News In Brief

NOW CUT THAT OUT In plain view in Bucks Harbor, Maine, three inmates of the Down East Correctional Facility sawed through some of its bars. What's more, a jail employee helped them, using up a dozen blades at a cost to taxpayers of $130. Despite how the scene must have looked, Down East administrator Robert Gross wasn't concerned in the least. In fact, Gross had asked that the bars be removed from his office window so he could have an unobstructed view outdoors.

NEW KIND OF SOAP OPERA

Remember the TV ads in which a beautician's customers soak their nails in Palmolive dishwashing liquid? Now another nontraditional use has been found for the product. Last week, it provided enough lubrication to free a traffic cop in Harrison, N.J., whose leg had become wedged between sections of a drawbridge. Indeed, it worked even when the "Jaws of Life" didn't. No word on whether the maker plans to base new ads on the incident.

Audio books that appear on multiple lists of year's 'best'

The Audio Publishers Association has gathered a number of "best" of 1998 lists from audiobook reviewers, journalists, and resellers - including Amazon.com, the Grammy Spoken Word Nominees, Barnesandnoble.com, and bookreporter.com. Only eight titles appear on three or more of the lists:

On four lists:

"A Man in Full" Tom Wolfe

"Pure Drivel" Steve Martin

On three lists:

"A Walk in the Woods" Bill Bryson

"A Widow for One Year" John Irving

"American Masters" stories by

Raymond Carver,

John Cheever,

and John Updike

"Gates of Eden" Ethan Coen

"Lolita" Vladimir Nabakov

"The Grapes of Wrath" John Steinbeck

"The Perfect Storm" Sebastian Junger

"The Street Lawyer" John Grisham

"Tuesdays with Morrie" Mitch Albom

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