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DON’T FORGET THE LESSER NEWS OF 1994

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Another year almost shot. No shortage of big news events in '94, but let us not overlook the lesser bulletins:

In West Palm Beach, Fla., when a radio station decided to drop a live 40-pound turkey from a plane and reward whoever caught it, there were protests from animal defenders who felt it would be harmful to the turkey's sense of well-being, if not to its ankles, seeing as how heavy, broad-breasted domestic birds can't fly nearly as well as their wild cousins in the first place and might not be able in the second place to maintain a sufficient flapping motion all the way down from way up there to keep from crash landing.And how do you test something like that beforehand without endangering your turkey?

Now, if it had been a frozen 40-pound turkey, we could expect another kind of protest from those below. Who wants to die of turkey droppings?

In California, a woman received her driver's license in the mail three times with somebody else's picture on it. Dodging blame, the state said she got in line in the wrong order. What did they want her to do? Butt in front of herself?

But we shouldn't throw stones. Florida punished Patrick Clark by suspending a driver's license he never had. Clark is blind. Not as blind, in the larger sense, as the DMV.

In Albany, N.Y., an 86-year-old woman, having been pronounced officially dead by the coroner, was tagged, bagged and stuffed in cold storage for 90 minutes. Then she woke up. Some people just have no respect for authority.

In Toledo, Ohio, a city official suggested moving all the deaf people to homes near the airport, swapping with current residents who complain about the noise. City officials quickly learned how the word "stupid" is expressed in sign language.

In Gainesville, a Boeing 737 hit a deer on takeoff. The pilot was cleared by the FAA, but game officials are concerned about his hunting without a license and using an unauthorized weapon.

In Minneapolis, a Muslim woman was ticketed for concealing her face with a veil. (In a Muslim country, she'd be hassled for not concealing her face.) What did the cops think she was going to do? Rob gas stations?

In Chicago, they uprooted and removed outdoor pay phones to thwart drug dealers. Fine, but now how are people supposed to report drug dealers?

In Milford, Mass., an unoccupied car accidentally kicked into reverse and ran around in circles in a downtown intersection for two hours. Police had no choice but to ticket it for violating the no-cruising ordinance.

Just don't inhale: The California gas chamber was shut down because a federal judge said killing people with lethal gas is inhumane. Lethal injection, on the other hand, is OK. I guess the important thing is that nobody's feelings get hurt.

Taiwan has decided to allow death-row inmates to become sperm donors. It may or may not be a good idea, but I'd keep a close eye on their kids.

The shameful under-representation of women in medical studies will be studied in a new medical study - as soon as they get enough guys to volunteer.

According to women, the main "female problem" today is all those scalp wounds from the glass ceiling.

Oxymoron of the month: "Mandatory Voluntarism."

How the mighty have fallen: Says here the Russian Strategic Missile Command had its power cut off for not paying its bill. That's not only a major come-down, it's dangerous. These are the last people you want taking a shot in the dark.

When I saw a story in the paper about crime in Georgia, I thought it meant our Georgia, not the one next to Russia and Azerbaijan. But then I saw it was about rural men who still kidnap women for their brides. Then I was sure it was our Georgia.