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Important events as reported by daily newspapers and summarized by Daedalus Howell.

Thursday 12.28.00

"Steffi & Andre: Liebesnest für 50 Millionen Mark," blared a headline from Bildzeitung, a German-based tabloid. What's it all mean, oh great one, you ask? Andre Agassi, tennis star and Brooke Shields deflowerer, bought a pad in Tiburon for Steffi Graf, girlfriend and fellow Wimbledon champ, reports the Marin Independent Journal, which was besieged by German tabloids covering the "story." German tabloids--can you just imagine? Remember that is the nation that invented the concept of "schadenfreude" (experiencing joy from another person's misfortune), not to mention Nazi spin doctor Joseph Goebbels. "I think everybody and their brother is after this thing," noted Brigitte Knauf of Der Spiegel, who said her publication wants to run a "small, human interest" piece on the dwelling--so small, apparently, that the German rag is willing to lay out some hard cold marks for airfare and accommodations.

Friday 12.29.00

Rick Ferguson, an employee of a San Anselmo concrete company, cemented his "Employee of the Week" title when he endeavored to retrieve a stolen company dump truck after spotting it being driven near his Richmond home. "I started following him, trying to get him to stop, and the guy pulled over to let me pass," Ferguson recounted to the IJ. "I got out and told him that he was driving my boss' truck. He got out and said he didn't steal it and that he owned it. Then he took out a gun and put it to my head." (Suggested soundtrack: "Billy, Don't Be a Hero," performed by Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods.) "I think Ferguson's motives were good and that he was trying to do the right thing, but I would never advise anybody to do that," said San Rafael Police Sgt. Jonathan Bean. "In that situation I would recommend you be a good witness, drop back and protect your safety, and call 911." Or just walk the fuck away.

Sunday 12.31.00

The Napa Valley Register reports that U.S. retailers bought up to 20 percent more champagne and sparkling wine than usual in 1999. According to wine columnist Dan Berger, customers bought only 5 percent more, however, leaving millions of undrunk cases sitting in stockrooms. "We were all victims of the biggest marketing hoax in history," said Phil Huettenhain, owner of Vintage 1870 Wine Cellar in Yountville (apparently unaware of the Village People). "It was built up so big I thought every person in the world would have a glass of champagne in hand." There's still time, Phil. Overstocked champagne can be sent to: Daedalus Howell, c/o Northern California Bohemian, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95403. Bottoms up!

Sunday 12.31.00

When wetlands consultant John Zentner pleaded guilty to illegally moving eight red-legged frogs protected by the Endangered Species Act out of the path of a Concord housing development, he said he didn't foresee the tidal wave of negative press that would follow. "I could never have predicted the newspaper coverage," Zentner told the Press Democrat. Indeed, Zentner could never have predicted this: wiggy, wiggy, wom, wiggy, wom, wiggy wom. . . .

Monday 01.01.01

Thanks to bicyclists Tom Fallon and Dolores Mosqueda, motorists who drive "dangerously close" to bicyclists may get a poor grade on their "Road Rage Report Card" (drivers who run down cyclists still have to drive home really, really fast and get paint jobs, however). Concerned about the growing number of assaults on cyclists by aggravated motorists, the duo has printed 1,000 notebooks for cyclists to record license-plate numbers and physical descriptions of unsafe drivers (or their Last Will and Testament, depending on the extent of the assault). The report cards come on the heels of part-time balloon salesman Glenn Wilson's alleged endangerment of the cyclists when he reportedly threw a soft drink at them, charged at them, and skidded by, whilst driving a car full of helium balloons. Fallon says that Ross Police Chief Lee Hinnenberg told him that Wilson was a member of a venerable Ross family (uh, yeah, sure, balloon guy) and encouraged him to drop the matter, which the chief denies. "From what we've been told, [Fallon's] a radical--one of the bicyclists, the hard-core type," he said to the IJ. Watch yourself, Chiefy, words like that tend to attract radical, hard-core cyclists in droves--they may swarm your wee little burg like a plague of locusts for a little civil disobedience. . . . Calling Critical Mass!

Monday 01.01.01

The PD reports that 5,400 babies were born in Sonoma County during 2000; however, only 4,000 county residents died before 2001. The result is a 1,400 countywide Soul Deficit, owing to the skewed reincarnation ratio. Parents who suspect their child was born without a soul are urged to register him or her with the Census Bureau to aid in the search for the antichrist. When the antichrist is located, he or she will be rewarded a $500 college scholarship and an embossed certificate of authentication. Happy New Year. . . .

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From the January 4-10, 2001 issue of the Northern California Bohemian.

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