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Dispatches The Buzz

Confession and repentance?

Is The Passion of the Christ a tool for evangelism? It seems to have led at least four criminals to repentance. In Oslo, Norway, former neo-Nazi Johnny Olsen, after watching the movie, confessed to police that he was responsible for two bombings of a left-wing youth group's headquarters in 1994 and 1995. He also led police to a stash of illegal weapons. "Jesus lives," Mr. Olsen told reporters outside a courtroom last week. "I distance myself from my past and neo-Nazism."

Turner Lee Bingham of Mesa, Ariz., also says the movie prompted him to turn himself in to police and confess to seven burglaries. In Palm Beach, Fla., James Anderson confessed to a December 2001 bank robbery after watching the movie. And in Houston, Dan Leach confessed to police that he killed girlfriend Ashley Nicole Wilson, whose death had been ruled a suicide. Det. Mark Kubricht said Mr. Leach had seen The Passion with a family friend and discussed it with the friend after the movie. "Something [the friend] said, between that and the movie, he felt in order for him to have redemption he would have to confess his sin and do his time."

'Fragment of history'

Calling it a "fragment of our history" and a "symbol on the landscape," a group of history buffs is lobbying to preserve an outhouse in Colorado's Routt-Medicine Bow National Forest.

The group wants Routt County commissioners to consider historic designation for the outhouse, which was built in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and is the last of its kind in the forest.

"I catch a lot of grief by putting so much energy and effort into protecting an outhouse," said Angie KenCairn, the forest's heritage specialist. "But it really is so much more than that."

Marco's mark

Instead of painting a landscape, Danish artist Marco Evaristti painted the landscape. Using 780 gallons of red paint, three fire hoses, and a crew of 20, Mr. Evaristti painted the 10,000-square-foot tip of an iceberg off the coast of Greenland.

Mr. Evaristti's "art" has generated controversy before: An exhibit of his in 2000 consisted of goldfish swimming in 10 blenders and an invitation to turn on the blenders. The director of the Danish gallery that displayed the exhibit faced (but was acquitted of) animal cruelty charges after a visitor followed the exhibit's directions.

This time, Mr. Evaristti claims he is merely exercising a property right common to all: "We all have a need to decorate Mother Nature because it belongs to all of us. This is my iceberg; it belongs to me."

Code words

Female clerks at a Sydney, Australia, jeans retailer violated the store's dress code, but few could blame them. The dress code required them to wear T-shirts saying "Stop Pretending You Don't Want Me." The clerks said the shirts drew sexual harassment from customers, but the store insisted they wear them -- until the local government intervened. The store defends the shirts as "quirky."

Rocket scientist

A prank last week by Shannon Kramer of Jacksonville, Fla., against

his girlfriend blew up in his face. The 35-year-old told the Florida Times-Union that he wanted to fire a bottle rocket toward his girlfriend as a joke, but the rocket instead went off in his car.

The firework apparently ricocheted throughout his Ford Mustang and then exploded, temporarily blinding Mr. Kramer and causing second-degree burns from his feet to his groin. "I thought I was dead," he said. "I couldn't see; I couldn't hear."

Prosecutors decided not to charge Mr. Kramer, who said he'll be more careful about his choice of bottle rockets in the future. "I had a couple, but this was the biggest," he said. "No more of those."

Flight risk

The Naples (Fla.) Daily News reports that Floyd Schuler is suing U.S. Airways for $15,000 in damages because he fell on an escalator in a Florida airport after a U.S. Airways flight. The 61-year-old passenger's lawsuit says the airline should not have served him a drink without warning him "of the increased effect that consumption of alcoholic beverages has on airline passengers."