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The Back Page

Copyright 2003, Traffic World, Inc.

Stranded. A group of Turkish sailors stranded in Philadelphia for four months after their ship was impounded have put the time to good use: they are studying English, learning to dance the salsa and developing a taste for cheese steaks and doughnuts. The seamen aren''t allowed ashore, so the Seamen''s Church Institute has been bringing Philadelphia to them on board. "We try every three or four days to have some kind of entertainment," an SCI spokesman told Reuters. How do you say ''cartel'' in Turkish?

Attitude. Truckers, by definition, are used to long waits. But trucker Jim Lightfoot, stuck in an hours-long jam on the Capitol Beltway, told The Washington Post that delays are just part of the deal. "You gotta eat the beans if you''re gonna have the gravy." Pass the beans, Jim-Boy.

Blitzed. A Northwest Airlines flight from Detroit to Baltimore was delayed after members of the Detroit Lions "trashed" the Boeing 757''s cabin, say NWA gate agents. The plane had been used as the team''s charter to Detroit. Apparently, the Lions were upset about their 31-6 spanking by the Green Bay Packers.

Waste management consultant. We see one freight company promoted an official who it says has learned the "fine points" of cargo transport in the New York area in his 18 years there. Heck, it only took us three years of watching "The Sopranos."

Working stiff. In Zimbabwe, police charged four men with faking the death of one of them to get preferential treatment in long lines to buy scarce gasoline, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp. reported. At least that is an improvement over a practice of renting corpses from mortuary workers for the same gasoline-queue-jumping privileges. What''s the surcharge for that?