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Bright & Brief

December 28, 1989

SEATTLE (AP) _ The Seattle Public Library has never been busier, both at the circulation desk and the various reference desks where staffers this year took tens of thousands of questions from a puzzled and curious public.

Book circulation topped 5 million for the first time, and the reference desks handled questions from the ordinary to the absurd, said head librarian Liz Stroup.

For example:

Do hummingbirds hitch rides on geese to fly over the Gulf of Mexico? Answer: No.

Do deer have tonsils? A stumper, said Stroup, who couldn’t find a good answer.

What’s the life span of a flea? Answer: 36 days if unfed.

Who invented the wheel? The answer is lost in antiquity, said Stroup.

The history department spent a good bit of time trying to help a caller determine the place in American history of a Richard Stans.

It turned out the caller misunderstood President Bush recite a line from the Pledge of Allegiance - ″for which it stands.″


SAN AUGUSTINE, Texas (AP) - One of the most popular local TV broadcasters in East Texas is a four-footed news co-anchor named Ventilator.

The coffee- and cream-colored cat sometimes climbs all over the news copy that Sam Malone is reading as he delivers the evening news on a cable station.

″He does it to get attention,″ Malone said. ″If I’m trying to type, he’ll lay right across the typewriter.″

Sometimes the cat crawls up on Malone’s shoulders and nuzzles the 68-year- old newsman’s hair.

″People just eat it up and it’s not something I taught him,″ Malone told The Dallas Morning News in an interview published Thursday.

Malone’s wife, Margaret, said the telephone rings constantly on days Ventilator decides he doesn’t want to go on the set.

″The cat gets more calls than we do,″ Mrs. Malone said.

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