Most observers were quite impressed with the way President George W. Bush hit the groove as he threw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night.
The nation's No.1 baseball fan showed good form as he rifled one right into the strike zone from the pitcher's mound -- a distance of 60 feet, six inches. Usually, the ceremonial toss takes place with tosser and tossee about eight feet apart so no one ends up embarrassed.
We hear Bush's skill is no accident -- the president apparently likes to pass at least some of the time keeping his pitching arm limber by working out on the South Lawn of the White House out of the eyes of tourists and the news corps.
(From UPI Capital Comment)
THINGS WE DON'T UNDERSTAND
Dick Clark -- still billed as the world's oldest teenager, despite having three grown sons -- announced Thursday that he is pregnant.
And if that isn't shocking enough, he's due next Monday!
Clark made the announcement on his syndicated TV talk show "The Other Half," which he co-hosts with Danny Bonaduce, Mario Lopez and Dr. Jan Adams. The show is designed to offer a male viewpoint on issues primarily of interest to women.
Would this still be considered a teen pregnancy?
(Thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)
ANOTHER THING WE DON'T UNDERSTAND
Fans of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" on UPN will see an oddity next Tuesday -- a musical episode.
NEWS OF OTHER LIFE FORMS
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted 7-0 Thursday to ban shark-feeding trips for divers.
The law goes into effect Jan.1.
The Diving Equipment and Marketing Association sued in Tallahassee Circuit Court, challenging any ban. Dive operators said the commission was reacting to recent media hype concerning this summer's spate of shark attacks.
But the commissioners said that had nothing to do with the ban. Rather they said it was the result of two years of hearings and study, which showed such feeding trips changed the behavior of the predators.
Among other things, the commissioners said that feeding sharks teaches them to seek people and puts divers and swimmers at risk.
TODAY'S SIGN THE WORLD IS ENDING
The Chinese deputy minister for health revealed this week that China is the only nation where more women kill themselves than men.
Surveys suggest that more than 50 percent of all female suicides worldwide take place in China, home to only 21 percent of the global female population.
Most of China's suicide victims are young women from the rural areas hardest hit by the country's rush to capitalism. While their men labor in the cities for much-needed cash, women now perform up to 70 percent of China's agricultural work, where incomes are falling.
And while their urban sisters live ever more modern, independent lives, many peasant women enter arranged marriages with abusive, older partners. Some are even kidnapped and sold to men living in areas with scarce female populations.
The easy availability of pesticide makes it the suicide method of choice.
"If poisonous pesticides are strictly controlled, the suicide rate might well be lowered by half, nationwide," Professor Zhai Shutao, a leading Chinese researcher on suicide, predicted.
In belated recognition of the depth of the problem, the Chinese government has launched a 10-year plan to improve mental health services, especially among women in the countryside, and will endorse the nation's first mental health law by 2003.
AND FINALLY, TODAY'S UPLIFTING STORY
Any Grinch attempting to steal Halloween this year failed.
83 percent of the 3,000 mothers polled nationwide said they celebrated the holiday. The majority -- 90 percent -- said that "by celebrating Halloween they made a choice to claim victory over fear, viewing the holiday as yet another way to return to the pattern of their normal lives."
Trick-or-treaters also were out in full force, with 85 percent of those polled saying they trick-or-treated and another 56 percent said they handed out candy.
Halloween ranks second only to Christmas in holiday spending in the United States.