Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary

JUNE 29, 1998: 

Dateline: Brazil--A seriously wayward penguin washed up on a beach in sunny Rio de Janeiro recently and soon found himself adopted as a mascot by rabid soccer fans. For some reason, surprised beachgoers who spotted the penguin drifting in the sea off of Brazil's capital took the confused bird as a sign of good luck for their national soccer team in the World Cup. The penguin was quickly draped in a green and yellow Brazilian flag and nicknamed Penta, meaning fifth, for the fifth World Cup title the reigning champions are hoping to win in France. The bird posed for TV cameras during publicity parties after Brazil's 3-0 victory over Morocco last Tuesday. After his long day of partying, the penguin was stuffed into a beer cooler to await zoo officials. Penguins appear occasionally along the coast of Brazil, but are rare this time of year.

Dateline: Canada--Prosecutors last Wednesday dismissed claims that a female juror's affair with a murder defendant was not a crime because she had never been warned against having one. Gillian Guess, 43, is charged with obstruction of justice after having a sexual affair with defendant Peter Gill during his 1995 trial on murder charges in a gangland killing. Prosecutors claim that Gill used Guess and her position on the jury to help him and five co-defendants win acquittal. Guess' attorney, Peter Richie, argued that no crime was committed because the judge had never specifically ordered the jury members not to sleep with Gill. Richie suggested that his client was the victim of vengeful authorities, angry at having lost a high-profile case against Gill. Authorities have appealed the "not guilty" verdict of Gill's 1995 murder trial.

Dateline: Russia--Mad Scientist Alert! Russian officials have announced that Mir cosmonauts are planning to deploy and test a solar-reflecting satellite, capable of beaming a little extra sunshine into Russia's wintry northern climates. Designed by a group of public and private Russian space agencies known as the Space Regatta Consortium, the 82-foot, disc-shaped orbiter will be as illuminating in the nighttime sky as 10 full moons. By fall, lucky moonbathers in select cities throughout the Northern Hemisphere will be able to bask in the shining satellite's eight-mile-wide spotlight. If tests go well, the consortium plans to deploy an entire ring of orbiting reflectors. ... Stage two, in which the Consortium threatens to melt the polar ice caps if their billion dollar ransom is not met, is expected to be announced soon.

Dateline: South Dakota--The town of Bushnell, S.D., lost one of its most beloved (and unsanitary) landmarks recently. Last month, during the May meeting of the Bushnell Town Board, several townspeople raised concerns about the outhouse at Steve Kjellson's Bushnell Garage Bar. For years, boozed-up patrons have stumbled out back to the tin-sided lean-to and happily unloaded their evening's beer supply on a cabbage-sized red sandstone rock. According to Kjellson, urinating on the rock has become "kind of a ritual." The Bushnell Garage Bar does have full male and female restrooms inside the bar, but patrons apparently heckled any man who tried to utilize the indoor plumbing. Despite the tradition dating back some 40 years, enough of the Bushnell's 85 residents opposed the use of the rock. Kjellson's liquor license has been held up pending the removal of the outhouse. The bar owner has agreed to tear down the outhouse, but will keep the rock for sentimental reasons.

--compiled by Devin D. O'Leary


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