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Bright & Brief

January 27, 1985

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) _ Joe Hargitt’s two children are avid readers of the pets-for-sale section of the daily newspaper classified ads, so their father knew exactly how to get the youngsters to take better care of their own pets.

He took out an ad:

″Warning - Unless Christopher and Jennifer take care of their pets EVERY day, this space will offer for sale 1 Boa Constrictor, 1 dog, 1 cat, 1 alligator lizard, 1 ferret.″

Jenny, 9, spotted the column last week before 12-year-old Chris, and the ad drew a gasp of surprise, Hargitt said.

″You wouldn’t believe what a pleasure it’s been around here since then,″ he added.

The family menagerie includes Mr. B, a boa constrictor more than 10 feet long; Snowball, a ferret; Alli, a lizard; Yertle, a tortoise; Coco, a dog; Meow, a cat, ″and, oh yeah, the budgie, too,″ said Hargitt.

″The kids are always wanting something new, but they don’t always take care of them like they should,″ Hargitt said. ″So all this frustration was just building up. I thought, why not give it a shot?″

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - To some, the 100,000 old beer cans in the Hotel John Marshall could be just a lot of garbage. But for more than 250 can collectors, the tinny treasures were a pot of gold.

The weekend convention of the Beer Can Collectors of America was a toast to the metal container, with collectors calling themselves names like The Gator Traders, Silver Foam and The Brews Brothers - Jake and Elwood.

They brought crown tops, cone tops, flat tops, steel cans, aluminum cans, five-liter ″barrel″ cans and World War II olive-drab camouflage cans.

Hugh Griffin, a Portsmouth truck driver, came clad, head-to-toe, with beer- brand patches - and a Budweiser bow tie. Griffen said he has at least 3,000 empties at home, displayed in the bathroom, the bedroom, the living room and the kitchen.

John McGuire, a 50-year-old high school teacher, drove 15 hours from central Michigan because ″something like this happens only once in a lifetime.″

So how much for a can without the foam? Wares ranged from 50 cents for Billy Carter’s Billy beer to $6,000 for some older varieties.

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SAN ANTONIO, Texas (AP) - Veteran San Antonio traffic police say they’ve heard plenty of excuses by motorists trying to get out of tickets, but some still shock even the most seasoned highway officer.

Patrolman Gerald Marple, a 27-year veteran of the traffic division, said one driver, stopped after being clocked at 100 mph on Loop 410 here, claimed ″he had just gotten out of the car wash and was trying to blow dry his car. That would have been all right, but he was hiding behind a building to avoid me.″

Some officers are developed a genuine appreciation of truly outrageous excuses.

″I never give a ticket to a person that has a good excuse,″ said traffic Sgt. Charles Dickinson. ″I only give them tickets for the standard excuse. If they tell me they were speeding because they had to go to the bathroom, I just write all the faster. That has to be the oldest excuse.″

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