THE Orlando Sentinel recently ran a piece on the Gideons...

Salmagundi

August 09, 1993

THE Orlando Sentinel recently ran a piece on the Gideons -- the evangelical Christian men's organization named for a judge and military leader in the Bible's Book of Judges -- and their tireless quest to distribute the Good Book all over God's green Earth.

The newspaper in Orlando, where some 2,000 Gideons recently met for their 94th international convention, reported that more than 118,000 Gideons worldwide distributed 38.5 million Bibles in 156 countries from June 1, 1992, through this past May 31.

That works out to about 325 Bibles handed out by each Gideon, or roughly one a day every year.

In this country, two-thirds of the Bibles the Gideons give away are the King James Version. The rest are the New King James Version, a modern translation preserving much of the earlier one.

Other tidbits from the article:

* In the U.S., New Testaments cost the Gideons $1.25 each, and each complete Bible costs $4.25.

* Gideons are well aware that their Bibles are often taken from hotel rooms, though "Thou shalt not steal" doesn't seem to be one of their commandments where this particular matter is concerned.

"We don't encourage people to take Scriptures, but if they need them and want them, we do not strenuously object," said one official of the organization.

* * *

MARY Challender, a reporter for the Des Moines Register, recently wrote a piece about the latest bit of fun among computer mavens -- "smileys," in which regular keyboard characters are used to create various facial expressions.

The trick, though, is to tilt your head far to the left when looking at the characters. Then the "smileys" become fairly easy to make out.

Ms. Challender's article included the following "smiley" examples and their definitions. Try them out on your own computer. And don't forget to tilt.

%-/ . . . hung-over

:d . . . sticking your tongue out

%-) . . . confused/bemused

%-( . . . confused/frustrated

;-( . . . crying

;-) . . . joking with a wink

7:') . . . Ronald Reagan

B-) . . . Batman

:-) . . . Have a nice day

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