Odds and Ends
By Devin D. O'Leary
APRIL 26, 1999:
Dateline: Mexico City--Vicente Fox, the governor of Guanajuato
state and one of his country's leading presidential candidates,
is trying to secure the endorsement of a popular comic book hero.
Fox is hoping that using images of Kaliman, a mystical Indian
superhero with extraordinary psychic powers, in his campaign advertisements
will give a major boost to his chances in the 2000 general election.
The Kaliman character, traditionally depicted as wearing a turban
and a large talisman, was featured on a popular radio show for
four decades. Members of Fox's National Action Party say a deal
is imminent with the widow of Kaliman's creator to utilize the
cartoon character in the political arena. Kaliman is famous for
catchphrases like, "Serenity and patience" and the slightly
more ominous, "He who dominates the mind, dominates everything."
No confirmation yet that American presidential hopeful Al Gore
has engaged in closed door meetings with both Captain America
and the Green Lantern.
Dateline: Brazil--A São Paulo man was shocked recently
when his bank called and asked if he wanted them to cover his
March telephone bill. The bill totaled just over $43 million.
After several panicked phone calls, Nelson Marotti Filho's correct
bill--for $31--was sent out. The multimillion dollar mistake is
the latest in a long line of blunders for the São Paulo
telephone company, bought out by Spain's Telefónica in
a trophy privatization last year.
Dateline: Honduras--Proving that there's always a bright
side to every story, last year's deadly Hurricane Mitch helped
solve a 57-year-old plane crash mystery. In addition to killing
9,000 people and causing millions of dollars in damages, the rampaging
storm uncovered the wreckage of a Curtis CT-32 Condor biplane
that went down in 1942. The plane, along with its five-member
crew, was considered lost at sea, but mudslides caused by Mitch
helped unearth the long-lost wreck near the Caribbean coast, about
120 miles north of the capital Tegucigalpa. Air Force officials
are now trying to recover the remains of the victims to give them
proper Christian burials.
Dateline: Holland--KLM Royal Dutch Airlines reported last
Tuesday that it was forced to euthanize 440 Chinese ground squirrels
because the animals did not meet "European regulations."
The squirrels arrived in Amsterdam from Beijing en route to Athens
but lacked the proper health papers. According to the airline,
the Chinese exporter refused to take the animals back. Although
KLM tried to send the animals to a country outside Europe, it
failed to find any nation that was in dire need of ground squirrels.
The airline was forced to kill the animals, and has now banned
all shipments of ground squirrels from China.
Dateline: California--The Casa Sanchez restaurant in San
Francisco has proved wrong the old adage, "There's no such
thing as a free lunch." Six months ago, the Mexican restaurant
began offering a lifetime's worth of free lunches to anyone willing
to tattoo the eatery's logo on their body. Since then, Jimmy the
Corn Man, a sombrero-wearing mariachi boy riding a blazing corncob,
has appeared on some 38 different body parts. A free burrito awaits
anyone willing to expose their Jimmy to restaurant employees.
The Sanchez family says they only give away about two free lunches
a week. "They get embarrassed about not paying," says
owner Marty Sanchez, "so they always leave a big tip."
Dateline: New Jersey--Last Saturday, the Princeton University
Board of Trustees voted to ban their school's annual "Nude
Olympics" after this year's event degenerated into a drunken
brawl. The Nude Olympics is a 30-year-old student ritual in which
the Ivy Leaguers gather for a nude frolic at midnight following
the year's first snowfall. After this year's in-the-buff bonding
ritual, several students complained of being sexually groped,
while more than a dozen of the 350 participants landed in hospitals
with alcohol poisoning or injuries.