Kiss and ride

Kisses may be good for body and soul, but not for commuters stuck behind couples taking their time to kiss each other goodbye.

So many doctors, nurses and patients spent so long kissing their loved ones goodbye before getting out of their cars in front of St. Olav's Hospital in Olso, Norway, that city officials decided to build a separate "kiss 'n' ride" lane to ease traffic congestion.

"I have to say that I have had some help from some creative ladies in the office to come up with this," Terje Fiksdal, the project manager for the new lane, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

He said many people were lingering for one last kiss for minutes, causing traffic to back up in front of the city hospital.

Roll out the barrel

After two run-ins with police for playing his accordion on the village's streets, Jacob Kouwe has been cleared to polka.

The Village Council in Chagrin Falls, Ohio ruled Monday night that street performances by a 16-year-old Chardon High School sophomore do not disturb the peace.

Kouwe began playing polkas and hymns in December in the quiet downtown of the suburban Cleveland village. On Feb. 8, a Starbucks coffee shop employee complained to police that Kouwe was "soliciting."

Kouwe said that he does not ask for money, but some people drop cash in his accordion case. He moved away from Starbucks.

Then a resident complained that Kouwe's music was "tacky."

Police looked into the possibility that Kouwe was disturbing the peace. Chagrin Falls has a 1935 ordinance that prohibits the loud playing of a musical instrument or "other sound-making device."

Law Director Joseph Diemert said the ordinance does not pertain to street performers, but to major events.

No more French in the fries

The cafeteria menus in the three White House office buildings changed the name of "french fries" to "freedom fries," in a culinary rebuke of France stemming from anger over the country's refusal to support the US position on Iraq.

Ditto for "french toast," which will be known as "freedom toast."

The name changes were spearheaded by two Republican lawmakers who held a news conference Tuesday to make the name changes official on the menus.

"This action today is a small, but symbolic effort to show the strong displeasure of many on Capitol Hill with the actions of our so-called ally, France," said Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, the chairman of the Committee on House Administration.

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