Brickbats

Remember the outhouse! That's the battle cry in Liebenthal, Kansas, where nine stalwart individualists have refused to abandon their privies and hook up to the municipal sewer system. The Kansas Court of Appeals has ruled that the city has a right to force people to tear down their beloved outhouses. But Agatha Schuckman and her friends say never. "I'm not going to get rid of mine," the 71-year-old says. "It's my property. I'm paying taxes on it. That's it." The court says that if the residents refuse to abide by the law, the city can tear down the structures, hook up the homes to the sewer system, and send the residents a bill.If discipline doesn't work, why not try bribery? That's the solution being proposed by the school board in Glendale, Wisconsin. If vandals would, pretty please, agree to quit breaking windows and painting graffiti at the high school-which cost the district $8,900 last year-some of the savings will be passed on to students. The board will provide student-activity committees with half of the sum not spent cleaning up vandalism. And what a wonderful plus: The little vandals will learn the valuable lesson that crime pays.

Darrel's Grease and Go service station in Des Moines, Iowa, just wasn't attracting enough customers. So owner Darrel Lafon hired two women to vacuum and clean cars while topless, and business at the once-struggling garage has, er, busted out all over. He calls the new service "Boob and Lube." The National Organization for Women says the practice is a shameless exploitation of women, and some 50 protesters picketed the station. Undaunted, Lafon thanked them for the publicity.

The latest rage on Capitol Hill is to demand drug testing of nearly everyone who breathes. Each member of Congress wants to prove he's the toughest narc in town. That fervor may die down some, depending on whose urine is being analyzed. It turns out that former members of Congress have been able to obtain prescription drugs from the Capitol physician at taxpayers' expense simply by dropping by his office, writing a note, or picking up the phone to request refills. It's illegal for a physician to prescribe drugs to a patient he hasn't examined. But this sordid little practice went on for 15 years until Rear Adm. William Narva, the current Capitol physician, put a stop to the little-known retirement bonus. Narva says he's gently encouraging former legislators to look elsewhere for primary medical care. Nobody's yet offered to estimate the cost of the drugs dispensed free of charge to one-time members who had long since retired or been defeated.

Prostitute Delores French calls it like it is. "The only thing I love about the IRS is they're truly ruthless people," she says. French, who's distributing a pamphlet to inform call girls of their legal rights, says the biggest threat many prostitutes face is IRS agents, not local police or social diseases. "They don't care if you kidnap and sell babies as long as they get their share," she says of the tax collectors. "You can put down prostitution [as your occupation]. You can put kidnapper. They don't care what you do."

The city of Rome, New York, has received more than $150,000 in taxpayers' money to help construct a new museum-the New York State Museum of Cheese. America's first cheese factory was built in Rome in 1851, and folks here take their cheese seriously. "We intend to milk this for all it's worth," says Mayor Carl J. Eilenberg, also known as "the big cheese." But what does one put in a cheese museum? A piece of 16th-century Gorgonzola? Eilenberg says he's getting tired of all the jokes. He sees the museum as the opening wedge in a program to revitalize tourism and industry in the upstate town. "We want to be known for more than being cheesy."

Larry Briggs spent months of work and Allots of money to make The Old Drugstore in Sperry, Oklahoma, look authentic as a 1940s-era pharmacy. It has an old-style soda bar and antique Rexall signs. His problem is that he doesn't sell any drugs. So state inspectors say he can't call it a drugstore. "We are not a drugstore and never claimed to be," he says, explaining that the store is more of a museum than anything else. No dice, say the bureaucrats. "It's a matter of misleading the public into believing the business is a drugstore," says a spokeswoman for the state Board of Pharmacy. Gosh! What a compelling case for state intervention.

-Mark Edward Crane

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