Odds and Ends
By Devin D. O'Leary
JANUARY 31, 2000:
Dateline: Mexico -- Mexican judicial authorities have come up with a novel solution for cleaning up their country's massive drug problem. Seems that tourists are being frightened away from the sunny climes of Juarez and Tijuana because of all the bad press about mass grave-digging drug cartels. Mexico's solution? Simply change the names of the drug cartels! According to Mexico City's daily Reforma newspaper, the attorney general's office issued an internal edict to prosecutors regarding the new verbiage. From now on, the Juarez Cocaine Mob will be referred to as the Cartel of Vicente Carrillo, after its suspected capo. The Tijuana Organization, meanwhile, will be known as the Cartel of the Arellano Felix Brothers, after the clan that runs it. The mayor of Ciudad Juarez apparently initiated the name change policy after complaining to the attorney general in December about all the media attention his city was receiving. The FBI and Mexican investigators began unearthing remains of suspected drug cartel victims at several ranches outside the city late last year.
Dateline: Ireland -- An Irish woman was awarded $5,135 in damages after being locked in her local pub overnight. Seems that Marian Gahan fell asleep on the toilet at Searsons Pub in central Dublin and did not wake up until 2 a.m., by which time the bar had closed. Rather than resume her drinking binge with gleeful abandon, Mrs. Gahan sued the pub's owners for failing to check the toilets for unconscious patrons before locking up.
Dateline: England -- In yet another argument for the necessity of old age homes, a panic-stricken granny in Poole, England, was rushed to the hospital suffering from a heart attack after becoming stuck in a supermarket car wash for 20 minutes. Instead of driving straight through the enclosed car wash, 60-year-old Doreen Ward stopped her car in the middle of the wash where the automatic rollers pinned the doors of her car shut. "I thought I was going to die," said Ward. "It felt like the end of the world." Ward attempted to honk her car horn and to telephone her daughter on a cell phone. Despite such efforts, it was a terrifying, suds-filled 20 minutes before anyone arrived to rescue Mrs. Ward from the car wash. No word yet on who's being sued.
Dateline: England -- The PC Police are on the march again. Early last week the city council in Birmingham, England, advised the local elementary school to stop using the traditional nursery rhyme "Baa Baa Black Sheep" because of its "racial undertones." Initially, the council sided with an independent schools advisory board in announcing that "the history of the rhyme is very negative and also very offensive to black people due to the fact that it originates from slavery." However, according to the Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, the offending song is believed to have been written in protest of a wool tax imposed in 1275. By week's end, the city council had rescinded its "Baa Baa" ban. Nonetheless, the Working Group on Racism in Children's Resources stuck with its advice guidelines. A spokesman for the group told reporters, "Whenever the word black is attached to another word it creates a negative meaning" -- a fact that may come as a surprise to some during February's "Black History Month."
Dateline: Kenya -- An African businessman was carried into a bank on a stretcher to withdraw cash after a hospital refused to treat him because he had no money. According to the East African Standard, Wilson Owuor had been badly beaten by robbers in the city of Siaya, north of the capital city of Nairobi. Unfortunately, Kenyan hospitals frequently demand payment in advance for services, and Owuor was refused admittance because he had no cash on him. Undaunted, Owuor's friends loaded the man onto a stretcher and carted him to the nearest financial institution, causing a security scare at the Kenya Commercial Bank Branch. Sadly, in his rush to seek medical aid, Owuor had forgotten his bank card. The bank refused to release any money.