San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Say What? We Heard It on the News

Sometimes the news on TV or radio is so perplexing it leaves us wondering if we heard it right. Even more surprising is that the reporters deliver such news with straight faces.

Here are some examples: A man from Alajuela, northwest of San José, had an enormous marijuana plant growing in his yard. He explained to the police that he didn’t know it was marijuana and he was saving it for a Christmas tree. (Just wait till they burn the Yule log – holy smoke!)

A woman was electrocuted when she plugged in the washer and they took the husband to the hospital in shock. (Is that right?)

A man went to a phone booth to make a call at two in the morning wearing only his underpants, and he was held up. (What on earth did he have to steal?)

Because here they use decimal points instead of commas to denote thousands, this item has a potentially huge margin of error. An economic report stated that the annual per-capita income in Estonia is $14 million. (Adios, Costa Rica. Hello, Estonia!)

The skeleton of a mermaid turned out to be a hoax. (No fooling.)

An Alajuela man accused his wife of spousal abuse for farting at him. The judge threw out the case, saying that it is not a crime to fart. (Prison conditions are bad enough without adding farters.)

The nude body of a man in an advanced state of putrefaction was discovered in a dam in Santa Ana, southwest of the capital, but remained unidentified because there were no reports of missing persons matching the description. (If you knew anyone like that, would you claim him?)

A headline in the sensational daily Diario Extra read “Woman Strangled by Brassiere.” (Why didn’t she get a larger size?)

Informe Once” news program reported that someone in the northwestern province of Guanacaste found a mushroom in the shape of the Virgin. (No comment.)

In the daily La Nación’s Sunday magazine Proa, an article on the Minute Men, U.S. vigilantes who dress in military fatigues, carry rifles and station themselves along the Mexican border to stop illegal immigrants from crossing over, quoted one of the men as saying, “What did Mexico ever give us?” (Tacos, burritos, tortillas, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California…)

A commercial for a casa de empeño (pawn shop) claimed it had parking for 40 cars. (What does that say for the state of the economy?) Thieves stole 1,000 full sheets of El Gordo, the Christmas lottery, but the door opened on the getaway truck and they all fell out. (Next time, take a minute to buckle your seat belt.) Eight hundred sheets were recovered, but 200 were still missing. It seems a taxi driver found them but didn’t know what they were. He never buys lottery tickets because gambling is a vice. (You bet.)

In Spanish, a jack is called a gata, the same word as a female feline. A want ad for a hydraulic jack came out in the pets column. (The Capital Times of Madison,Wisconsin, once ran an ad in the boating section for a wench with good teeth.)

Channel 42 is Diario Extra’s TV station, and the evening news always starts out with sucesos: crime, shootings, traffic accidents and drownings. One night, the big news was that nothing bad had happened that day and there were no sucesos.

Bewildering news happens. This strange statement was in a U.S. magazine: “The black rhinoceros is distinguished from the white rhinoceros by the size of its snout.” (In case you’re color blind.) And, alas, even The Nica Times can confound.

In the Oct. 20 issue, just before Halloween, there was a report of a new “boo store” in Managua. (Boo who?)


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