DOOGIE HOWSER, THE MINISERIES: Michael Kearney is 11 years old, and has
a "300-plus" IQ. He has already graduated from college, and is now
pursuing an advanced degree at Middle Tennessee State University. A
kid this smart must have some plans for the future. "He could be
Mozart, Einstein. We have no idea," says his father, Kevin, who
educated Michael at home. "Right now he wants to be a game show
(AP) ...This may be all the proof we need that TVs in classrooms is a bad idea.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Ireland's recent vote on whether to make divorce legal
again led to a lot of interesting statistics. "There are 63 percent
more UFO sightings in countries with divorce," claimed a poster for
the "no" side. "Yes" won with a slight margin.
(Reuter) ...Now we'll never know if they wanted their freedom, or just aspire to see a flying saucer.
CULTURE CLUB: Larry Harris has pled guilty to one count of wire fraud.
According to the U.S. Attorney in Columbus, Ohio, Harris falsely
claimed he was certified to handle bubonic plague when he mail-
ordered a freeze-dried sample of the bacteria from a culture lab. The
lab sent the sample, but then turned him in after they got
suspicious. Harris, who faces up to six months in jail, wanted the
sample as part of his research for a book he was writing about germ
warfare, his attorney said.
(AP) ...Makes you wonder what Steven King has in his basement, doesn't it?
UGLY WAXY BUILDUP: Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in London has found the
depictions of torture and murder in its Chamber of Horrors aren't
graphic enough, so they're updating it to make it more gory.
"Children in particular now seem to see far more horrific things on
television, so we are totally redoing the chamber," a spokeswoman
(Reuter) ...A few more years of this, and they won't even react to the real thing. Just like American kids.
NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE: Researchers at the University of Oklahoma have
started a study of the way tornados carry debris away from the
ground. Historical reports show that paper can be carried more than
200 miles before settling back to earth. But records of such events
are sparse, and those they have found "you have to take with a grain
of salt," one researcher said. So why bother? They want to create a
model "that would be of use to forecasters if a tornado were to hit a
hazardous waste site," she said. They have compiled a number of
interesting reports so far. A cow was thrown 10 miles in 1878, a
pillow went 20 miles in 1913, a jar of pickles travelled 18 miles in
1917, and, in one 1953 storm, trousers went 30 miles and a wedding
gown a full 50 miles.
(AP) ...Yes, but they had a head start since they were thrown, not just carried off.
SNIFF THIS: Despite claims that children were not eating their food-
scented crayons, the Crayola crayon company has substituted new non-
food scents in their markers this year. But an informal test found
that children don't agree with the company's descriptions of the
odors: the "cedar chest" crayon, for instance, smells instead like
"fire" or "DNA" or "dog doo", the "daffodil" is more like "the inside
of an airplane", and "leather jacket" more akin to "dead worms", the
(Newsweek) ...Better retest: DNA doesn't smell anything like a fire.
WOULD YOU LIKE FRIES WITH THAT? "A pound of termites has more nutrients
than a pound of beef or pork," says Frank French of Georgia Southern
University. He teaches his students that there are more food sources
around them than they think. Students are urged to create new recipes
using foods such as wild plants, but more points are given if the
students use bugs. The catch: students have to eat their creations as
part of their assignment. French doesn't shirk his responsibilities:
he eats them too. He notes that roast crickets, for instance, "taste
like a fat-laden hors d'oeuvre." However, "the legs aren't very
palatable, and the heads are quite objectionable."
(AP) ...Mostly, the students learn that the "mystery meat" in the cafeteria may not be so bad after all.
HOT SPOT: Belmont Abbey, near Hereford, England, closed its school for
boys last year, leaving the 25 monks with little to do, and the bills
piling up to maintain their large buildings. To bring in some cash,
they've decided to rent the refectory out for dinner dances and disco
nights. But "I don't think any rave-ups will be the order of the
day," cautions one of the monks. "We don't want to jeopardize the
tranquil nature of our life. Most of our monks will be tucked up in
bed" during the parties, he said.
(Reuter) ...Father, isn't that just the sort of party you didn't want?
CHILL OUT: Two stowaways hoping for free passage from Cape Town, South
Africa, to Europe aboard a Norwegian freighter should have read the
side of the boat. The "Polar Queen" wasn't enroute to Europe, but to
Antarctica. "Not in their wildest dreams had they imagined ending up
on the South Pole ice," a ship's officer told a newspaper. "I think
it was quite an unusual experience for them." After two weeks, the
freighter again sails -- back to Cape Town.
(AP) ..."There is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." --Ken Grahame
INSIDE JOB: "Prison Loses Master Key for Cells"
-- Reuter headline