THE CASE OF THE MISSING TP
Toilet paper! Toilet paper! With more than 5,000 people aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, you'd easily be able to find toilet paper when you need it.
The call of nature often requires a mad search of the ship's heads and commode stalls. That means long marches and so much opening and closing of water-tight doors and climbing of narrow-stepped, 70-degree-angled ladders that you'd scream if you had the nerve to test muscle control.
"Three things are essential aboard ship," an old salt said. "The first is a Zippo lighter for when you go ashore -- they make good gifts -- second is a cache of favorite snacks, and third, a roll of toilet paper."
An inquiry into missing TP and, just for fun, a request for information on the number of rolls used each week left public affairs officers dumbfounded, but the next day, sure as shooting, the shortage mysteriously ended. Of course, the TP grinch was just another 24 hours behind.
For the record: the Roosevelt's crew goes through 1,064 rolls per week. The number of heads (bathrooms) on the 22-deck ship is 138, with a total of 414 commodes.
(Thanks to UPI's Richard Tomkins aboard the USS Roosevelt)
'TOURIST GUY' ID REVEALED
Wired News has revealed the identity of the "Tourist Guy" featured in a doctored World Trade Center observation deck photo that has been forwarded to e-mail inboxes around the globe.
Days after the Sept. 11 attacks, the man's visage quickly became a phenomenon after he pasted an image of a plane into the background of a photo taken of him Nov. 28, 1997, at the WTC, and then e-mailed it to friends. Many thought the gag was in bad taste, but that didn't stop its momentum.
The man -- a 25-year-old Hungarian named Peter who asked that his surname be withheld -- told Wired via e-mail he laid low for weeks because the picture "was a joke meant for my friends, not such a large audience."
Soon after the original hoax image circulated worldwide, other pranksters took Peter's face and stuck it into famous disaster scenes from history -- spawning several Web sites dedicated to the Tourist Guy.
(Thanks to UPI's Joe Warminsky in Washington)
Creators of a new exhibit at the site of President Kennedy's assassination 38 years ago said they'll provide the opportunity for the public to offer their own ideas for memorializing the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The exhibit that opened this week at the Sixth Floor Museum in the old Texas School Book Depository -- called "Loss and Renewal: Transforming Tragic Sites" -- visitors can explore how Americans have memorialized five tragic chapters in the nation's history, some of them after years and even decades of painful reflection.
The memorial sites include Ford's Theatre in Washington where President Lincoln was shot in 1865; The USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, where a surprise attack by the Japanese in 1941 launched World War II; Dealey Plaza in Dallas, where Kennedy was assassinated in 1963; the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., where Dr. Martin Luther King was killed in 1968; and the site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.
At the end of the exhibit, the visitors are asked whether the twin towers should be rebuilt, if there should be a memorial at "Ground Zero," and whether there should be memorials at the Pentagon and in the Pennsylvania field where a fourth plane crashed.
Hand-written notes, some of them in foreign languages, are already being tacked on a wall in the museum lobby. They will be collected and forwarded to officials.
(Thanks to UPI's Phil Magers in Dallas)
MAYBE THEY SHOULD MOVE TO NEW YORK
Some 500 female taxi drivers in Iran want to establish their own syndicate -- demanding improved working conditions.
The official Iranian News Agency reports the drivers met in Tehran Wednesday night to discuss work conditions and demand the government implement measures to improve them.
Drivers' spokeswoman Maasouma Ahvan said the female drivers tried to establish their own syndicate 18 months ago, appealing "to the ministries of interior and defense, but they told us that the Taxi Drivers Syndicate is the only one capable of issuing such a license for us."
Ahvan said the Taxi Drivers Syndicate does not support a female version, despite the fact that Article 131 of the Iranian labor law does not oppose it.
REASONS TO CELEBRATE TODAY:
FRIDAY: This is Black Friday, the traditional beginning of the holiday shopping season.
It's Buy Nothing Day, a 24-hour moratorium on consumer spending. Yeah, right. (Web site: adbusters.org/campaigns)
Today is SINKIES Day, commemorating those people who occasionally dine over the kitchen sink. (Web site: sinkie.com)
The day after Thanksgiving is also known as You're Welcomegiving Day.
And Japan celebrates Labor Thanksgiving Day today.
SATURDAY: Today is What Do You Love About America Day.
SUNDAY: Today through Dec. 1 is Travelers With Disabilities Awareness Week.
This is Shopping Reminder Day. Only one month to go until Christmas.
Germany observes Totensonntag, a Protestant remembrance of the dead, today.
It's Independence Day in Suriname, which achieved independence from Netherlands in 1975.
And the United Nations commemorates the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
MONDAY: This is John Harvard Day, commemorating the anniversary of the birth in 1607 of the English clergyman, scholar and founder of Harvard College.
And the Zibelemarit, or Onion Market, is held today in Berne, Switzerland. It's the best known and most popular of Switzerland's many autumn markets.
(Thanks to Chase's 2001 Calendar of Events)
BY THE WAY...
It was on this date in 1963 that the cult classic TV show "Dr. Who" premiered on British television. A number of actors have portrayed the doctor over the years; who was the first?
William Hartnell was the first actor to play "Dr. Who," which -- in case you were wondering -- did not begin airing in the United States until Sept. 29, 1975.