Odds and Ends
By Devin D. O'Leary
NOVEMBER 1, 1999:
Dateline: Colombia -- What a joy and a comfort it is to have children in your old age. A husband and wife celebrating their golden anniversary with a trip to Miami were arrested in Bogotá's El Dorado Airport after security discovered $370,000 worth of heroin in their bags. The couple's daughter, Ana Beatriz Corredor, admitted to stashing the nearly eight pounds of heroin in her parents' luggage. Corredor, her son, her brother and his daughter were accompanying the elderly couple on their vacation, which was part of an anniversary present. The couple was not detained by police.
Dateline: England -- In a professional boxing match that surely had spectators asking for their money back, 23-year-old stable boy Daniel James knocked out his opponent, Steve Tuckett, in exactly 13 seconds -- and that includes the 10 seconds it took for the referee to count Tuckett out. James' swift left hook to Tuckett's jaw resulted in the fastest boxing victory in British history. Last Saturday's win was the 10th professional triumph for the light-welterweight.
Dateline: England -- Angry over the recent sale of one of his old artworks for 11,000 pounds ($17,500), British artist David Hockney decided to send a rude message to the auction world last week by offering his art for free to anyone who wanted it. The earthy modern art master's ire was raised when a British auction house sold off the work consisting of a fax glued to an old kitchen blind mistakenly left behind by his sister when she moved to a new house. Through the London mass-market tabloid The Sun, Hockney offered readers the opportunity to receive a full-scale version of the 1989 work entitled "House by the Sea," simply by dialing up a fax line. The art work came in 16 separate sheets with instructions on how to assemble and attach them to a set of roller blinds. "Art is for all," said Hockney in the accompanying Sun article. "I don't want them to be exclusive and sold for money. They are free to everyone."
Dateline: Cairo -- An Islamist newspaper last Tuesday denounced Egypt's plans for a spectacular New Year millennium celebration as part of an evil Zionist plot to lay claim to the pyramids. Al-Shaab, a biweekly paper produced by Egypt's Islamic-oriented Labor Party, claimed the Y2K celebration would only serve to bolster Zionist claims that Jews had constructed the 4,500-year-old pyramids. "The Jews claim that they are owners of Egypt's ancient civilization and the builders of the pyramids," wrote Labor Party Secretary-General Adel Hussein in a front-page article. Hussein went on to call the show's organizer, famed French New Age composer Jean-Michael Jarre, an evil Zionist conspirator. Jarre plans to perform a $9 million, 12-hour "electronic opera" at the pyramids' plateau, featuring 1,000 performers, lasers, fireworks and a mix of Oriental and Western music -- which, if not entirely evil, will almost certainly be boring as hell.
Dateline: Alaska -- You can buy anything on the Web these days, including, it seems, the state of Alaska. Zachary Wilson, a student at State University of New York-Buffalo, put America's 49th state up for bid on eBay last week. Starting bid -- $3. Wilson jokingly said he hoped to trigger a bidding war between Russia and China that would pay for his education. Unfortunately, Wilson does not hold title to the state of Alaska, which might explain why he's going to a state university. The United States originally paid $7.2 million for Alaska in 1867. As soon as eBay officials heard about the unauthorized auction, they yanked it from their site.