Navigation & Music Control
 [ BACK]  [NEXT]                       Issue #081 - 03/01/1998


SUNFUN's 2nd Annual Award Ceremony

   Welcome to the Annual Sunday Funnies Oddity Awards.

    This week, we look back on 1997, which was a very strange
year, but maybe no more peculiar than usual.  Odd things happen
all of the time...  The sign over the counter at McDonald's that
says "Braille Menus Available" -- just how are the blind supposed
to read that?  And then there's the whole TV talk show industry
-- do we need to go into details?  And there are always the
celebrities that do unusual things.  John Wayne Bobbit, famous
castratti, became a Christian minister last year.  I suppose that
means that he's done with his prior occupations of wife beater
and X-rated movie star.   And news last year that both Madonna
and Michael Jackson are getting divorces...  Well, the mind just
reels at the idea that -- at least in theory -- they could marry
and have a child.  That would be a child of destiny.  The kid
would be fated to be the King of All Oddities.
    As usual, it takes the contributions of many of our friends
to keep SUNFUN going.  This week, awards go out to: Sarah
Morsman, Laura Hong Li, Paul Roser, Carol Becwar, Helen Yee,
Timothy McChain, Jerry Taff, Howard Lesniak, Kathleen Beckmann,
Dale Frederickson, Nnamdi Elleh, Hans Nord, Beth & Jim Butler,
Nancy Wohlge and Antonia Chan.  Now if the nice man from Price
Waterhouse will hand me the first envelope, we'll begin...
     Have a Great (If Slightly Odd) Week!


    The Fortean Times, a British journal that specializes in
reporting on weird phenomenon, said that it's index of media
interest in the weird and wonderful rose four percent last year,
the biggest increase on record.
    "1997 was by far the weirdest year since our records began,"
said Joe McNally, associate editor of the magazine.
    Besides the usual amount of death and destruction, the news
last year had an unusual number of Roswell/UFO stories, Elvis
sightings, and vegetables shaped like people.  So far as we can
tell, there weren't any stories on people shaped like vegetables. 
Well, OK, Couch potatoes.  But does that really count?
    The Fortean Times has published the weirdness index every
year since 1993.
    Now, I don't mean to suggest that there is any self-interest
in this magazine finding that the weird level is getting
higher...  After all, how can you doubt a magazine that is
reputable enough to report on Psychic computers, hauntings and
fish falling from the sky?  (REUTERS)

          ===== THE ODDITY AWARD FOR: =====
                    PUBLIC RELATIONS

     While the world has been paying most of its attention to
Saddam Hussein, some of the world's other remaining dictators try
to stay in power.  Now, Saddam probably deserves an entire award
category to himself, but he's not going to get one in MY column.
Homicidal jerks just aren't that funny.
     Some aren't quite as noisy as Saddam, but they manage to
cause troubles just the same.  While waiting to stuff the ballot
boxes in this Fall's election, General Sani Abacha, the current
military dictator in Nigeria, had some time on his hands.  So,
late last year, he launched the "Abacha" brand of TV sets with
his picture on the box.  Typically for his inept military 
government, only the box is Nigerian, the TV's are really made in
South Korea.  How Nigerians will afford the nearly $500 TV's on 
an average yearly income of just $270 isn't known.  But that 
doesn't worry the General, as orders poured in from state 
agencies and local governments in Nigeria's 36 states, who spent 
millions in public money on the TV's as a way to get into
Abacha's good graces.  Leave it to Abacha to find a way to make
graft legal.
     General Abacha certainly deserves the Oddity Award, since
whether he's pretending to be dictator general or general
electric, he's still a general pain in the backside.

          ===== ODDITY AWARD FOR: =====

     There was quite a debate in Mexico about the classification
of some workers exempted under the North American Free Trade
Agreement.  Until the rules were recently tightened, certain
"high-technology" workers possessing "special skills" were
routinely granted visas to work in Mexico.  The Mexican
government has apparently decided that nude dancers and strippers
from the U.S. and Canada aren't really high-tech workers after
all.  They did say that the exotic dancers might be granted visas
under the treaty provisions for artists.  (Knight-Ridder News

          ===== THE ODDITY AWARD FOR: =====

     A new company offering "quality used cars in a relaxed, no-
negotiation atmosphere" has been opening stores across America
over the past few months under the name "Carmax."  They promptly
found themselves sued by Cinemax, Betamax, Omnimax, Climax
(perfume) and OfficeMax, all of whom claimed that the ending -MAX
was their trademark.
     The reactions of the heirs of Emperor Maximillian and Max
Plank are unknown.
          [ Lucky they didn't try to name the store 
          --star or --tron, isn't it? ]

          ==== THE ODDITY AWARD FOR: =====
               STUPID DRIVING

     Victor Scheep, a twenty-year-old from Squamish, BC, Canada,
was speeding and weaving his car around traffic on a curvy,
two-lane road.  Before long, his looney driving caused a head-on
collision while he was speeding around a line of cars in a no
passing zone.  A woman who witnessed the accident stopped to see
if she could help.  As thanks for her concern, Scheep stole her
     The first accident hadn't improved his driving much, so he
got only another half mile before he crashed again.  This
accident removed him permanently from the gene pool. 
Fortunately, all of the other drivers survived.  (The Vancouver

          ===== THE ODDITY AWARD FOR: =====
               WORST FORGERY

     In Grantham, England, Peter and Linda Garnett were arrested
for theft after depositing a check for 9.7 million Pounds (over
$16 million) into their bank account while attempting to withdraw
50,000 Pounds in cash.
     Bank tellers became suspicious when the couple tried to cash
their 350 Pound welfare check at the same time.

          ===== THE ODDITY AWARD FOR: =====

     While Bill Clinton worked on his Oddity 'Life Achievement
Award,' some of the folks around him did their best to assure
that the Clinton White House staff remained truly odd.
     Considering all of the troubles the Democrats had over fund
raising last year, you'd think they'd be more careful who they
target for donations.  But somehow, the Democrats still managed
to send a few fund-raising letters to odd places.  They even sent
one to Republican leader Newt Gingrich at his Senate office.
     "I'm proud of the role the Democratic Party has played in
bringing about all this good news for America," said Bill Clinton
in the letter.  "You should be proud, too."
     "In an ongoing quest to shake down anyone with a wallet, the
Clinton-Gore campaign has already worked its way through foreign
nationals, Buddhist nuns and impoverished tribes," Gingrich
spokesman Andrew Weinstein said.  "I guess Republican leaders
were next on the list."
     Weinstein also said that Gingrich was not convinced to send
any money.
          [ Not even if he can sleep in the Lincoln
          Bedroom? ]

          ===== THE ODDITY AWARD FOR: =====

     The Walt Disney organization came in for more than it's
share of blows last year, what with the boycott by Southern
Baptists (which didn't hurt the company much) and the revelation
that Monica Keene -- star of the new live-action "Snow White"
remake -- was also starring in a sexy, low-budget movie called
     Even worse, one of the original Mousketeers from the 1950's,
Darlene Gillespie, was up on Federal charges of conspiracy,
perjury, mail fraud, securities fraud and obstruction of justice.
If convicted, the 56-year old Gillespie is going to be away from
the Magic Kingdom for quite a while.   She was already on a
three-year probation for trying to return a stolen food processor
to a local department store.  At any rate, looks like Darlene
won't be joining Annette at those Disney reunions any time soon.

          ===== THE ODDITY AWARD FOR: =====

     Norway was one of the countries most critical of the U.S.
when America recently refused to approve a worldwide ban on land
mines.  But, at the same time, the Norwegian military continued
to stockpile imported land mines.  Of course, the Austrian-made
explosive devices weren't really land mines anymore, they were
re-classified as "Directed Fragmentation Charges."
     A much nicer sounding name, but a distinction that might be
lost on the poor slob that steps on one.
          [ OK, I think I've got it...  What's mine is
          mines and what's yours isn't mines. ]

          ===== THE ODDITY AWARD FOR: =====
                    WORST MOVIE IDEA

     Most of us would consider death a fairly negative career
move, but that's apparently not the case in Hollywood.
     Writer/director Scott Lane announced last year that George
Burns would be starring in his new movie, "Everything's George." 
Since Burns has been mostly dead since 1996, that would seem to
make a pretty boring movie.  But the plan is to use computer
animation to put a George Burns head onto the body of a stand-in
     The plot has Burns as an angel returning to earth to help a
man through a mid-life crisis; almost like the movie can't decide
whether to steal from "Play It Again, Sam" or "It's A Wonderful
     "I try not to get involved in the moral issues," Lane said.
          [ Well, Lane's good at stating the obvious,
          anyway... ]

          ===== THE ODDITY AWARD FOR: =====
               ADVANCE PLANNING

     According to police, Paul and Bonnie Stiller were just
trying to "see what would happen."  So, they decided to liven up
the neighborhood by throwing quarter sticks of dynamite out the
window as they drove around Andover Township, New Jersey.  Their
celebration was very short-lived, however, as they quickly found
that it was better planning to open the car window BEFORE
lighting the dynamite.  But they did see what would happen --
both were injured in the explosion and their car no longer has
any windows.

          ===== THE ODDITY AWARD FOR: =====
               POSTAL THINKING

OH, NO!  THE {censored} IS MISSING!
     The U.S. Postal Service in Miami, Florida posted a $25,000
reward for tips leading to the recovery of two stolen 'devices.' 
The devices in question are considered so secret that the Postal
Service won't tell us what they are, what they look like or how
they're used.  A spokesperson for the Miami Post Office would
only say that the devices belong to the Postal Service, were
stolen from mail carriers and can't be bought in stores.  Just
how someone is supposed to know if they've seen a 'device' in
order to collect the reward is another of life's little
          [ Is it bigger than a breadbox? ]

          ===== THE ODDITY AWARD FOR: =====

     Before last year, AT&T -- the huge international phone
company -- had never shown much interest in religion.  But in the
past year, they've been donating thousands of dollars to
churches, particularly to old-line, established churches in
built-up city neighborhoods.  Corporate responsibility?  Guilt
for past sins?  Fear of the Apocalypse?  Nope.  Building codes.
     It seems that local building regulations have kept the phone
company from putting up more cellular telephone antennas in many
cities.  Mounting cell phone antennas on church bell towers that
have been there for generations gets around this problem.  (Wall
Street Journal)
          [ I've heard of calling on the Lord, but this
          is a new one... ]

© 1998 by Bill Becwar. All Rights Reserved.