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A Florida Timeout

November 19, 2000|MIKE DOWNEY

A few things to help take your mind off Florida, where we still aren't sure which grinch will steal Thanksgiving:

1. She'll Fry for This

A girl named Ansche Hedgepeth got arrested in Washington, D.C., for violating the very strict no-food regulations of that city's Metro subway system.

She is 12 years old.

A clear menace to society, Ansche was nabbed on a subway Oct. 23 while committing the dastardly crime of eating a French fry. Police quickly clapped the bracelets on those tiny wrists.

They hauled the girl off to a juvenile facility, where they telephoned Ansche's mother to come get her out.

Her mom said: "I can't believe there isn't a better way to teach kids a lesson. My daughter will now grow up knowing she's been in handcuffs."

Or worse . . . Ansche could run for office in Washington someday, only to have this ugly French-fry incident come back to haunt her.

"I made mistakes in my youth," Ansche may try to explain later. But the fact is, this is a clear case of Riding While Eating, kid, so don't try to cover it up.

2. No Butts About It

A judge in Los Angeles just sentenced a 38-year-old man to two months in jail and anger management counseling, all because he knocked loose a couple of another man's teeth by head-butting him.

Begging the question:

When exactly did the head-butt begin to replace the punch in the nose? You can't watch a fight in a movie nowadays without somebody giving somebody else a head-butt.

Guys used to get sore at somebody and say: "How would you like a fat lip?" or "You're asking for a knuckle sandwich."

Now they don't even make threats. They just butt you in the head.

Is this a fist-saving gesture? Is the skull mightier than the sword?

Suppose in the movie "Shane," Alan Ladd had head-butted Ben Johnson instead of using his fists? (Alan would have had to stand on a box to be able to butt Ben, but you get the idea.) Or suppose Jackie Gleason had said to Audrey Meadows: "One of these days, Alice, pow--a butt in the head."

Nobody fights fair anymore.

It could be time for U.S. law enforcement authorities to begin cracking down harder on assault with a deadly head. That, and eating fries on a subway.

3. Sudden Loss of Earring

The honor code at Brigham Young University is being amended to keep students from wearing more than one pair of earrings at a time.

This is a pretty good idea, considering how many college students walk around with more metal on them than a '57 Cadillac.

Lobe rings, nose rings, navel rings, toe rings--some people couldn't pass safely through a metal detector wearing nothing but a swimsuit.

The original Brigham Young himself (1801-1877) would have gone broke if he'd had to buy earrings for all his wives. Birthday gifts alone must have set Brig back big bucks.

So he'd be proud of BYU's ban on multiple pairs of earrings for females, and of male students being advised not to pierce their ears.

Besides, if you head-butt somebody with too many earrings on, they could fall off.

4. Put Me In, Coach

A 28-year-old woman died in London minutes after getting off an airplane, reportedly a victim of "economy class syndrome."

According to published reports in Great Britain, deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot in the leg that can spread and prove fatal, as a direct result of cramped seating on long- distance flights.

The woman flew 12,000 miles from Sydney to London after the Olympic Games. She collapsed at the airport and died.

Somewhere today, somebody is reading this aboard a plane. In coach.

Take a look at those passengers up in first class. See how much leg room they have? No thrombosis up there.

So please, try to upgrade.

Otherwise, ask that fat woman in front of you to push her seat forward. Just tell her she's making you clot.

5. Caesar's Pantry

A closet sealed for 40 years was opened in New York, revealing hundreds of long-lost scripts from golden-age TV comedy shows such as Sid Caesar's "Your Show of Shows."

The find was significant because over these 40 years, there haven't been 40 other TV comedy shows with a script worth saving.

In fact, the scripts from virtually any TV comedy show on the air today could be locked inside this same closet, along with the writers and actors, and never be missed.

Industry sources say these 1950s scripts feature outmoded elements such as wit, timing and taste, no longer popular in television today.

We now rejoin our Florida presidential election comedy, already in progress.


Mike Downey's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Write to: Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. E-mail:

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