Alo-Ha! Friday


Friday, February 21, 2003

Oh, how the mighty
grifters have fallen

It was with sadness that I learned that my favorite con-person has gone to jail on charges unbefitting her legacy.

A state judge has sentenced Nanakuli's Mabel Maria to 10 years in the joint for cheating a few friends and relatives out of less than $20,000. Such a tawdry little crime seems below the woman who once bilked hundreds of greedy residents out of millions of dollars in the infamous "cargo container scam" of her own invention. In 1979 she "allowed" investors to buy shares in nonexistent shipping containers supposedly containing unclaimed cargo. It was a beautiful thing for admirers of the art of audacious flim-flam. That she would stoop to gross mortgage fraud is a poor reflection on the advanced practitioners of "The Sting."

Now the news:

Air Iguana is grounded

HANOI, Vietnam (Reuters) >> Vietnam has intercepted and seized hundreds of live iguanas bound for China. The cargo, which was worth $24,000, was stopped before it left Noi Bai airport.

(Asked for comment, a spokesreptile for the group of iguanas said, "Great. I guess this means Disneyland's out.")

Beach beggars dig dong

HANOI, Vietnam (Reuters) >> In non-iguana-related Vietnamese news, officials are offering $13 to anyone who turns in a beggar at the famous tourist stretch of China Beach.

Some 600,000 tourists a year visit the resort popularized in the TV show "China Beach."

(The program is in jeopardy because beggars take turns turning each other in and splitting the 200,000-dong bounty.)

Trapeze artist loses grip

BERLIN (Reuters) >> A lovesick circus trapeze artist was sentenced to seven years in jail for attacking a man with a pair of bull castration tongs. The trapeze artist tried to emasculate the man using the steel pincers after accusing him of having a relationship with his girlfriend, a circus belly dancer.

(We have no comment on this item other than to guess that the bulls employed in this circus are undoubtedly exceedingly well behaved. Actually, we have two comments. Could we dispense with any future items containing the words "castration tongs"?)

'Honolulu Lite' on Sunday:

You are cordially invited this Sunday to set aside your $39 Zino cigar, your glass of La Gitana Manzanilla sherry and your first edition of "On the Origin of Moral Feelings" by Friedrich Nietzsche and indulge yourself in "Honolulu Lite" where you will learn that human beings are basically large chunks of meat that other species find quite tasty.

Quote me on this:

"A liberal is a man who leaves the room when the fight starts." -- Heywood Broun

Charles Memminger, winner of National Society of Newspaper Columnists awards, appears Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. E-mail

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