In an era of tight education budgets, one category of Texas school spending seems unrestrained, according to a May
story: high school football stadiums. More than 20 new or planned facilities (“gridiron cathedrals”) resemble those of professional teams, with luxury suites, plush locker rooms and weight rooms, or even climate-controlled indoor practice facilities. The $20 million stadium in Denton, Texas, which includes a $900,000, three-story scoreboard with instant replay, is barely better than the state-of-the-art fields in Waco, Southlake and Mesquite, but may not hold up to the $27 million facility in Round Rock. Critics bemoan the terribly misplaced priorities, but defenders say the stadiums may eventually pay for themselves and that construction bonds are more accessible than the tax money necessary to raise teacher salaries.
OUR LITIGIOUS SOCIETY
Russian “astrologist” Marina Bai has filed a lawsuit in the Presnensky district court in Moscow against NASA, claiming that her business will be ruined if the U.S. agency is allowed, as planned, to crash a rocket into the Tempel 1 comet on July 4 to see what can be learned from the experience. Bai said the collision will “interfere with the natural life of the universe,” which will in turn harm her “system of spiritual values,” and she seeks 8.7 billion rubles (about US$311 million, which is the reported cost of the entire mission).
In May, backhoe contractor and part-time sculptor Ricky Pearce created a 17-foot-high, 40-ton concrete figure of the legs of a reclining woman in a grassy lot between two churches in a quiet neighborhood in Henderson, N.C. The legs, bent at the knees, noticeably parted, and accompanied by landscaped foliage “strategically placed” (according to a report from WNCN-TV in Raleigh), are supposedly in tribute to Marilyn Monroe. Asked one neighbor, “Why do they just show the legs?”
The project “Sleeping With the Enemy,” at the Jack the Pelican Presents gallery in Brooklyn, N.Y., involves two gay Israeli artists (Gil and Moti) who have recently dated dozens of local Arab men. They announced in May that they are ready to select one of them to seduce. The idea is that their tryst will take place at the gallery as a statement on defusing Arab-Israeli hostilities.
Computer repairman Dennis Avner of Guatay, Calif., is perhaps the world’s most extreme variation of a “furrie” (a person who adopts the persona of an animal). Avner has tiger-stripe tattoos covering most of his body, dental implants sharpened to points to resemble tiger teeth, and metal-stud implants around his mouth to hold his long, plastic whiskers. He has had ear and lip surgery to make his head more cat-like and wears special contact lenses to make his eyes appear as ovals. He told the
San Diego Union Tribune
in May that Guatay folks are mostly tolerant of him but that he nonetheless has decided to relocate to the state of Washington.
A man in March who decided to wear a Pluto dog mask to rob a Gordon’s Mini Market in Cranberry, Pa. was unsuccessful, forced to flee empty-handed when the clerk could not bring himself to stop laughing at the disguise.