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Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009

Who Ordered the Coke?

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A commercial lounge in La Paz, Bolivia, is believed to be the world’s only bar to openly serve cocaine. (However, the owners of “Route 36” often have to change locations, with the frequency of moves depending on the moods of bribed authorities.) An August dispatch in London’s The Guardian reported that a nearly pure gram costs the equivalent of about $14 ($22 for "premium"). Waiters serve the cocaine in an empty CD case, with straws. Bar drinks are also available at Route 36, which apparently is well known to tourists. Recalled one waiter, "We had some Australians; they stayed here for four days. They would take turns sleeping and the only time they left was to go to the ATM."

Police Follies

  • According to an Associated Press report, alleged harassment by cops in small-town Jericho, Ark., got so bad that the fire chief went to court twice in the same day in August to complain about speed traps. The chief's charge angered the seven officers attending the hearing, and a courtroom scuffle ensued. The chief ended up being shot in the back and hospitalized. WMC-TV reported that the shooter had not been charged, but that an arrest warrant had been issued for the chief, who was then fired by the mayor. The Crittenden County sheriff has disbanded the police force, and all firefighters have resigned.
  • George Vera, who weighs nearly 600 pounds, was booked into jail in Houston in August and was in custody for more than 24 hours before he casually informed cops that they had missed finding the 9 mm handgun and two clips that were hidden in his rolls of fat.

The Entrepreneurial Spirit!

  • Questionable Business Model: In September, in downtown Longview, Wash., a 23-year-old man held up a sign offering to be kicked in the groin for $5. He made one sale before police, acting on a complaint, made him move on.
  • Fierce Competition: (1) Police in Broome, Western Australia, reported in September that a five-year feud between two rival camel-ride vendors in the Cable Beach resort area had erupted again, this time involving allegations of camel theft and tossed camel dung. (2) In July, as the legal brothel business declined precipitously in Germany, owners adopted gimmicks like offers of free shoeshines and discounts for retirees. However, when several brothels began offering flat-rate plans (based on the restaurant model of all-you-can-eat), local officials cracked down, judging the offer as a little too excessive.
  • Questionable Products: (1) The Spanish toy-maker Berjuan has introduced a doll that suckles from a halter worn by young girls who want to mimic their breastfeeding mothers. The Bebe Gloton is not expected to be available in the United States until 2010, but it is being shown worldwide on YouTube. (2) The Brazilian company PetSmiling has created a prototype DoggieLoverDoll in three sizes. As the name suggests, the doll is designed as a "mountable," anatomically correct sex partner for male dogs. It was introduced at the Pet South America fair in Sao Paulo in July, according to Associated Press photos.

Side Effects

Malcolm Darby, 70, awoke from surgery following a stroke in Oakham, England, last year to find that he had near-perfect vision (after having worn eyeglasses since age 2). Later, however, Darby discovered that he no longer spoke or understood French.

Least Competent Criminals

Recurring Themes: (1) The Broward County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office is looking for a man who robbed the Citi Trends store in Oakland Park, Fla., in September and has released a surveillance video of the suspect. The video shows the man removing his mask, though he continues trying to shield his face using his hands, giving the appearance of a man playing peek-a-boo, according to a WFOR-TV report. (2) David Perticone, 46, was arrested in Severn, Md., in August and charged with stealing about $25,000 worth of items from a woman’s house just down the block. The woman discovered the items in Perticone’s front yard as part of a yard sale he was conducting.

A News of the Weird Classic

In May 1998 at Beaver Brook Golf Course in Haydenville, Mass., Todd Obuchowski was credited with a hole-in-one on a par-3 hole after his tee shot went over the green and onto a highway, hit a passing Toyota driven by Nancy Bachand, ricocheted back to the green, and rolled into the cup. At least eight golfers witnessed the shot.

© 2009 Chuck Shepherd