Etc...

Hey, look who's here!

"I was speechless," Francisco Silva said about boarding a bus for a tour of Lisbon, Portugal. "I wanted to say something, but the words wouldn't come out." Since the bus hadn't yet left the airport, what could he have seen that moved him so deeply? Answer: his brother, Mario, from whom he was separated 53 years ago. Although both were born in Portugal, Francisco had emigrated to Argentina. Later, Mario Silva left, too, for a new life in Australia. Neither knew that the other was returning last weekend under a program that brings expatriates back to their roots for awhile. The brothers say they plan to remain in regular touch now.

We are not amused

In Oslo last Sunday, amateur filmmakers rented a tavern to stage a robbery scene so realistic that passers-by phoned police. After listening to a lengthy explanation, the responding cops were asked if they'd mind being in the film, too. Yes, said one: "You've used up our goodwill, son."

Costumes of choice for 2004's trick-or-treaters

The latest "Spiderman" movie, with its attendant marketing blitz, is having a lingering impact even though it was released back in June. According to the National Retail Federation, Spiderman is emerging as 2004's most popular Halloween costume. That doesn't mean, however, that generic standbys (such as witches and ghosts) won't turn up at your door a week from Sunday. Most costumes are inspired by characters on children's TV shows, such as SpongeBob Square Pants, the beloved sea sponge seen on the Nickelo-deon channel. The favorite Halloween costumes for 2004, as reported by the retailers who sell them:

1. Spiderman
2. princess
3. witch
4. vampire
5. monster
6. SpongeBob
7. Ninja
8. athlete
9. ghost
10. Power Rangers

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