Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Odds and Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary

APRIL 19, 1999: 

Dateline: Japan--Thanks to a quick-thinking emergency medical worker and a Hoover, an 80-year-old Japanese man was saved from choking last Saturday night. The suburban Osaka senior was eating sukiyaki with his family when he got some "devil's tongue"--a spongy, gray paste made from alum root--stuck in his throat. The man fell unconscious, and his family immediately called the emergency rescue dispatch. The dispatcher who took the family's desperate call advised them of several ways to save grandpa. When all traditional methods failed, the dispatcher instructed the man's 25-year-old granddaughter on the proper way to insert a vacuum cleaner tube into the choking man's mouth. The granddaughter then flipped on the switch and sucked out the devil's tongue. "The use of the vacuum cleaner was the absolute last resort," assured a local fire official.

Dateline: Germany--Some gnomenapping thieves have returned 13 sprightly statues to a German widow after she pleaded for their return in a newspaper advertisement. After a baker's dozen of Erna V.'s best garden gnomes went missing, the 75-year-old took out an advertisement in Frankfurt's Bild newspaper. "My late husband collected them," Erna announced. "Please bring them back." Over the Easter holiday, the 13 plaster pipsqueaks reappeared in her garden.

Dateline: Louisiana--A masked man--who under nearly all religious doctrines is assured a place in Hell--held 100 worshippers at gunpoint in a Metairie, La., church on Easter Sunday while he robbed them of their cash and driver's licenses. The ski masked bandit entered the New Orleans Kingdom Hall, a Jehovah's Witness congregation, 15 minutes after services began. The robber held a gun to one member's head and ordered everybody to lie on the floor. A few members of the congregation walked through the hall collecting some $1,200 in cash for the robber. "The only complaint he had was that there were too many one dollar bills," reported Vicky Wagner, a member of the church's board of elders. After the robber left, the congregation offered prayers of thanks that nobody was hurt and then called police.

Dateline: California--Jesus Christ, meanwhile, was busy performing Easter miracles in a California Buddhist temple in a show of misplaced religious favoritism. Monks at the Buddhist Purple Lotus University some 22 miles east of San Francisco believe that an image of Jesus has appeared on a bumpy, unfinished concrete wall on their campus. The image, which is said to come and go, first appeared on the wall two years ago. Many at the temple felt it was either the face of the Virgin Mary or Kuan Yin, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. Over Easter, however, a group of Roman Catholic visitors saw the image and quickly declared it to be the face of Jesus Christ. Now the school's six monks and 11 students have set up an altar with grapes, apples and incense in front of the wall, and visitors are beginning to arrive to have a look at the stucco Jesus.

Dateline: Massachusetts--Some 45 years ago, 12-year-old Bill Burrows stuffed a message in a bottle and tossed it into the seas off Cape Cod Bay. The youngster had hoped his missive would travel all the way to Europe or China. Last Saturday, Christian and Rachel Herder found Burrows' green screwtop bottle and read the note inside which said, "Will the person who finds this let me know where and when it was picked up? My name is William Burrows, 212 Lincoln Street, Worcester, Mass." Unfortunately, the Herders found the bottle near the tip of Sandy Neck beach in Cape Cod Bay--several miles from the place where it was launched nearly half a century ago. "I vaguely remember doing it," said 57-year-old William Burrows, who was eventually located in Longmeadow, Mass.

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