International Newscaster Goes Extraterrestrial

Klingon speakers across the universe had much reason for celebration this week.

The German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (search), basically the Teutonic version of the BBC, added it to the list of 30-odd languages on its Web site, the BBC itself reported.

"We should celebrate our 10-year presence in the online universe with a cross-border language," Deutsche Welle director Erik Bettermann explained. "This should help users from other galaxies get an impression of Germany."

As avid readers of Out There and already know, the harsh, guttural language spoken by the semi-barbaric, militaristic "Star Trek" aliens has its own community of human speakers, not all of whom are confined to mental asylums. The adventurous can even search Google in Klingon.

Deutsche Welle's Klingon pages are dated "September 17, 2379," though the "About Germany" section intended for natives of the planet Qo'noS describes conditions in 2004, and adds that Germany is "an attractive holiday destination for Klingons and other extraterrestrial life forms."

The site advises Klingons to visit for the World Cup of soccer, to be held in Germany in the summer of 2006, where perhaps they can indulge the locals in that time-honored drinking game, the Warrior's Head Butt.

Guido Baumhauer, head of Deutsche Welle's Web services, admits that the pages were initially a joke created by the company's technical staff, and that their popularity has surprised him.

Trekkies and linguistics experts "have taken it very seriously," he said, "and we have even been complimented on our use of the 'High Klingon' dialect."

When asked for a statement in Klingon, Baumhauer could only reply "tlhIngan Hol vIjatlhlaHbe'" — "I do not speak Klingon."

Bad Tipper Dodges Charges

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (AP) — Charges have been dropped against a man arrested in a restaurant for not leaving a big enough tip.

After researching the case against Humberto Taveras, authorities said Monday that he cannot be forced to pay a gratuity.

Taveras, 41, was charged Sept. 5 with misdemeanor theft of services after he and fellow diners argued with managers at Soprano's Italian and American Grill (search) over a required 18 percent tip for large parties.

Taveras had said he was not completely satisfied with the restaurant's food and left a tip of less than 10 percent.

"I'm glad someone came to their senses up there," said Taveras, who faced up to a year in jail. "Now I can tell my kids, 'Daddy's not a crook.'"

Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan said if the 18 percent gratuity had been called a surcharge or service charge, Taveras would have been legally obligated to pay it.

Restaurant owner Joe Soprano said he did not pursue charges because of the money but because Taveras' group was obnoxious.

"We did what we thought was right," he said.

Beats Working at the Burger Joint

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A fraternity member has been busted for apparently finding a unique way to supplement his college income — fake parking tickets.

Prosecutors said Anthony R. Gallagher, 23, allegedly earned hundreds of dollars by putting fake parking tickets on cars and having duped owners to send him their payments.

Investigators became aware of the scam in March 2003 after a victim tried to mail in a payment for a ticket but had it returned as non-deliverable, a criminal complaint said.

Prosecutors said the tickets were the exact copy of a parking ticket Gallagher received in February of last year, even down to the citation number.

Investigators were able to trace the citation number to Gallagher, who admitted placing several of the tickets on vehicles parked near the Acacia fraternity (search), police said.

Prosecutors said Gallagher established a post office box to receive payments for the $40 tickets and had placed payments, amounting to hundreds of dollars, in a separate bank account.

Fake Skeleton Turns Out to Be Real

STANFORDVILLE, N.Y. (AP) — Peter Wing thought the realistic-looking skeleton added a nice touch to the annual haunted house he runs each Halloween.

It turns out those weren't fake bones but the real thing.

The skeleton is a teacher's aid that somehow found its way to the storage areas where the rest of the props for the Frankenstein's Fortress (search) haunted house in Dutchess County.

Wing and his colleagues contacted the sheriff's department and deputies took the skeleton. They determined that the skeleton was probably used in a classroom as a teacher's aid.

Wing says he doesn't plan to ask for the skeleton to be returned.

No Points Given for Consistency

READING, Pa. (AP) — A motorist's bail was revoked when police said he had the daring to show up drunk to his preliminary hearing on drunken-driving charges.

Emerson Moore Jr., 46, of Caernarvon Township, was awaiting his hearing before Muhlenberg Township District Justice Dean R. Patton when Moore got into an argument with state police Trooper Roberto Soto, officials said.

Soto, who had arrested Moore in the drunken-driving case June 20, smelled alcohol on Moore's breath as the two stood in the hallway outside Patton's courtroom, officials said.

Moore, who had driven himself to court, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.10 percent, police said. The legal limit for driving in Pennsylvania is 0.08 percent.

Patton revoked Moore's bail and sent him to Berks County Prison on $2,500 bail. He also will be cited for public drunkenness, he said.

"You don't show up drunk for a preliminary hearing, especially when it's a drunk-driving case," Patton said. "I asked him what he was thinking and he said, 'You told me I could drink at home.'"

Booze Vaporizer Finds Customers Not Materializing

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — These are not good days for the people who are trying to sell New York City area residents on a machine that lets you inhale a martini instead of drinking it.

First, they had to use fruit juice rather than alcohol at the big debut at a Manhattan nightspot. Then officials in two suburban counties announced they would try to ban it. But worst of all, the first bar to buy the machine has sent it back, disappointed by the lack of a "buzz."

"They shouldn't waste their breath trying to outlaw this machine," said Steve Baskinger, owner of Bask's Bar and Grill (search) in West Patterson, N.J. "You can't get drunk. You don't get anything from it. It takes 20 minutes to inhale a quarter of a shot."

The machine pumps pressurized oxygen through a hose over a small amount of liquor in a canister held by the customer, who sucks up the vapor.

Baskinger said he sent back his $3,695 machine on Monday, four days after it was delivered and he and his staff eagerly tried it out.

"I'm a gadget guy, but you can't get excited about this thing," he said.

Over the weekend, after charging people $10 a pop, he decided it wasn't going to catch on.

"We're sorry he's not happy," said Kevin Morse, president of Spirit Partners, the Greensboro, N.C., company that is marketing the machine. "Maybe he had some unrealistic expectations. There is not as much buzz. You get less alcohol in your system and it is a milder feeling."

The New York State Liquor Authority (search) hasn't decided whether the machine will be allowed to operate anywhere in the state.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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