief broke into actor Bill
Oberst's car and made off with several props, including pottery,
a bread basket, a handmade wig, a costume and theatrical make-up.
Oberst uses props to teach the Scriptures in a relaxed way. He
was about to go on stage at South Carolina's Anderson College
to perform as Jesus, when his costume and props were stolen. Oberst
was forced to cancel that night's Jesus gig. No word on whether
or not Oberst has forgiven the blasphemous burglar.