Odds and Ends
By Devin D. O'Leary
FEBRUARY 28, 2000:
Dateline: France -- Dedicated cave explorer and European nutball Michel Siffre emerged from more than two months of self-imposed isolation on Valentine's Day. Scientists and journalists applauded as Siffre popped out of his hidey-hole, a southern French cave located some 900 yards underground. The 61-year-old Siffre had conducted the 76-day experiment in order to observe the effects of isolation -- no light, no human contact and no measure of time -- on human beings. Noting the date of his emergence, Siffre announced in the tradition of all true Frenchmen, "What I missed most was women, and hygiene to an extent as well."
Dateline: Mexico -- Two top political candidates in Mexico City saw the writing on the wall last week -- a simple enough task, considering they were the ones who put it there. A city court found presidential candidate Francisco Labastida Ochoa and mayoral hopeful Jesus Silva Herzog guilty of spray-painting political slogans on a Mexico City club. The two members of Mexico's ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party were fined 400 pesos ($41) for scrawling "Vote for Pancho" and "Vote for Chucho" -- their nicknames -- on an outside wall of the Renovación sports club last Tuesday. According to a local newspaper, the graffiti was painted over by party workers on Wednesday.
Dateline: England -- A controversy is brewing in southern England over a British grandfather's plan to embalm his dead wife and keep her body in his front room. The bodily brouhaha began last month in Dover when the local council refused to let Terry Lee bury his beloved wife Ruth in the front garden of their house according to her wish. According to Tony Stickles, chief housing officer for Dover, Lee's neighbors complained about the proposed planting. "I feel for Mr. Lee, coming to terms with the loss of his wife," Stickles was quoted as saying. "However, we are talking about a relatively small terraced house with a number of properties close by and it's easy to understand the concerns of neighbors." In retaliation to the city council's injunction against him, Lee threatened to have his spouse embalmed and placed inside the residence. "The advice we have is that with Mrs. Lee having been in the hospital (freezer) for almost six weeks, (embalming) is simply not an option," Stickles added.
Dateline: England -- Captain Nick Carrell, a former member of Queen Elizabeth's private bodyguard admitted in last weekend's Sunday People newspaper to trying to steal the Queen's underwear. The attempted knickernapping took place in 1992 during a fire which ravaged Windsor Castle. Carrell said he had been helping to clear out the Queen's private apartment, removing priceless items of furniture, paintings and clothes. "Yes. I admit it," Carrell told the newspaper. "I was planning to steal a pair of the Queen's knickers. I was helping to clear out her private apartment when I pulled open a chest of drawers. I was amazed to see it was filled with the Queen's underwear and I put out my hand to take a pair. Suddenly, I realized she was standing behind me, watching my every move. I don't know what she thought, but the Queen didn't say a word. It was all very embarrassing."
Dateline: Louisiana -- Thanks to some panty-loving politicians, it is now legal to throw women's underwear from Carnival floats during Mardi Gras. The intense debate began last Monday night at a Gretna City Council meeting and ended with a unanimous 4-0 ruling in favor of unmentionables. "We're pro-panties," Gretna City Councilman Vincent Cox jokingly told reporters. "It's on the record." The council did vote to make it illegal to throw anything that depicts "male or female genitalia" or anything "lewd or lascivious" including, but not limited to, "condoms and inflatable paraphernalia." In an original draft of the bill, panties were listed after condoms, but protests from parade organizers prompted a change in wording.