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Visionary Hoping to Push Fellow Texans to the Wall

July 03, 1987|ANN HEROLD

Kenny Bob Parsons has a dream. In this vision he sees 3,617 miles of brick wall defining the borders of the great state of Texas, the wall towering to a height of 40 feet and well nigh impenetrable at a thickness of 40 feet. Parsons calls his vision the Great Wall of Texas and he sees it as "a symbol of the spirit of Texas, or an example of the limitless horizons that we have as Texans." Parsons, who markets long-distance telephone services and pens songs on the side "to keep sane," has already formed the Great Wall of Texas Society in Dallas, with 3,700 members. At 9 million bricks a mile, the wall, which would exclude the Texas coastline "for free trade purposes," would take more than 32 billion bricks to finish the job. There has been some concern that the wall could prove something of a roadblock to relations with the rest of the nation. "We have folks that are real concerned about how they are going to get their in-laws in from Oklahoma. All I can say is we've already come up with our own 'green cards,' " he said.

--When temperatures in Vancouver, British Columbia, soared into the upper 90s, even the polar bears and penguins had enough sense to head for the shade. But it took sprinklers and a heavy dousing for keepers at a Canadian zoo to force their kangaroo population to pack up their pouches and come in out of the searing noontime sun. "The 'roos just sit there in the sun and pant when all they have to do is move into the shade," said Larry Lesage, curator at the Stanley Park Zoo. "They just can't figure it out. We were going around lifting them bodily into the shade until somebody got the bright idea of a water sprinkler. Really, with all respect to the Australians, those animals aren't too bright." Meanwhile, the penguins and polar bears are beating the heat by just spending more time in the water, Lesage said.

--A woman who left $2.3 million to the government of Brazil to help pay the country's $111-billion foreign debt probably figured her donation would at least make a sizable dent. Would you believe a small crack? The Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper has estimated that the generosity of Ruth Mariano da Rocha, who died last month, should pay for two hours worth of interest payments. Even making this modest contribution could be a problem. The Central Bank said creditors wanted hard currency, not cruzados. And the newspaper said the will was also being challenged by relatives of the woman, who was a farmer in the southern part of the country.

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