Alums not hurrying back for prison reunion
MANSFIELD, Ohio, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- Donnell Haynes has been trying to organize a reunion, but he's finding it hard to coax his old classmates back to their Mansfield, Ohio, alma mater.
Maybe that's because they all graduated from the school of hard knocks at the Ohio State Reformatory, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.
The first-ever reunion for the Reformatory's teachers and students is supposed to be Saturday -- but Haynes says he has only been able to find 14 of the 2,000 to 3,000 prison alums.
The prison opened in 1896 for youth offenders and housed the first certified prison high school in Ohio, the newspaper said. The prison gradually added adult inmates and college courses, but the facility became overcrowded. It was closed in 1990 for failing to meet modern standards.
It's now a museum and used occasionally for filming movies, including "Shawshank Redemption" in 1993.
Alaskan grows 707-pound pumpkin
PALMER, Ala., Sept. 7 (UPI) -- A 707-pound Alaskan pumpkin called "Thunderhorse" makes his brother "Boxy" look like a little gourd at a measly 504 pounds, the Kenai Peninsula Clarion says.
Both are the vegetative offspring of J.D. Megchelsen of Nikiski, who proudly displayed his history-making crop at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer last week.
"Thunderhorse," which stands 3-feet tall and 4-feet wide, was crowned the largest pumpkin in state history, far surpassing the 347.07-pound previous record holder.
Megchelsen grew his "babies" in a homemade greenhouse with two to three hours of loving care and lots of water per day, he said.
He watered his plants twice a day -- 60 to 80 gallons most days and up to 100 gallons when it was hot, he said.
Because they are so tough, using the giant pumpkins for pies or even trying to carve them for Halloween is out of the question, Megchelsen said. When their stint at the fair is done, they'll wind up on the compost pile to be recycled as food for next year's crop.
Unabomber gets his own U.S. postage stamp
NEW YORK, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. system that allows users to create their own, legal postage stamps has loopholes that allowed one to appear featuring Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.
The SmokingGun.com Web site was behind the experiment to see what censors would allow -- or miss -- at the Photostamps.com Web site.
"We thought there would virtually be no way they can police these things," Smoking Gun co-founder Bill Bastone told the New York Daily News.
In addition to the Unabomber, stamps were allowed to be created featuring former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who is now on trial for genocide and war crimes. The experiment also successfully created stamps of executed spies Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and White House intern Monica Lewinsky's infamous stained dress.
However, the censors did spot and veto a stamp of Lee Harvey Oswald, the newspaper said.
Pay telephones sink into obscurity
BOSTON, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- Harvard's Museum of Natural History in Boston has an impressive collection of 1.1 million fossils, but its main attraction right now is -- a phone booth.
"Parents point it out to their children," Emer McCourt, the museum's head of public relations, told the Boston Globe, "because the kids don't know what it is."
Think about it. One could start a museum right now with Atari game systems, stereo turntables, TV sets without remotes and bicycles with only three speeds.
In today's world of electric scooters, high-speed computers and cell phones, the classic enclosed phone booth has officially attained fossil status, the Globe said.
And now with at least 156 million Americans armed with cell phones, its only a matter of time before pay telephones become as scarce as drive-in movie theaters.
"I would certainly think the cellphone is making the pay phone extinct," Merton C. Flemings, professor emeritus of materials, science, and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said. "I can't imagine pay phones surviving very long in any great numbers."