Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary

JANUARY 25, 1999: 

Dateline: Germany--A chocolate bar featuring the face of Karl Marx has been declared "tasteless" by some German politicians. The one-time East German town of Chemnitz, which was known as Karl-Marx-Stadt until 1990, developed the Communist candy to help promote tourism. Chemnitz is noted for the giant bust of Karl Marx in the town square. Fritz Haehle, leader of the conservative Christian Democrats in the state of Saxony, says that those who still agree with the Communist Manifesto author's philosophies might object to the production of a Karl Marx candy bar. City spokesman Andreas Bochmann defended his town's marketing campaign. "The monument is well known and great advertising for Chemnitz," said Bochmann. "Look at Salzburg. They've done great advertising with Mozart marzipan."

Dateline: Indonesia--Warring tribes in a remote forest region of Indonesia's primitive Irian Jaya province have suspended hostilities so that they can watch a road being built. Local newspapers reported that some people had walked for four days through the forest of the vast eastern province to witness helicopters arriving at the construction site bringing motorcycles, trucks, construction equipment and other modern marvels. Battles between warring tribes in the Tinggi Nambut village were temporarily stopped so that tribal warriors could take in the spectacle. "This is the first time for these people to see motorcycles and other vehicles," a local official was quoted as saying.

Dateline: Russia--A besotted Russian priest accidentally set off a hand grenade after a weekend christening, injuring himself and the baptized baby's grandmother. The unnamed priest performed the Christian ceremony in the Yaroslavl region north of Moscow last Saturday afternoon, then joined relatives for traditional drinks. "After the christening of her grandson, they drank spirits and he accidentally removed the pin from the grenade," local police told the Itar-Tass news agency. It was not immediately clear where the grenade came from or what it was doing at the christening ceremony, but, police added, the priest had not been planning to set it off.

Dateline: New York--And you thought you were a good shoplifter? A Banana Republic employee has been charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of property for allegedly stealing more than $400,000 in merchandise from the clothing store. Carolyn Peters, 47, was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court last Monday after being arrested on Sunday at the midtown Manhattan Banana Republic branch by store detectives. It is assumed that Peters accomplished the massive theft by falsifying records and funneling store stock to an accomplice.

Dateline: Ohio--A penny-ante thief has admitted to stealing some $870 from a middle school in Logan, Ohio--one cent at a time. Stanley Nielson, 18, stole nearly 87,000 pennies from the Cedar Ridge Middle School. The pennies were being collected as part of a relief effort for Honduran victims of Hurricane Mitch. Students hoped to raise 87,000 pennies, which they estimated would equal one mile of coinage. On the plus side, donations poured in following Nielson's weighty theft. In the end, the school was able to turn over a check to the American Red Cross for more than $5,200.

Dateline: Ohio--Apparently, Ohioans aren't as amorous as they thought. Organizers of a New Year's celebration at the Ohio Statehouse had hoped to break a world's record for the most people kissing simultaneously. The previous record was set on Valentine's Day, 1996, when 1,420 couples locked lips. As many as 9,500 people gathered in Columbus for the record smooch-off. Unfortunately, when videotaped records were reviewed last Monday, it was discovered that only 1,350 people kissed for the required 10 seconds. The other 8,000 merely stood and watched the massive public display of affection.

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