Etc...

You're a real live wire, pal!

There was electricity in the air when Frank Clewer emerged from his car and entered a building in Warrnambool, Australia, last weekend. And not because Clewer is a rock star. He's an ordinary fellow who happened to be wearing a nylon jacket and woollen shirt on a cool, dry day, apparently oblivious to the fact that his every step was generating static as the garments rubbed together. In fact, it wasn't long before wisps of smoke were coming from the carpet under his feet. Alarmed employees then phoned the fire department, which evacuated the premises and cut the power . But by that time, Clewer had left ... and was scorching the flooring in his car. Now worried himself, he asked the firemen for help. A test of his clothes revealed he was carrying around 40,000 volts, about as close as it's possible to come without self-immolation.

Marquee musicians strike a chord for family farmers

Before Sunday's Farm Aid concert in Tinley Park, Ill., Willie Nelson (who began the benefit events 20 years ago in Champaign, Ill.) said no current crisis is comparable to the one confronting family farmers then. Still, the Bloomberg news services quotes him as adding, "There's nothing wrong with promoting agriculture and farmers." Joining the country music icon on this year's program were Neil Young, John Mellencamp, and Dave Matthews. Part of the proceeds from Sunday's concert were to go to farmers hurt by hurricane Katrina, although generally money is used to build awareness and demand for foods grown on family farms anywhere in the US. Sites of the last 10 Farm Aid concerts and the year they were held:

Columbia, S.C. 1996
Tinley Park, Ill. 1997
Tinley Park, Ill. 1998
Bristow, Va. 1999
Bristow, Va. 2000
Noblesville, Ind. 2001
Burgettstown, Pa. 2002
Columbus, Ohio 2003
Seattle, Wash. 2004
Tinley Park, Ill. 2005
- Farm Aid

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