2002.10.30 Halloween warning: Look out for little Saddams

Written by David Green.

BY RICH FOLEY


I’ve got to quit looking at the tabloid papers for sale at the supermarket. Last week, the front page of Weekly World News scooped the mainstream press with the startling news that an Iraqi submarine was prowling the waters of peaceful Lake Michigan. Unfortunately, my turn at the checkout came before I could get the particulars and the paper was sold out on my next trip to the store.

So, I’m forced to guess at what the details of the story could have been. Of course, maybe my imagination is better than that of the writers at WWN, but I’ve got to admit, Iraqi subs plying the coastline of, say, Escanaba is pretty creative.

There is the problem of how an enemy submarine got all the way up the St. Lawrence Seaway and through the Soo Locks without being detected. And does a pretty much land-locked country like Iraq have a sub or even a navy in the first place? But since when do the tabloids let facts get in the way of a good story?

And since Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein is known to have several body doubles of himself in circulation to confuse his enemies, I suppose we’re fooling ourselves to think there is only one submarine in Lake Michigan. So residents of Muskegon, Chicago, Milwaukee and other cities around the lake should probably be on alert for additional subs. And be especially careful of any little Saddams who show up at your door on Halloween. You never know when one of them might be real. Perhaps some questioning would be in order.

I’m told during World War II, spies were sometimes uncovered by asking them questions that only native Americans would know the answers to. The problem was, this system didn’t always work. I read about one American general who was arrested and held several hours because although he said he was from Illinois, he didn’t know which league the Chicago Cubs played in.

This year, a good question might be, “Who played in the 2002 World Series?” Or maybe, “Name one member of the world champion Anaheim Angels.” At least, if San Francisco had won the World Series, most people are familiar with the name of Barry Bonds. But how many people outside of California can name even one Angel?

So maybe baseball trivia isn’t the best way to uncover possible spies among us. But while I’m on the subject, it gives me a chance to share a great baseball story.

Back in 1962, future Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry was a rookie with the San Francisco Giants. He showed promise as a hurler at the major league level, but his batting was simply terrible. While watching him take batting practice one day, Giants manager Alvin Dark remarked, “There will be a man on the moon before he hits a home run in the big leagues.”

Dark was correct in his prediction, but it was a close contest. Seven and a half years later, Apollo 11 landed on the moon. A scant 34 minutes later, Gaylord Perry hit his first major league home run.

If you do get a suspect trick or treater, be careful if they ask for directions. In fact, I’ve got the perfect map to loan a possible enemy agent.

I recently picked up a free “2002 Michigan Relocation Guide, featuring Lenawee County” at a store. It contained a very neat, uncluttered county map. The reason it was so neat was half the towns in Lenawee were missing.

That’s right, Weston, Jasper, and Fairfield don’t appear on the map. Neither do Riga, Palmyra, Tipton or Ridgeway. Somehow, Clayton and Deerfield manage to retain their identities, but the other smaller towns are out of luck.

A person could get lost if they depended on this map for help. So if a wet, suspicious-looking trick-or-treater asks you for directions back to Lake Michigan, ask them a sports trivia question or two before you go ahead and help them out. Then call the Weekly World News.

    – Oct. 30, 2002 
  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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