Huge Democracy Geek Even Votes In Primaries

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Vol 38 Issue 36

Cage Match Settles Nothing

PONTIAC, MI—The long-awaited steel-cage match between World Championship Wrestling rivals Violator and Psycho Sid, widely expected to settle a bitter dispute between the two, settled nothing Monday. "After all the accusations and insults exchanged between these men, I really had high hopes that this cage match would, at long last, provide some resolution and maybe even a sense of closure," WCW fan Jordan Bumpers said. "Yet, strangely, I feel like they're no closer to understanding each other's point of view than before they entered the cage." Psycho Sid, who lost the match by disqualification, continues to insist that he is the superior wrestler, a claim with which Violator vehemently disagreed.

Purchase Justified By Theoretical $50 Rebate

LAKESIDE, VA—The theoretical possibility of receiving a $50 mail-in rebate motivated shopper Jim Crewes, 28, to purchase a color printer Monday. "I really can't afford to be buying a computer right now," Crewes said. "But if I buy the printer and two toner refills, and save the receipt and UPC symbols from all the boxes and buy two more Pitney Bowes products and save those receipts and symbols, and then send it all in with the original rebate coupon, and the offer's still good by then, I'm looking at 50 smackers." Crewes was also swayed by the printer's extended-warranty option, which provides free service and repairs if the printer broke and he actually shipped it back to its manufacturer, which he never would.

Tokyo Squeezes In Five More Residents

TOKYO—Tokyo somehow managed to squeeze in five more residents Monday, when the Takashi family moved into a converted studio apartment. "This was a one-bedroom apartment housing a family of six, but a wall was cleverly constructed to create a small studio," city planning minister Hideki Kumagai said. "This was good: We rarely can fit new citizenry into our city without drilling into the bedrock." The Takashi family, brought in from Osaka's overflow, will pay the equivalent of $12,600 monthly for 144 square feet of living space.

Band Loudly Discusses Record Deal At IHOP

AKRON, OH—The five members of Ratchet Chunk, close to finalizing a deal with Columbus-based Ripchord Records, loudly discussed the deal at the Polk Road IHOP Monday. "We've got to insist on 60 percent of the gross," said bassist Gavin Lee, speaking loudly enough for the high-school girls three booths over to hear. "If they try to go 50-50, I say we take our demo to Dimebag [Records]." Lead singer Kris Maldonado added that he should receive co-producer credit for the album, as the demo was burned on his iMac.

Large Dependent Film Tops Weekend Box Office

HOLLYWOOD—In what is being hailed as a triumph for dependent cinema, Sony Pictures' A Perfect Alibi, a $90 million Mel Gibson-Cameron Diaz thriller, topped the weekend box office with an impressive $39 million take. "This just shows what can be accomplished when you've got a major studio's backing and distribution," executive producer Don Murray said Monday. "Contrary to what some in the movie business would have you believe, there is a place for big, non-character-driven pictures." Murray said he hopes the film's success serves as an inspiration to established, bankable actors and directors.

Conan 'Conanquers' The Emmys!

Item! It's a week later, and everybody's still buzzing about the star-packed Emmys. "According To" Jim Belushi was there, as was TV's reigning golden couple Jane Kaczyzmarezk and the guy from The West Wing. And who ever expected to see Kelsey Grammar at an Emmy ceremony? But the real star of the evening was the host himself, Mr. Conan O'Brian, who "conanquered" any doubts about whether he has what it takes to shine in prime time. "Conangratulations," Conan!

The NYC Smoking Ban

New York is one of a number of U.S. cities considering a ban on smoking in restaurants and bars. What do you think?
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Huge Democracy Geek Even Votes In Primaries

NASHUA, NH—Politically engaged citizen David Haas, 25, described by friends and acquaintances as a "big democracy geek," even votes in primaries.

Haas casts his vote in some obscure Sept. 10 election.

"I can understand voting in the big elections, like for president or governor, or maybe even senator," longtime friend Gregg Becher said Monday. "But David votes in, like, mayoral and county-supervisor elections. How dorky is that?"

The right to vote, as guaranteed in the Constitution, is among the hallmarks of the American democratic system. But Haas has exercised his franchise rights to an embarrassing extreme, voting in every federal, state, and local election since turning 18.

"Normally, David's a reliable, punctual employee," said Dorothy Raubel, owner of Raubel Garden Center, where Haas has worked for the past seven years. "But then there's that occasional Tuesday morning in April or November when he calls in saying he'll be late to work. It's a strange habit, but we've all grown accustomed to it by now."

Haas prides himself on being an informed voter, making sure to familiarize himself with candidates' positions before casting a vote. A self-described "independent" who tends to favor Democratic candidates, he can summarize the basic position of both major parties on most issues. As a result, Haas has endured the mockery and derision of those around him.

"On Sept. 10, he showed up late to work, and you could just tell he'd been voting," coworker Mike Summers said. "He was holding something in his hand, and we were like, 'Hey, Haasenpfeffer, whatcha got there?' He said it was the League of Women Voters candidate guide. So Rob [Mularkey] says, 'League of Women Voters? Now I know why you vote so much—you want to horn in on that hot women-voter action!' David didn't even smile; he just got all huffy and said the guide was from the morning paper and that copies were available to the public."

Richard Prohaska, Haas' next-door neighbor, can attest to Haas' strange dedication to the American political process. Over the years, Prohaska said he has seen him get into numerous doorstep discussions with campaign workers and canvassing local politicians.

"About two months ago, some alderwoman who was up for reelection was going door-to-door passing out leaflets," Prohaska said. "I took one, thanked her, and closed the door as fast as I could. About 30 minutes later, I'm backing the car out of the garage to wash it, and there's David talking to her on his porch. I go to get the hose, and when I come back, he's actually inviting her into his home. I was half-done waxing when she finally came out. Either they had one hell of a quickie, or David cares deeply about local politics. Knowing him, it was definitely the latter."

Though it's not clear why Haas insists on voting in every election, there is no shortage of speculation.

"My guess is, it's his way of hiding from the real world," said Jennifer Thorsten, Haas' sister. "He's always been interested in politics. He was on the debate team in high school and got a B.A. in poli sci in college. I've tried to get him to skip an election, but he never does. He says that only by exercising our democratic freedoms do we keep our democracy healthy and vital. Whatever, David."

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