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A regular issue of This is True is a minimum of ten stories plus the "headline of the week". Premium subscribers get all of the stories, while free edition subscribers get four stories (plus the headline), like this:

Sent Packing

Charles D. McKinley, 25, of Brooklyn, N.Y., had four weeks of vacation coming, so he decided to visit his parents in DeSoto, Texas. Rather than buy a plane ticket for $320, McKinley, a shipping clerk, packed himself into a shipping crate and air-expressed himself home, charging the fees to his employer. When the crate was delivered to his parents' front step, McKinley pushed out of the box and shook hands with the "shaken and frightened" delivery driver. The driver called the police. After an investigation by the FBI, the U.S. attorney, postal inspectors, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration, McKinley was charged as a stowaway, a federal misdemeanor. (Dallas Morning News) ...If he had only waited for the driver to leave, he would have been home free.


Librarians are protesting a new "action figure" being released by Archie McPhee and Co. of Seattle, Wash. The $8.95 doll, complete with "amazing push-button shushing action!", is "a lovely idea and a lovely tribute to my chosen profession," says librarian Nancy Pearl, 58, whom the doll is modeled after. But other librarians don't like it one bit. "The shushing thing just put me right over the edge," says Diane DuBois of the Caribou (Me.) Public Library. "It's so stereotypical I could scream." (AP)...Hey! What part of "shush" don't you understand?

There's a Cloud in Every Silver Lining
Downside to Fewer Violent Deaths:
Transplant Organ Shortage Grows

New York Times headline

Nine out of Ten Would be Adequate

Researchers at Alabama's Auburn University say they have determined what men want in the "ideal woman": she is sexually inexperienced but likes sex, has a career but is a full-time homemaker, has a slim build, is athletic, and has pretty eyes, dark hair, good complexion and a firm butt. Large breasts are nice, but not all that important. The study's lead author, Erica Gannon, says the specifications are similar to what is found in the Bible. "Our participants, whether knowingly or unknowingly, espouse a view of the ideal woman that is very similar to the views held by individuals thousands of years ago." However, she adds, "It's hard to be this woman." (UPI) ...About as hard as being the ideal man: strong yet gentle, powerful yet sensitive, has a great career yet helps clean the house and raise the children, in control yet cries, and a sex expert who's only been with one woman.

Use Your Head

Virginia Tech is outfitting its football players with high-tech helmets with special sensors to gather data on the head blows the athletes suffer in normal games and practice sessions. The data are sent to a central computer in real time via a wireless link. "We'll get a better handle on how head injuries should be managed from a clinical perspective," says the school's chief athletics physician, Gunnar Brolinson. The system is called the Simbex Head Impact Telemetry System, or "HIT System" for short. (USA Today) ...Let's just say that wasn't their first attempt at a clever acronym.

In addition, each issue has some combination of: comments by Randy, reader letters, updates, our famous Honorary Unsubscribe feature, the "True Tidbit of the Week" (an interesting trivia bit), two ads that make your free subscription possible (usually from small companies you may not have heard of), and other mostly useful information. And every issue has an "unsubscribe" link so you can get off the distribution list anytime you choose.

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2 Comments on This Entry

All comments on this site are reviewed prior to being published. Spammers: don't waste your time. The posting criteria are simple: if a comment is worth visitors' time to read, it's approved. If not, it's not.

Posted by Bruce Linthicum MD on November 19, 2008:

Regarding the sample headline, Downside to Fewer Violent Deaths:
Transplant Organ Shortage Grows

Some years back, I noticed that our local college was having a blood drive. Being civic-minded, I decided to donate. When I got to the site, I saw that there were a number of people ahead of me. To take my mind off the coming ordeal, I slipped over to the bookstore and bought a paperback sci-fi book. It wasn' the best choice, though; it was one of Larry Niven's books about organ transplant!

In some future time, the process of organ transplant was perfected. The supply of lethal trauma victims being soon exhausted, the authorities soon resorted to the death penalty and began using condemned criminals.

When I reached this point in the narrative, I found myself at the head of the line. A nursing student took my weight and blood pressure, stuck a thermometer in my mouth, wrote the figures all down on a slip of paper, and handed it to me. "Go sit over there," she told me. "When a technician becomes available, go and give this to her."

The book went on to relate that the supply of condemned criminals soon became depleted, so the authorities had to keep upping the ante. Soon, the death penalty was being applied to political crimes, drunken driving, tax evasion, false advertising....

A space became available at one of the technicians' tables, so I went to sit there, Another nursing student had a questionnaire to fill out. What was my age, had I eaten that day, how much had I slept that night....

Then she held out a hand for my slip of paper. "Now," she said, "I need your vitals."

That was a bad moment. I almost left.

Posted by Dave, Minnesota on May 31, 2009:

There is an old story, "Caught In The Organ Draft", in which a future society, lacking a shortage of transplant organs, creates a draft system under which any and all are liable to be called up to "give" a lung, a kidney, or what have you. Cannot recall the author's name, alas.


You're commenting on the headline, I'm sure. The story was published in 1972, and its author is Robert Silverberg. -rc

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