Big Muck and fries?

Even Ronald McDonald on horseback would not be allowed in the Drive-Thru

Even Ronald McDonald on horseback would not be allowed in the Drive-Thru

McDonald’s, my favorite fast food joint is in the news again. Not this time about obesity or whether they’re going to start serving their delicious breakfast items throughout the day (like McDonald’s in sensible Hong Kong).

No, the latest news from England is that McDonald’s will not serve you in the Drive-Thru if you are riding a horse. And then should you insist on taking the animal into the restaurant itself, you’ll likely to end up in trouble with the police.

There can’t be too many people on horseback lining up to buy a Big Mac, but in the northern English city of Manchester, a McDonald’s employee refused to serve a woman in the Drive-Thru because she was riding a horse. Okay she said, I’ll go to the counter.

“The woman then led the horse inside the restaurant, where it ‘ended up doing his business on the floor’ in front of shocked Saturday lunchtime customers”, a Greater Manchester Police spokesman said.

According to a  McDonald’s spokeswoman customers were upset at seeing a horse at the counter, not to mention leaving his smelly ‘doings’ on the restaurant floor.

“The incident caused great distress to our customers and disruption for the restaurant. The police were called and issued the woman with a fixed penalty fine for causing alarm and distress to other customers and staff.”

She added: “The health and safety of our customers and staff is our top priority, and for this reason we are unable to serve pedestrians, bicycle riders or customers on horseback through the Drive-Thru.”

But on the same day, a McDonald’s employee in the Philippines told me that customers on bicycles were welcome to use the Drive Thru.

“And someone riding a horse?”, I asked.

“So long as customers clear the vertical height bar, they are all welcome to use the Drive Thru,” he added.

Last year, there was a huge scandal in Europe after it was discovered that many meat products sold in supermarkets such as burgers contained horse meat. As one wag commented, “no wonder the poor horse pooped, it thought it was going to end up on the menu.”


Php 1.2 billion for a car?

The 37 million pesos that Willie Revillame is said to have spent on a spanking new Rolls Royce would make that about the most expensive car ever sold in the Philippines, though there are some local taipans with large auto collections so I might be wrong.

But, even that fat-cat price for a ‘Roller’ pales into insignificance when compared to the equivalent of 1.2 billion – yes billion – pesos paid in England recently for a 70 year-old Mercedes Benz.

But this is no ordinary Mercedes. This is a rare racing car driven by Argentine Formula 1 legend Juan Manuel Fangio back in the 1950s.

Fangio in his W196 at the 1954 German Grand Prix

Fangio in his W196 at the 1954 German Grand Prix

The Mercedes-Benz W196, in which the five-time world champion clinched his second title, was sold at auction for the highest price ever paid for a Mercedes.

The W196 took the legendary Fangio to his second of five world championships, winning the ’54 German and Swiss Grand Prix in the process.

The W196 aroused a lot of interest at the auction house []   1954 Mercedes W196 sold for Php1.2 billion

The W196 aroused a lot of interest at the auction house
1954 Mercedes W196 sold for Php1.2 billion

This beautiful machine sports a 2.5-liter straight eight motor, and brought technologies such as fully-independent suspension and fuel-injected engines to Formula One.

The car had previously been part of the Daimler-Benz Museum in Germany and had been in the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu in England where I worked as a student in the 1960s.

The car then went into private ownership and languished in a warehouse for more than 30 years.

Robert Brooks, chairman of Bonhams auctioneers, which handled the deal, called the car the most important historic Grand Prix racing car ever offered for sale.

The auction house said the steel-colored car is in a “remarkably unspoiled” condition and that its parts are believed to be complete and workable after proper preparation.

It was sold to a private buyer over the telephone.

Fangio, who died in 1995 aged 84, won the world championship five times and is regarded as one of the greatest drivers in the history of motorsport.

Nicknamed El Maestro, Fangio once said: ‘When I was in a racing car, I always liked to see exactly where the wheels were pointing.

‘I asked for a version with no bodywork covering the wheels for the Nurburgring race, and in no time Mercedes had built one – and I drove it to win the German Grand Prix.’

This is the only Mercedes-Benz W196 in private hands. It is the only surviving Mercedes-Benz W196 to have won not just one Grand Prix, but two.

Rare deer born in Bacolod

A Visayan spotted deer fawn was born recently at the Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation’s Biodiversity Conservation Center (NFEFI-BCC) in Bacolod City.

The sex of the fawn is not yet determined. It’s the fourth offspring from breeding pair Girom and Sandy. There are currently 14 deer at the center.

Mother Sandy and fawn

Mother Sandy and fawn

“The Visayan spotted deer is the largest endemic species of the West Visayas Faunal Region,” said Dr. Joanne Justo, the center’s curator.

“The species is now critically endangered and currently known to occur only in Negros and Panay islands. Deforestation and hunting for food and pet trade have greatly contributed in the decline in number of deer.”

The NFEFI-BCC is breeding this species in captivity and eventually the captive-bred animals will be released back into the wild. But this can only be done once studies have proven that the habitat is adequate and well-protected for their survival.

In the meantime, the center is involved in animal exchanges (or ‘breeding loans’) with other DENR-accredited institutions to ensure the genetic diversity of the captive population.


As we embark on another week of mishaps … remember:

King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden

King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden

1. Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden (1594-1632), disdained the steel armour offered by his aides at the Battle of Lützen (in present-day Germany), saying: “The Lord God is my Armour!” Yes, the Battle of Lutzen indeed was in 1632.

2. Dennis Laroux, a US tattooist, angered three members of an all-girl chapter of Hell’s Angels when he tattooed “Stan’s Slaves” on their breasts rather than “Satan’s Slaves.”

3. Sophia Hadi drove all the way from Leeds in England to Washington, Tyne and Wear in the north, after a friend there reported hearing a rare song thrush, only to find it was, in fact, the noise made by a fork lift truck reversing at the local supermarket.

5. Major General John Sedgwick (1813-1864), unimpressed by Confederate sniper fire at the (1864) Battle of Spotsylvania, said  — “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance!”

Major General John Sedgwick

Major General John Sedgwick

4. Peter Crawfords self-defense in a New York court suffered slightly after he asked the key witness: “Did you get a good look at my face when I snatched your bag?”

6. Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, once Hitler’s favorite general, decided that he could go home to celebrate his wife’s birthday because Normandy was so quiet in June 1944. The Allies landed there a few days later on June 6.

7. The Liverpool Echo, in a rare error, once described Violet, the mother of the notorious London gangsters, the Kray twins, as “Mrs Violent Kray”.

8. This was Sir William Preece, chief engineer of the British General Post Office, in 1876:  “The Americans have need of the telephone but we do not … we have plenty of messenger boys.”

9. The popularity of spinach as a health food, which resulted in Popeye the Sailor Man and generations of children staring miserably at a plate bearing the canned product, resulted from a misplaced decimal point in calculations of the amount of iron in it.

10. In Sonning Common, near Reading in England, in 2003, an unidentified motorist – you know who you are – collided with and knocked down the sign reading, “Sonning Common welcomes careful drivers”.