The Birminghamster
For March 27, 2002 "Who left the honey out?" - Vol. II No. XVII published every other Wednesday



Crime Map

MAX Introduces Crime Stops
Birmingham() Metro Area Express (MAX) (part of the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority BJCTA) introduced a new route map today that for the first time features bus stops in some of Birmingham's most affluent suburbs. These new stops dubbed 'crime stops' by MAX will allow crime to spread more uniformly over Jefferson county and parts of Shelby county. These stops are designed to prepare the population for the massive 'crime flight' that will be seen when a proposed light rail line is finally constructed along Highway 280, linking downtown Birmingham with Chelsea.

MAX has been desperate for places to transport criminal passengers, besides Woodlawn and North Birmingham. "We just kept bringing the crime to the same places over and over," said MAX chairman Bill Fleck. The crime stops may only be temporary though, as light rail is emerging as a real option. "We only need a hundred thousand or so to get started on route planning," said Bill Foisy director of transportation planning for the Birmingham Regional Planning Commission. "If Buckelew [Mary, Jefferson County commissioner] would just kick in a little, we could qualify for a big chunk of federal money to begin Phase II."

That phase apparently involves a study of routes and whether they are best served by expanded roads, HOV lanes, or a light rail system. "With light rail, we can really spread the crime around," said Foisy. "The entire region will benefit from a much diluted crime base. No longer will Birmingham be the center of high crime." Over the mountain residents are excited about the new crime culture that will be brought to their doors. "Things around here are so stale," said Vestavia High School senior Vince Lewis. "Sure, Mitch Thompson held a lame-ass rave while his parents were out of town, but there were no drive-bys or gun play. I hope these new transit routes will bring a little culture to this burg."

labor intensive

Birminghamster’s Printing-Press Repaired
Avondale (JM)The BirminGhamster’s famed 1803 Benjamin Day printing press, damaGed in a domestic brawl,  has recently returned to service with most of its oriGinal sets of 12 and 24 point Arial type intact. Publisher Marv Abercrombie was Glad to get back to work after three stressful weeks of carefully cleaninG and reassemblinG the press’ delicate parts with the help of apprentice Dave Smythe. It was Smythe’s Genius for weldinG that prevented several more week’s delay while parts were shipped from Caxton-upon-Bryde in Western EnGland.

"Dave was able to quickly refashion the overhead lobber jack and
Get it connected to the knucklinG pistons athwart the upper pressure head," beamed Abercrombie, demonstratinG the operation of the jack. "This old BaBy is working smoother than ever." Crews will be cominG in over the weekend with metal detectors to locate some of the missinG type which was scattered throughout the lower-floor ‘Hamster printinG room. The nature of the accident is as yet unclear.

When asked, the pu
Blisher euphamistically referred to it as a soil-tillinG incident The popular local satire raG, which has Been unaBle to puBlish while the press was out of commission, is expected to resume normal operations. The BirminGhamster appreciates its readers’ patience durinG this crisis and asks anyone with extra B’s, R’s u’s, n’s, or G’s to please contact the paper at its normal Business address.


Hauntingly familiar
Kathryn Tucker Windham Uses School Tour to Scout Future Hauntings
 Pell City Elementary School(JM) Well-loved storyteller and author Kathryn Tucker Windham (84), busy as usual during the school year making the rounds of Alabama classrooms, will be doing double duty this spring. It seems she plans to continue visiting children after this life is ended, but has yet to decide on a permanent haunting-place. She is hopeful that it will be one of Alabama’s 943 elementary schools. Though in recent years Windham has concentrated on recollecting the details of her childhood for a series of essays broadcast on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, she will always be best known for her compendiums of haunted southern sites (Thirteen Alabama Ghosts...and Jeffrey, Thirteen MORE Alabama Ghosts, et al).

This typecasting does not bother the frail, white-haired lady because she recognizes an opportunity to keep doing what she loves well after her soul has fled this mortal coil. In fact, she is hoping that her hair-raising tales will become more effective once she is able to actually demonstrate for the kids. In the meantime, however, Miss Windham is doing the best she can visiting schools in the flesh, meeting with administrators, touring basement and attic spaces, and refreshing her general impression of the many schools she has repeatedly visited over her long story-telling career.

"Ah just cain’t wait for God to condemn this body to th’ dust and let me focus on scaring the livin’ bejeezus outta these youngins," said Miss Windham after a physically exhausting morning of dodging hyperactive eight-year olds in the halls of Pell City Elementary. Principal Esther P. Jones also expressed her hope that Windham will return after death, noting that a little fear is a tried and true path to returning prayer and discipline to the classroom.