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On the Light Side

January 14, 1987

MILWAUKEE (AP) _ It takes about as long to sell a slide rule these days as it does to learn to use one.

″About the only people we sell them to these days are collectors and inquisitive people who still like to use them,″ said Ed Pawlak, office manager for Teledyne Post, an engineering supply company that cut the price from $40 a decade ago to about $11 in an effort to clear out old stock.

Pawlak said Tuesday the supply was at about 150 and definitely not going fast. The company in 1978 sold about 500 a week.

Pawlak blames the decline of the slide rule on hand-held calculators.

″It’s simpler to push a couple of buttons than to think about what you have to do,″ he said.

However, some still find a use for them, Pawlak said. ″I’ve known people who have taken them and mounted them. They put them in a little frame and hang them on a rec room wall.″


JOLIET, Ill. (AP) - Alvin Goffney had served his time in the Will County Jail, but he wasn’t ready to leave.

″You see, judge, I have a job to finish,″ Goffney, 33, of Joliet, told Circuit Judge Robert Buchar.

Goffney has been working with a painting crew redecorating the jail and needed four more days to complete the job, he explained Monday.

Sgt. Brian Fink, a correctional officer at the jail, said Goffney had been on the project for about a month, adding, ″He’s very good at it. Goffney has been very dedicated to his painting work here.″

Goffney had been in jail on weapons charges since Sept. 27. Under a plea bargain, he was to be released on 30 months’ probation.

But he’ll be in a bit longer, for a surprised Buchar granted his request.


SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - The Spokane County auditor’s office has won a highly vocal fan by letting a Massachusetts man file his claims to mineral rights on Mars.

″I love Spokane,″ Thomas P. Budnick, a 39-year-old social worker from Holyoke, Mass., was quoted in Sunday’s editions of The Spokesman-Review/Spo kane Chronicle. ″I love the people of Washington. You’re the only ones who have filed my papers, who haven’t ridiculed me or called me a crackpot.″

″We like his money,″ said Auditor William Donahue. ″We’ll take anything anybody wants to file as long as there’s a title and a name on it.″

Budnick said he discovered the open filing policy by process of elimination. ″I tried every place in my own state. Then I moved on to New York and Indiana and Iowa and Illinois and Idaho and California,″ he said.

The auditor’s policy may pay off, for he donated one-eighth of one Martian claim exclusively to the residents of Washington state.


HONOLULU (AP) - Here’s a deal for somebody who wants a remote island to themselves.

Palmyra, 960 miles south of Honolulu, is up for sale by the Fullard-Leo family, which has owned it for nearly 65 years and is listing the approximately 600-acre property with a real estate agent.

The price has not been disclosed, but ″The time is right″ to sell, said Leslie Fullard-Leo, one of three brothers who own Palmyra, a collection of small islets that surround a large and deep harbor.

″Each year about this time, we get a lot of calls from people with this idea or that idea,″ Ainslie Fullard-Leo said Tuesday. ″We call this the Palmyra ’silly season.″

The ideas include a tourist center, a rocket launching area, a nudist colony, a religious retreat, a sport fishing center and a place to mine manganese.

In recent years, the island has been a stopping-off point for yachtsmen.

″It’s on a direct line from Manila to the Panama Canal,″ said Leslie Fullard-Leo. ″It is out of the hurricane belt. It is about half way between Hawaii and American Samoa.″

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