Date: Thu, 21 Sep 95 19:35:59 -0700
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: WhiteBoardness 9/19/95
Excerpted-from: WhiteBoard News for September 19, 1995
For six months, Donna Graybeal waited for the phone to ring, every 90
minutes, day and night, it did - no fewer than 2,688 times. She would
answer the phone, hear a sound like rushing air, then a click, then the dial
tone. Nobody was ever there.
"It drives you absolutely out of your mind," Graybeal said. "I thought,
talk dirty to me. Do something. This silence is driving me crazy.
Police traced the calls to the Potomac, Maryland, home of Theodore and
The prankster was not one of the family, but an old unused heating-oil tank
in the basement equipped years ago with a device that automatically dialed
an oil company whenever the fuel was running low.
"Poor Donna had been harassed for months by our oil tank," Elisabeth James
Steuart Petroleum in Washington, D.C., installed the re-dialer device about
eight years ago in six homes participating in a short-term test. The tank
was dialing an 800 number that Steuart dropped several years ago when the
company sold its residential division.
Six months ago, Graybeal got an 800 line for the food service equipment
repair company she runs from her home. It was the old Steuart number.
Nobody is certain what brought the oil tank to life shortly after the number
was re-assigned. "Something resurrected this machine from its deep sleep
and it woke up and started dialing," said Bell Atlantic spokesman Harold
Herman. "It's one of those things that makes you stop and scratch your
On the marquee of Wallingford's Guild 45th St. Theatre:
"Beyond Rangoon: A Close Shave in Burma."
Scientists in Britain are developing a strain of plant that will glow in
the dark, alerting farmers to damage from pests or other stress long before
it becomes a serious problem.
The technology involves transferring the genetic material for a luminous
protein in certain jellyfish into the plants.
Professor Tony Trewavas of the University of Edinburgh's institute
associated with cell biology told reporters that "when the plants are
attacked by disease or pests, they glow."
So far, the gene has been successfully transferred into experimental tobacco
plants, but they do not yet glow enough to be seen with the naked eye at
"Theoretically, you could have house plants that glow when you don't give
them enough water," said Trewavas.
A Canadian mass murderer made it to the semifinals of a U.S. poetry contest
before shocked judges pulled his entry after learning of his identity.
Clifford Olson, convicted of killing eight girls and three boys in 1982,
wrote a poem called "Success" for a quarterly contest operated by the
Maryland-based National Library of Poetry.
"We were shocked, it's something that has never happened before," contest
spokesman Eric Mueck said Friday.
The poem, penned while Olson is serving life in a Canadian prison, ends as
A life that is clean, a heart that is true,
And doing your best...that's success.
© 1995 Peter Langston