Honolulu Lite

by Charles Memminger

Wednesday, October 15, 1997

Just blame it on
that bad boy, El Niño

EL Niño has been in the news a lot lately and there seems to be a lot of confusion about what exactly El Niño is and what it does.

El Niño, pronounced "el neeeeen-yo" if you took any high school Spanish and "el nine-o" if you got your General Equivalency Diploma after serving a stretch in the Upstate Home of Juvenile Delinquents for robbing Spanish Club students of their luncho dinero (lunch money).

Actually it's only pronounced "el neeeeen-yo" if you put one of those little wavy lines over the "n" but since most American computer keyboards don't have that key, editors just skip it. This no doubt will lead to a federal lawsuit soon on behalf of the Commission for the Promotion of Little Wavy Lines Over Certain Letters of the Alphabet.

El Niño means "little boy" in Spanish but if you had a little boy like El Niño you would throttle the punk. El Niño is a bad, bad thing, responsible for hurricanes, earthquakes, mudslides, famine, the heartbreak of psoriasis, the ratty appearance of Willard Scott's hair piece and, I suppose, the Kennedy assassination.

Vice President Al Gore hates El Niño, almost more than he hates the hole in the ozone layer and, more recently, Buddhists. He is organizing a meeting of small Third World countries, whose leaders feel that weird global climate patterns are the fault of the United States capitalistic system. El Niño, in particular, is viewed as a CIA plot to bring drought to South American countries previously being washed away by rain, rain to countries being baked by drought, and muggy uncomfortable conditions to the rest.

The proof is that El Niño, when viewed through McDonald's 3-D glasses from a satellite in geosynchronous orbit, looks exactly like a large flame shooting across the Pacific Ocean into the heart of Chile, which was ruled by a commie named Salvador Allende until he was deposed in 1973 by a CIA-sponsored coup d'etat. So, there you go.

The curious thing is that El Niño spans the entire Pacific, causing all kinds of grief on thousands of small islands around Tahiti, where it is known as "On Inle." That's not a Tahitian word, it's El Niño spelled backward, which is what it looks like on the map when viewed from Papeete.

In the western Pacific, El Niño was responsible for the fall of the Marcos regime, the launching of the Tamagotchi electronic pet fad in Japan, the large influx of Chinese campaign donations to the Democratic National Committee and North Korea's bizarre food-distribution system, in which soldiers get fatter than panda bears while babies starve to death.

In Hawaii, El Niño is responsible for large devastating storms being called hurricanes instead of typhoons, and for the collapse of Japanese investment, leaving many residents with unusually high real estate tax rates.

In California, El Niño has caused high surf, Proposition 209 and Ronald Reagan's Alzheim-er's disease.

There also is some suspicion by professional meteorologist/film industry watchers that El Niño may have played a role in the box-office flop of Demi Moore's "Strip Tease."

Other political weather watchers think that unusual atmospheric pressures in the Washington, D.C., area have been caused by El Niño and are the key reason why Attorney General Janet Reno refuses to appoint an independent counsel to investigate fund-raising abuses by the Clinton White House.

That is, of course, absurd. El Niño was busy overseeing the merger of Microsoft and Apple when Clinton held his coffee klatches.

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

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