WhiteBoardness - 8/30/96
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri, 30 Aug 96 19:32:56 -0700
Subject: WhiteBoardness - 8/30/96
Excerpted-from: WhiteBoard News for Friday, August 30, 1996
A bush bagged the bad guys.
When four armed and masked would-be robbers showed up to knock off a
restaurant on Tuesday, they had no idea the shrub near the drive-through
window was toting a shotgun.
Detective Earl Feugill, camouflaged as a shaggy green bush, ordered them to
freeze. "They were quite surprised," he said.
Feugill learned to make the hot, heavy suit in the Marines, by attaching
strips of burlap to camouflage. Green-and-black face paint completed his
He staked out the restaurant after a series of robberies at fast-food
places. He had been planted at the location only 90 minutes before the
Police said five people were arrested, including a restaurant employee who
was allegedly prepared to let them in the back door.
It's probably the world's biggest food fight.
In less than an hour Wednesday, some 20,000 people turned 132 tons of
tomatoes into slop, coating the main plaza of Bunol with the blood-red
remains of nearly a million fruits.
The annual Tomatina, or Tomato Festival, began a half-century ago and has
been growing ever since. It now draws people from across Spain and has
lately begun to attract foreigners as well.
The ritual began at 11:00 AM, when men on trucks doused the crowd gathered
in Bunol's main plaza with water hoses. Townspeople covered their windows
and balconies with huge plastic sheets.
A fever gripped the crowd -- mostly young men -- jammed shoulder-to-shoulder
in the narrow plaza. They began ripping off each other's T-shirts, flinging
the shreds into the air.
"Tomate! Tomate! (Tomato! Tomato!)" they chanted, jumping in unison.
Just past noon, the tomatoes came.
Five truckloads of them.
Sixteen thousand dollars' worth of them.
One hundred and thirty-two tons of them.
Nine hundred and twenty-four thousand of them.
Workers on the trucks heaved armloads into the crowd below. Then, as the
workers clung to ropes to keep from sliding into the plaza, the trucks
dumped their entire loads.
The now delirious mob, some wearing goggles to protect their eyes from the
acrid juice, dived into the tomatoes and began hurling them.
There were so many people in the plaza, there was not much room to deliver
a well-aimed pitch. Tomatoes went everywhere, covering celebrators with
juicy pulp and splattering the whitewashed houses.
Eventually, the tired mass of people left the plaza to wash off as
preparations were made to clean up the area.
For some townspeople, it was too much.
"Before, it was better -- when you would know everyone," said Vincente Badia
Ruiz. "You'd see your enemy and throw a tomato at him. He'd throw one back
at you. It was a way of letting off steam. Now, I look out into the plaza
and I don't know anybody."
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© 1996 Peter Langston