Alibi V.13 No.12 • March 18-24, 2004 

Odds & Ends

Scott Rickson

Dateline: Indonesia—Couples caught kissing in public could face jail time thanks to stiff new legislation in Indonesia. A new anti-pornography ban before the nation's parliament includes a ban on kissing on the mouth in public. According to Britain's Sky News, the bill also bans public nudity, erotic dances and sex parties. "I think there should be some restrictions on such acts because it is against our traditions of decency," said Aisyah Hamid Baidlowi, head of a parliamentary committee drafting the bill. Anyone caught in a public lip lock could face a maximum penalty of five years in jail or a fine of $25,000.

Dateline: China—In other oscular-phobic Asian news, a Chinese woman is suing a chewing gum company over a TV ad, which she says encourages young people to kiss each other. The woman from Guangzhou launched the legal action after neighbors complained that her son had been kissing their daughter. According to the mother, the boy only kissed the girl to mimic the plot of the ad. The Hong Kong edition of China Daily says that the Guangzhou Yueziu District People's Court has agreed to hear the case and will hold a public hearing.

Dateline: Taiwan—An ecologically acclaimed wetland on the grounds of Taipei's Kungkuan Elementary School has turned out to be the product of a leaky pipe. For nearly three decades, the wetland has been the pride and joy of the school. The school recently received a $200,000 grant to turn the wetland into an ecology park to house butterflies and insects, reports the China Times Express. The true nature of the school's swampy pride came to light last month when water authorities, acting on a report by a nearby resident, checked out the school's water pipes. A major leak was located. Since then, the pipe has been plugged and the wetland has dried up. Since fixing the leak, monthly water bills at the school have dropped from $1,000 to $200. Authorities estimate that the leak has cost the school at least $250,000 over the last 27 years.

Scott Rickson

Dateline: London—British customs officials have arrested a woman who arrived on a flight from West Africa with 186 pounds of fish in her luggage. The Customs and Excise Department announced last Sunday that Nenneh Nyana Jaiteh, 48, was stopped at Gatwick airport south of London after arriving on a flight from her native Gambia. Jaiteh, who was travelling alone, was lugging some 173 pounds of fish and about 13 pounds of other meat, including goat and snail, in her luggage. She was arrested and charged with breaching legislation restricting imports of meat and other animal products from countries outside the European Union. "She shouldn't have been bringing any of it in," said Customs and Excise spokeswoman Kathryn Corcoran, adding that the size of the haul was "significant." Jaiteh was released on bail and ordered to attend a court appearance on April 16.

Dateline: Georgia—Alice Regina Pike was arrested and charged with forgery last Friday after attempting to break a $1 million bill at a Covington, Ga., Wal-Mart. The 35-year-old Porterdale resident initially tried to buy $1,675 worth of merchandise with two Wal-Mart gift cards. Unfortunately, the gift cards only added up to $2.32. Pike than asked the register clerk if she could cash a $1 million bill. Unsurprisingly, the clerk realized that there was no such thing as a $1 million bill. Instead of handing out $998,325 in change, the cashier summoned a manager, who called police. Police found two other $1 million bills in Pike's wallet.

Dateline: Texas—Wal-Mart Supercenter employee Daniel A. Lorenz was fired last week for violating the store's dress code. Lorenz insisted on showing up to work at the store in Boerne, Texas, just north of San Antonio, in a priest's shirt complete with Roman collar, an Arab headdress and six crosses. Supervisors warned Lorenz that his job was at risk over his appearance, which they said violated company dress codes and upset customers, particularly Catholics. Lornenz, 20, ignored the requests of supervisors, stating that his manner of dress reflected his unique spiritual beliefs. "I told them that would be turning my back on God, and I couldn't do that," Lorenz was quoted in the Express-News as saying. In addition to the priest's collar and kaffiyeh (an Arab headdress of folded cloth held in place by a cord), Lorenz wears a fanny pack with an anarchy symbol and the words "vampire" and "ninja." He also refuses to trim his long ponytail and beard because of a belief that he is only "borrowing" his body. Lorenz does not date and will not marry because he thinks that all humans are family and that would make it incest. Lorenz' mother, who also works at Wal-Mart, is the only other adherent to her son's spiritual doctrine, which is now being put on paper. "We haven't found anybody who believes as strongly as we do," said Catherine Lorenz, 44. "We were Baptists until about three years ago."

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to devin@alibi.com.