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PROBE: December 24, 2001

December 23, 2001

IRAQI SHOE SHINE BOY — Fox News, the conservative channel, has a good reason for spelling bin Laden's first name with a U instead of an O. If you start it with a U, it would be "USAma" and that would make the Saudi terrorist mad.

It's the same reason the first George Bush used to call the Iraqi leader "Sad-dem" Hussein. Pronounced that way, saddem means "shoeshine boy" in Arabic. — Another Linguist, Calexico

If you're right about that, no wonder George Bush the elder couldn't get along with the Iraqi dictator. Could that be why Hussein tried to assassinate Bush when the former president visited Kuwait after leaving office?

That's almost as mean as former Texas Gov. Ann Richards calling George Dubya Bush "Shrub" when Dubya opposed her in the governor's race. Her dissing him might have fueled the fire in Dubya's belly to win the election.

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Now you've led us into a serious topic. A recent study showed the most frequent cause of bar fights is the belief of at least one combatant that he had been disrespected, or "dissed."

There's more than one way to diss a person.

Elvis said, "You can knock me down, step in my face, slander my name all over the place … burn my house, steal my car, drink my liquor from an old fruit jar …

But "don't you step on my blue suede shoes."

Or as Hussein would say, "When you call me Saddam, smile."

NEEDING A TRANSLATOR — When I went Christmas shopping in Mexicali I took a Spanish-speaking friend to help me communicate. When I wanted to finish my shopping at Wal-Mart in Calexico, I went alone.

I should have taken a Spanish speaker with me. The clerk I approached for help didn't know a word of English. He had to go find somebody to translate for him.

I expected people would speak Spanish in Mexicali but I expect to shop in English in Calexico, Calif. — Limited Spanish, El Centro

The growing reliance on Spanish in Calexico is a detriment to both Spanish and English speakers. Once Calexico residents move away from the border, their inability to speak English is a handicap that can keep them in the economic basement.

Failure to hire English-speaking help will discourage English speakers from patronizing a store. Without the interchange of language, the cultural wall between Anglos and Hispanics will grow higher. It will deprive the Spanish speakers the opportunity to learn the dominant language of the United States. Too bad.

LITTLE DOGS LOST — My three grandsons are sad because their two puppies are lost. We ran an advertisement and offered a reward. PROBE is our last hope. The pups are females, white with brown spots, part pit bull. They look like twins. — Equally Sad Grandmother

Laborers work from sun to sundown but the work of PROBE readers is never done. Now we need to track down a couple of puppies. If you see these spotted pups, call Lupe Hamilton at 312-9956 or knock on the door at 872 W. Holt Ave. in El Centro.

IN ANOTHER DOG MATTER — A man called our office Sunday night to report he had found two lost dogs, both boxers. He said he is keeping the dogs in his back yard and needed help finding the owners. Unfortunately, the call was disconnected before we could get a name or telephone number from him. If he would call us at 337-4082, we can provide more specific information. We wish him luck in trying to locate the owners. Otherwise there may be some sad owners on Christmas day.

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