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Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Ministry of Silly Walks

By Jim Caple
Page 2

ATHENS, Greece --Anyone remember the Monty Python sketch about the Ministry of Silly Walks? Where they walk around with these ridiculous extended strides, with toes pointing? Well, they must have gotten the idea from the changing of the guard in front of the Greek Parliament.

Greek parliament
Oompa, loompa -- doopity do. Come too close and we will hurt you . . . with our pom-poms!

Like the British guards, these guys stand at strict attention next to their little booths, except their uniforms are much more ridiculous. They wear red berets, white skirts, white tights and these long-sleeved blossomy white shirts that a pirate might wear to the opera. And, just to top everything off, big black pom-poms on their shoes.

Yes, pom-poms. They're like Laker Girls with rifles.

The best part, though, is the hourly changing of the guard. They stomp their feet, flex their legs like an ostrich and then goose-step around the entrance before they march around the block.

I bet they're effective, though. Even the most devout Al-Qaeda operative would take one look at these guys, wet himself with laughter and then de-fuse his homemade bomb.

Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com