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Cigar Smoking Not Hobby

(Moline) The practice or habit of cigar smoking does not deserve hobby status according to the North American Diversion Consortium and marginal Entertainment here. The committee, manned by people with nothing else to do all day, reversed a previous decision made back in March and reported by this newspaper.

During an emotionally charged meeting several proponents of cigar smoking lit up and then stormed out of the hall.

The final vote of 5-0 refused to recognize cigar smoking as a legitimate hobby. In further action the group did a crisp about-face on the status of stamp collecting which was deemed immoral almost three months ago as well. Butterfly mounting was not discussed leading experts to conclude that that some hobbies remain sacred in the face of creeping political correctiveness.

“There is nothing obscene about placing stamps in a scrapbook and then forgetting about them,” said the group. “The problems begin with constant vigils over stamp books and the very way some collectors acquire their goods.”

As expected the announcement skirted comment on the use of airplane glue in close quarters and the raising of dangerous herbs. A harsh response on the part of cigar chompers and the National Brotherhood of Humidors is not expected.

-Pepper Salte

The Great Indoors...

The Great Indoors…

Local Man Memorizes Zip Codes

(Montrose) Rudolph Flann has successfully memorized over 128,000 zip codes and their accompanying towns all across the United States and Canada. Starting with the easier ones closer to home Flann has increased his retention using word association, sleep deprivation, numerology and illegal drugs. Friends and neighbors are impressed, as one might guess, but they never thought he’d carry his obsession so far.

     “The man has thousands of five-digit combinations pasted all over his garage and scattered throughout his house,” says one neighbor who feels something should be done. “We don’t want to wake up in the morning and be forced to view zip codes for places we’ve never been or never intend to send mail.”

Rudolph Flann (left) has memorized almost 130,000 zip codes since retiring from the post office in 1994. Today the energetic hobbyist says he’s just getting started. He estimates that there are some 31,170,0000 more of the postal codes to digest.

     Flann, who has never been out of Montrose County in his 74 years, says his attempts are good for humanity. He first became interested in the zip code phenomenon when a customer asked him why the zip for a jerkwater place like Sapinero, Colorado had the same number of digits as a big city like Cleveland, Ohio. His inability to answer the question plagued him all that afternoon. Just why do all communities have five-digit zips and why won’t the post office deliver a letter without one? He went home that night and began doing what quickly became tedious, though necessary, research and in time answers to this and other puzzles became clear.

     Family members say they realize Flann needs something to keep him occupied in his retirement but that other interests, like golf or stamp collecting might have more merit. Meanwhile Flann defends his efforts in light of what he sees as public information.

     “For years I saw the post office generate mounds of information that nobody ever needed to read, and I said to myself: “If they can do it why can’t I? If someone needs to know a zip code they can just call me and I can provide the critical information free of charge in a matter of minutes,” he smiled. Many people out there don’t see the value of this service until they find themselves up against the wall with mail to address. They often call sheepishly…apologetically, saying they had been a non-believer or admitting tearfully that they thought I was a nut. Sure it’s a silly hobby but it beats watching television all night.”

     Flann’s wife, Marilyn, may disagree with his appraisal saying the hobby has spun out of control and that her husband should pay more attention to the family, their herd of osprey and to yard work.

     “At first I thought the hobby was harmless but now he’s got zip codes all over my kitchen. Last week I inadvertently mailed my mother’s recipe for fried chicken to Dayton, Ohio, and I don’t even know anyone there. If he could make some money with his fixation it might be different but each month he spends more and more on supplies to feed his frenzy,” she said. “Those five-foot numbers that he pastes all over the sides of the guest house don’t come cheap.”

     Oddly enough Flann has gained a faithful following of other residents interested in improving their knowledge of zip codes.

     “We had a guy stop by yesterday who has been chronicling zip codes from Manitoba and he thinks he’s on the verge of a breakthrough into some otherwise unexplored terrain,” quipped Flann. “It’s stimulating to be right here while history is being made. Someday when all the citizens of this great country are required to display personal identification numbers on their foreheads our leaders will thank us for our efforts in this cutting edge technology.”

     Persons wishing to see for themselves what Flann and his friends are up to should drop him a postcard. Be sure to include the correct zip code.

-Fred Zeppelin