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Inside the system

September 27, 2002 | Page 4

The vermin of Beverly Hills

THE RATS are descending on Beverly Hills, Calif. A series of mild winters combined with a severe drought has sent the exploding rat population into the homes of the rich and famous to look for food.

Take the case of a well-to-do doctor who recently built himself a dream house off Sunset Boulevard. The doctor was giving a party a few weeks ago when three rats helped themselves to the crumbs off his outdoor buffet table. One scurried in through an open door.

A few days later, he found five rats swimming in his marble pool. "In my pool," he exclaimed to a reporter. "I just built the place. I hear this is happening all over Beverly Hills. Can you keep my name out of the newspaper?"

Rat catchers are reporting an increase in phone calls from panic-stricken socialites. "We'll get hysterical calls about rats crawling on the roofs of houses in Beverly Hills," said Oscar Gonzalez, an exterminator to the stars. "But that's the price you pay for messing with Mother Nature."

--New York Times, September 17, 2002

The revolution might be televised

THE REVOLUTION will be televised--or, at least, it could be prompted by television. Appearing in front of Congress recently, former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu told lawmakers that a "regime change" in Iran could be hastened by transmitting "racy" television programs via satellite into Persia.

In particular, Netanyahu recommended Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place. "This is pretty subversive stuff," he said. "The kids of Iran would want the nice clothes they see on those shows. They would want the swimming pools and fancy lifestyles."

--United Press International, September 12, 2002

Heard it through the grapevine

"THERE'S AN old saying in Tennessee--I know it's in Texas, probably it's in Tennessee--that says: Fool me once, shame on… shame on you. Fool me… you can't get fooled again."
--George W. Bush at East Literature Magnet School in Nashville

"I THINK we should give John Ashcroft a big hand--right in the mouth! The way things are going, I'll probably be thrown in jail tomorrow for saying that, so I hope ya'll will bail me out."
--Musician Merle Haggard

"THIS COUNTRY can burn. This country can't survive without Bibi."
--Sara Netanyahu, wife of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu

"THE SECURITY situation in Afghanistan is not collapsing."
--Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, after a car bomb rocked a busy marketplace in Kabul, killing 25 people

"I CALL upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers. Thank you. Now watch this drive."
--George W. Bush, playing golf in early August

"THEY'D LOWER the price and ship them to the Black- and Hispanic-area stores."
--Coca-Cola worker Llewellyn Hamilton, on the company's alleged practice of repackaging nearly expired soda and selling it in minority neighborhoods

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