SONGS THAT REPEL
BARRY Manilow doesn't mind if you make fun of his wimpy love songs, but using them to repel juvenile delinquents goes too far. The sappy singer-songwriter hit the roof when he learned officials in Rockdale, Australia, are blasting his greatest hits on loudspeakers every night to stop heavy-metal-loving hooligans from drag-racing on local roads. While it's working like a charm, a peeved Manilow said, "If you played anyone's music for that long, you'd drive any rationally minded human out of their mind. But have they thought that these hoodlums might like my music? What if some of them began to sing along with 'Can't Smile Without You?' . . . What if this actually attracts more hoodlums - puts smiles on their faces?" Deputy Mayor Bill Saravinovski is unrepentant. "Barry's our secret weapon," he crowed.
Give the police in Rockdale credit. They figured out how to stop drag racing, which is far worse than listening to Barry Manilow. As one of Murphy's Laws of combat put it, "If it's stupid and it works, it's not stupid."
So enjoy the free publicity, Barry. Heck, I've even listened to your music from time to time...
EDIT: Here is a story from the Miami Herald.