Miscellany, Nov. 29, 1954

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Wild Blue Yonder. In Milwaukee, police looked for William Ferguson, lecturer (at $1 a head) on the wonders of Mars, after he 1) tried to sell Policewoman Mary Smeaton a brain-relaxing helmet and other souvenirs he said he brought back from his trip to the planet in 1947; 2) told her she would return to her home planet Saturn after 14,000 more years; 3) rhapsodized about Martian food, which the body absorbs without the need for elimination, and Martian water, which can be swum in without getting wet.

Short Change. In Camden. N.J., U.S. Internal Revenue Service Auditor Elmer T. Ponto, 34, devised a simplified income-tax table which has already saved the Government $95,199 and is expected to save $250,000 annually, was rewarded with a $675 cash prize, less $121.50 tax, which added enough to his year's income to throw him into a higher tax bracket.

The Long Voyage Home. In Cologne, after he had joined the French Foreign Legion to escape arrest, been captured at Dienbienphu, repatriated through Russia and finally returned to Cologne, Ludwig Mende, 33, meekly faced the music, started a five-month stretch for selling two radios for which he had not paid.

Clarification. In Manchester, N.H., the Grenier Air Force Base added, to the 500-or-so reports it handles every month, one more: a Report on the Number of Man-Hours Expended on a Report on the Necessity and Value of Reports Made to the Air Force.

Guilt Complex. In Mount Pleasant, Texas, after he had 1) robbed a liquor store, 2) robbed and kidnaped a cab driver, 3) threatened the driver until he leaped from his cab and let it smash into a concrete wall, James K. Justice, 28, remarked ruefully to arresting officers: "I guess I'll have to go to jail for this."

Gourmet. In West New York, N.J., Mrs. Helen Schroeder told a judge that when she asked her husband if he wanted bacon and eggs, he hurled a shaving mug at her, punched her in the eye, shouted: "My stomach isn't a garbage can!"

Forked Tongue. In Baltimore, Ralph Brickerd, 57, displayed a sign reading DEAF AND DUMB. PLEASE HELP to City Patrolman George T. Hughes, was asked what he meant by it, readily replied: "It's a fast way to make a buck," was arrested for the 140th time.

A Leg to Stand On. In Taunton, England, one-legged Steelworker Howard James Challenger, 22, charged with breaking and entering the home of his former landlady, was acquitted after the jury accepted his story that he only wanted to reclaim the false leg he had left as security on unpaid rent 18 months before.