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Commentary: Joe Bob's week in review

By JOE BOB BRIGGS   |   June 28, 2002 at 11:27 AM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, June 28 (UPI) -- The Supreme Court ruled that only juries, not judges, are authorized to give people the needle, the gas, the bullet, the noose or the jolt. It makes it easier on the condemned, who goes to his death knowing that his non-existence was desired unanimously.

Ann Landers died at age 83, sensibly.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declared that all American currency printed at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco must include the phrase "In a Non-Specific Yet Loving Deity We Provisionally Trust."

"The Horrifying Fraud," the French book claiming the Sept. 11 attacks were actually planned by extreme right-wingers within the U.S. government, passed 200,000 in sales and remained high on the best-seller list, causing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to name a special envoy to explain the American position on terrorism to Frenchmen: Jerry Lewis.

Angela Bassett slammed "Monster's Ball" in an interview with Newsweek, telling a reporter she turned down the lead role because "I wasn't going to be a prostitute on film. . . . I couldn't do that because it's such a stereotype about black women and sexuality."

Halle Berry took the role instead and won the Academy Award for a role that is about as far from a hooker as you can get: She plays a down-and-out single mom who has hot sex with Billy Bob Thornton. Now that everyone knows Bassett's views on blackness, women and sex, she's being considered for the lead in the remake of Doris Day's "Move Over, Darling."

WorldCom announced it made a $3.9 billion mistake in accounting because it was using a No. 2 pencil that had not been properly sharpened, but now it has the problem fixed.

President Bush told the Palestinians to get rid of Yasser Arafat, thereby ensuring a rise in Arafat's popularity polls.

Every April 20th, at precisely 4:20 p.m., students of Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wa., gather on the soccer field to smoke pot. Nobody remembers how the tradition got started -- too much pot -- but "4:20 on 4/20" has become so well-known that this year the police were ready. Three officers arrived at the field shortly before 4:20 -- and there wasn't a joint to be found.

Resident assistants in the dorms had tipped off the entire school, and the party had moved a short distance away to a place in the woods called The Meadow. The cops hung around for a few minutes and were even told that the gathering had been moved. They deliberated as to whether they should go to The Meadow, then decided they had doubts about the "credibility" of the tip. After all, you can't trust a pothead.

Vanna White filed for divorce from her husband of 11 years, because he just doesn't understand the pressures of her career.

The far northern Swedish city of Pitea is putting up a drive-in movie theater made entirely of ice and snow. When it opens, a large-screen VCR will project movies onto the ice screen from a wooden outhouse, but instead of popcorn, the local potato-dumpling specialty will be served. Vehicles using the drive-in will be snowmobiles -- which, in Sweden, DO have a backseat.

Tom Cruise met with Dan Coats, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, to encourage him to fight for the rights of Scientologists. The German government refuses to recognize

Scientology as a religion, regarding it as a cult set up to make money. Scientologists are barred from some government jobs and openly derided for their love of John Travolta.

The wedding ring Eddie Fisher bought for Debbie Reynolds was auctioned off on Sotheby's.com -- by Debbie Reynolds. "I thought maybe the kids would want it when they got older," she said -- but neither Carrie nor Todd Fisher was interested. The last time the diamond-encrusted platinum band was worn was 43 years ago, when Fisher commenced an affair with Elizabeth Taylor. Apparently he's not coming home.

Public displays of affection are illegal in India, so the Lovers' Organization for Voluntary Exhibition (LOVE) planned a march on the Calcutta mayor's office to protest against the government's refusal to set aside a special area where people could hold hands and kiss without police harassment. Thirty people showed up for the march -- and dispersed quickly when several police vans pulled up. As they scurried away, the cops presumably shouted "Get a room."

A 21-year-old ship's cook killed the captain and first mate, took control of a 195-foot Taiwanese fishing vessel, and then held off a crew of 27 Mandarin-speaking sailors with two knives. The crew eventually subdued the cook while the ship was going through a heavy storm 200 miles southeast of the Hawaiian islands. They then fired flares to alert the Coast Guard and were escorted to Pearl Harbor. The movie will be called "The Chow Mein Mutiny."

Alfred Yazback was sentenced to two years in prison and fined $185,000 for selling fake caviar to gourmet stores. Even though his tins advertised "Product of Russia," they contained the eggs of Tennessee and Alabama paddlefish. In 1999, when there was a worldwide shortage of Sevruga caviar caused by Russia's ban on fishing in the depleted Caspian Sea, Yazback still sold 7,900 pounds of paddlefish roe labled as Russian caviar. He also sold some REAL Russian caviar that was smuggled out of the country illegally. Caviar emptor.

A Texas jury awarded Laura Schubert $300,000 after the members of Pleasant Glade Assembly Church in Fort Worth forcibly tried to exorcise demons from her on two occasions in 1996. To celebrate, Schubert boiled two cat's paws in a broth of blood.

(Joe Bob Briggs writes several columns for UPI. Contact him at joebob@upi.com or through his Web site, joebobbriggs.com. Snail mail: P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, Texas, 75221.)

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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