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Department of Mysterious Ways

From a Knight-Ridder News Service story datelined New York: "It was Christmas Day, 1986, when [Lowell "Bud"] Paxson's second wife left him for another man. In despair, Paxson, the multimillionaire co-founder of the Home Shopping Network, went with his children on a planned vacation to Caesar's Palace. After weeping through Buddy Hackett's nightclub act, Paxson retired alone to his luxurious suite. Unable to sleep, he found himself at 4 A.M. searching through drawers and cabinets for the Gideon Bible. By morning, he told his family, he'd become a Christian. Ever since, he said, business has prospered.... On Monday, he will launch Pax TV, the seventh broadcast network.... Think of it as God's network. `I can't tell you what He'd want to watch,' Paxson said. `But I want to try to prevent anything going on there that I think He wouldn't want to watch.'"

Peace Dividend?

A wire service story in The Washington Post: "The Pentagon estimates it will spend around $50 million in the coming year to provide the impotence drug Viagra for American troops and military retirees. The cost--roughly the price of two new Marine Corps Harrier jets or forty-five Tomahawk cruise missiles--is among the unexpected military expenses that Pentagon officials recently told Congress have come up since they made their original 1999 budget requests. `Viagra sort of burst on the scene,' Pentagon spokesman Jim Tuner said."

Green and Gold Flu

From an article in The Wisconsin State Journal: "The Green Bay Packers weren't the only ones shut down during their Monday night loss. A General Motors plant also was idled by workers who called in sick for the night shift, presumably so they could watch the game. `We just didn't have enough people to operate,' said Gary Giles, manager of the assembly plant that makes GM sports-utility vehicles such as the Suburban and Tahoe. `We tried to do everything we could, like trading people around between departments, but in the end there was nothing we could do.' ... Plant officials sent employees a letter last week stressing the importance of showing up for work. Televisions around the plant were tuned in to the ABC broadcast Monday, when the Packers lost to the Minnesota Vikings."

Frontiers of Free Enterprise

From an ad in Parade magazine: "The millennium is coming! Do you know how much time is left? You will with this unique keepsake Countdown Clock! Continuously displays the exact number of days, hours, minutes, and even seconds remaining until the millennium.... As low as $24.95 each. Exciting memento of the most anticipated event of our time! Free millennium Key Chain Collectible $7.50 value if you act now! Lithium battery-powered for guaranteed operation through the millennium and beyond. Comes with a limited three-year warranty."

Golf Course Billy Clubs

From an Associated Press story datelined Bangkok: "With crime surging as hard times hit Thailand, Bangkok police have been ordered to take a drastic measure to combat mayhem on the streets. …

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