Small Town's 'Cryptosporidium Daze' Fails To Attract Visitors

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Vol 36 Issue 26

In My Day, Ballplayers Were For Shit

It seems everywhere I go these days, some young fella's jibber-jabbering about how great some ballplayer of today is. It's always Mark McGwire this or Sammy Sosa that. Well, of course they're the best. These modern big leaguers, with their blinding speed, cannon arms, and towering home runs–they've got it all. Back in my day, ballplayers were for shit!

Texas Sheriff Cracks Down On Chicken-On-Chicken Violence

AMARILLO, TX–Determined to break the deadly cycle of chicken-on-chicken violence, Amarillo Sheriff James Braddock is targeting cockfighting activity in the area. "It's always tragic when any chicken is injured or killed," said Braddock after a massive, 45-chicken bust. "But it's doubly tragic when these put-upon creatures turn against their own kind." Braddock said that while law-enforcement officials are making strides, they can only do so much. "Educating these chickens while they're still young is key," he said.

Area Father Takes One More Look At Liner Notes Of Daughter's Britney Spears Album

JEFFERSON CITY, MO–Marv Reynolds, 42, father of 11-year-old Ashley, slipped into his daughter's bedroom for one more look at the liner notes to her Britney Spears album Monday. "Just like to see what my daughter's into these days," said Reynolds, perusing the photo-packed booklet accompanying Spears' Oops!...I Did It Again for the fourth time in as many days. "I bet she'll put this on the moment she gets home from soccer practice in 20 minutes." Upon hearing a car pull into the driveway, Reynolds, who has previously browsed the liner notes to his daughter's Mandy Moore and Christina Aguilera CDs, put the Spears disc back exactly where he found it and left the room.

Clinton To Get Teeth Cleaning, Glasses Before Coverage Runs Out

WASHINGTON, DC–With less than six months remaining in his second term, President Clinton made appointments Monday for dental and optometry check-ups that are covered by his Physicians Plus presidential health plan. "My teeth are fine, but I figured I should take advantage and get a cleaning before I get dropped next January," Clinton said. "And if I get new glasses before then, Physicians Plus will cover the lenses and 60 percent of the cost of frames, so I'd be crazy not to." Clinton said he was worried he was already too late to get in for an eye exam before leaving office, but Dr. Heitman, his designated optometrist, had an opening on Dec. 17 at 8:15 a.m.

15 Years Of Kathie Lee

Last Friday, after 15 years, Kathie Lee Gifford did her final Live! With Regis & Kathie Lee. What have been some of the show's highlights over the years?

The Concorde Crash

On July 25, an Air France Concorde crashed during takeoff near Paris, killing 113 people, including 96 Germans. What do you think of this first-ever crash of the supersonic jet?

Old Folks At Home

Long life is the ardent desire of many. Indeed, some of you may achieve it, as I have. But once you find your-self out-living your pet Galapagos tortoise, you may do well to question your luck.
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Small Town's 'Cryptosporidium Daze' Fails To Attract Visitors

BLAKELY, GA–Blakely civic leaders were baffled last weekend as Cryptosporidium Daze, their elaborately planned summer festival celebrating the popular waterborne pathogen, failed to draw tourists to the Southwest Georgia town.

Cryptosporidium Daze

"Just as Colquitt celebrates its agricultural heritage with Watermelon Days, we wanted to host a festival that reflected the uniqueness of our community," Blakely Town Council president Jane Lyons said Monday. "When someone suggested a theme inspired by the historical event we're best known for, the Great Cryptosporidium Outbreak of 1988, we knew we had the answer."

Twelve years ago, Lyons said, a small amount of pig feces seeped into the town's municipal water supply, contaminating it with cryptosporidium. As a result, 611 citizens contracted cryptosporidiosis, an intestinal disease marked by abdominal cramps, violent diarrhea, nausea, and fever.

"If it weren't for our town's brush with cryptosporidium, the EPA never would have enacted the Surface Water Treatment Act of 1989," Lyons said. "It established drinking-water standards for the entire country–and it all started right here in Blakely!"

Much to the surprise of town-council members, unlike Colquitt's Watermelon Days and Columbia's Riverfest, which bring up to 15,000 visitors into the neighboring small towns each summer, Cryptosporidium Daze was sparsely attended.

"It's a real mystery," Lyons said. "It was a nice, sunny day, the park was filled with booths, and somebody was out there in the big foam cryptosporidium mascot outfit shaking hands with everybody. Yet, somehow, the festival flopped."

Jeremy Luchs, 9, wears the T-shirt he won as the sole youth participant in the Protozoan Parade.

The three-day event drew only seven non-residents, most of whom left shortly after arriving.

"I thought cryptosporidium was some type of flower," said Rhonda Weber, who drove to Blakely from Albany for the event. "Turns out, I was thinking of chrysanthemum."

After an outlay of nearly $4,000 for decorations, advertising, and equipment rental, Lions Club president Gary Milstead estimated that Cryptosporidium Daze brought in less than $45 in revenue.

"We had a new mascot, Crypty The Cryptosporidium, created just for the event," said Milstead, pointing to poster bearing a grinning, single-celled parasite wearing a Blakely baseball cap. "We still have plenty of T-shirts left for sale if you want one."

Even Blakely's own citizens were disinterested in the festival. A pageant to crown one lucky young Blakely girl "Cryptosporidium Queen" was canceled due to a lack of applicants.

Other poorly received events included the Name That Parasite contest, the Water Boil, the cryptosporidium-themed "haiku-off," and the Protozoan Parade, in which children could compete for prizes by dressing up as their favorite member of the phylum protozoa.

With the unpopular event behind them, some members of the town council are wondering if they selected the wrong theme.

"Maybe people just aren't as interested in cryptosporidium as they were in the late '80s," Lyons said. "Back then, if we announced a town meeting about cryptosporidium, every last person would show up. I have, however, heard a lot of buzz lately about the radon gas that was detected in some of the homes over by the railroad tracks. Well, I guess there's always next summer."

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