Bits of the world in brief


Fifth Estate # 298, June 19, 1979

TV Hazardous to Health

The Epilepsy Foundation of America is warning that the simple act of watching television may trigger seizures in nearly a third of all individuals with epilepsy. The Washington-based organization says there is substantial scientific data indicating that the moving images of lights and shadows on TV screens can provoke the seizures.

The Foundation says that disco-type settings portrayed on the tube seem to be particularly hazardous to epileptics.

Shah Sucks

Obviously in keeping with his heritage as a blood-sucking parasite, the Shah of Iran apparently likes vampire movies. The dethroned Iranian monarch recently asked for a private cassette of George Hamilton’s recent film “Love at First Bite,” (a Dracula spoof) to be flown in for a special showing at the Shah’s current retreat at Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

Some Call Them Pigs

A police union’s softball team in Jacksonville, Florida—trying to raise some travel money—has found an eager market for its T-shirts promoting the use of the state’s electric chair.

“1 down—133 to go” is the message on the T-shirts, accompanied by a drawing of the electric chair. The state carried out its first execution in 15 years, in May, and another 133 inmates are still waiting on Florida’s death row.

Members of the fraternal order of police softball team are selling the shirts—available in three colors —for five dollars apiece to raise money to play in a “super cops” tournament at New Orleans next month. So far, they say, business has been booming. Detective Phil Kearney says the team had intended to sell the shirts only within the city’s police department in order to avoid offending civilians but the product turned out to have a wide appeal.

Kearney says, “We’ve had off-duty officers and some citizens come in to buy them. We haven’t approached anybody outside the department. They are coming to us.”

With their first T-shirt apparently successful, the softball team is now offering a second shirt, also with a picture of the electric chair and saying “Raulerson, you’re next.”

It refers to death-row inmate James Raulerson, convicted of the 1973 killing of a Jacksonville, Fla. patrolman. Detective Kearney sums up the T-shirt sale by saying, “We’re just a softball team trying to subsidize a trip.”

Leary Admits Being CIA Agent

Former LSD “High Priest” Timothy Leary has admitted that he was “A willing agent of the CIA” during the Nixon administration. Leary made his confession in a tape recorded interview with Walter Bowart, author of the book, “Operation Mind Control.” The interview will appear in the upcoming issue of Gallery Magazine.

In the interview, Leary reportedly names the person who recruited him for the CIA, but refuses to say how much he was paid for his agency work.

Jokester Jammed

Ken Kelley, who may be remembered locally for his days as editor of the now-defunct Ann Arbor Sun, was recently sentenced to five days in a California county jail for placing a paper toilet-seat cover in the judge’s chair.

Kelley, a temporary reporter for the San Francisco Examiner, was held in contempt of court by retired Superior Court Judge Clayton Horn, and ordered into immediate custody to begin serving his five-day term.

The incident occurred as the jury deliberated in the multi-million dollars lawsuit against the Examiner and two reporters. With the jury out, Judge Horn was standing near the clerk’s desk in his courtroom. Kelley strode into the courtroom and, apparently, unaware that the judge was standing less than ten feet away, placed the tissue on the judge’s padded chair.

“You!” Horn roared as he saw Kelley. “What are you doing?” Kelley, still not recognizing Horn, replied, “This is by order of the judge.”

As Kelley turned to leave the courtroom, Horn yelled, “Come back here!” and ordered the bailiff to stop him.

“You are held in contempt for impugning the integrity of the court,” Horn told Kelley, and ordered him into immediate custody despite Kelley’s profuse apologies for what he called a “prank.”