Honolulu Lite

by Charles Memminger

Friday, November 1, 1996


But were there fries
and a Coke with that?

MY computer is overflowing with odd, unusual and bizarre stories. So I guess it's time for another episode of Honolulu Lite's News of the Weirld.

First we go to Lille, France, where a 25-year-old French composer was stopped by police for eating a hamburger while driving. Leave it to the French to have a law against DWB - Driving While Burgering.

"French law requires drivers to keep full control of their cars at all times but motorists routinely use car telephones when driving without being stopped by police," the Reuters story said.

The composer was fined $45. He is so bitter that he vowed "to write a pop song about the incident."

I can imagine how the song would go: (Blues beat) "If my sandwich was a cell-phone, son, I wouldn't have a beef. But I'm busted for a burger, boy, and that's beyond belief. If I'd been munching on an escargot, I'd have got another chance. Apparently it's PC if the specie is from France."

Next we go to Brazil, where there is a huge shanty town in Rio De Janeiro called Rocinha. (Which, in Brazilian, I think means "Man, Look At All The Roaches.")

Rio wants to host the 2004 Olympics and fears the presence of the shanty town will hurt it's chances. The answer? Bright colors. That's right. Instead of improving the living conditions of the roach-town residents, Rio has decided to paint the town red. And green. And blue. People's lives will still suck, but at least they'll suck in color.

Meanwhile, over in Honduras, officials have come up with unique way to get people to vote: Cast a vote, receive a condom. We could get really crude here and say something about how voters don't need condoms since they are the ones who feel violated after an election. But we'll keep it clean. Actually, giving voters condoms might be a good way to remind them that politics, like unprotected sex, is a dangerous enterprise.

But that's nothing compared to what they are doing in Colombia. Guess what's the biggest problem in Bogota? That's right, jaywalking. (Drug smuggling is fourth, behind drivers who don't use their turn signals and DWT (Driving While Taco-ing.)

Bogota's leading newspaper reports that a new program is being instituted by eccentric mayor Antanas Mockus (His opponent in the last election ran on the slogan: "Antanas, You Mockus"). Under the mayor's program, "jaywalkers will be pulled over and publicly ridiculed by white-faced mime artists," the paper said.

That's right. Jaywalkers will be stopped by the Bogota Mime Enforcement Branch. (How did the French miss this idea?) I can't wait to see the news story about the first mime who attempts to stop and ridicule a jaywalking member of the Colombian Cocaine Cartel. Do mime's make a sound when they die?

Speaking of drugs, Peruvian drug-traffickers are turning to witchcraft to avoid capture, according to Reuters. But it's not always working.

"Officials in the drug-growing jungle region were surprised to find inside a shipment of 440 pounds of coca paste a voodoo-style doll with his hands tied, eyes shut and nails stuck to the body.

"Milanio Vargas, 61, who was arrested on the boat carrying the drugs, said the doll was his insurance against being caught during transport."

I think I see what your problem here was, Milanio. The voodoo doll supposedly represented a policeman. But you were actually captured by the Organized Mime Drug Strike Force. So you screwed up there, Vargas. The arrest was unusual because the mime squad handed Vargas a note saying THEY had the right to remain silent. Then they erected an invisible wall around him.

And that's your News of the Weirld for today.



Charles Memminger, winner of National Society of Newspaper Columnists awards in 1994 and 1992, writes "Honolulu Lite" Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Write to him at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, 96802 or send E-mail to charley@nomayo.com or 71224.113@compuserve.com.



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