Who will win the battle between man and nature? Lawyers, of course. A New York jury has ordered a country club to pay $1.45 million to a man who was paralyzed when a bee stung him on club property. The club's argument that where and when a bee stings a person is beyond its control didn't impress the jury.
Spuds MacKenzie, the bull terrier who helps the folks at Budweiser sell suds, is in the doghouse again. First, the Ohio Department of Liquor Control ordered thousands of 12-packs of Bud Light off the shelves because the cartons pictured Spuds wearing a Santa Claus costume. A state law bans the use of Santa Claus to promote alcohol. Then schools around the country sent students home for wearing Spuds T-shirts, claiming the garments encourage drinking. Sen. Strom Thurmond (R–S.C.) also attacked Spuds for fostering juvenile drinking. It's a dog's life.
School officials in Andrews, Texas, were alarmed because corporal punishment wasn't being administered equally. Now the problem is solved: all paddles will be of uniform size. Paddle A, for elementary schools, will be made of plastic and measure 3/16 x 4 x 18 inches. Paddle B, for secondary schools, will be made of wood and measure 1/2 x 3-1/2 x 22 inches. A grateful nation breathes a sigh of relief.
Police in Essex County, England, are prosecuting a sailing club for not having a license for the cannon they use to start their races. The club got nailed for violating the Offensive Weapons Act (which even makes carrying an empty beer bottle "with intent" a crime). The club commodore thinks it's all pretty silly. "Anyone attempting to rob a bank with the cannon would have to be a lunatic," he claims. "It weighs 50 pounds, is attached to a nine-inch-high wheeled trolley, you charge it with black powder and wadding and fire it with a lanyard."
Join the Navy and say your prayers. An aircraft mechanic who is "not mechanically inclined" has prompted a global search by Navy experts for 300 crucial jet engine parts that may fail in flight because he worked on them. "For years, this guy was taking these gearboxes apart, then putting them back together—with parts left over when he was done," according to one Navy official. "What we can't figure out is why it wasn't caught sooner." Keep your parachute handy, sailor.
For the past 24 years, 61-year-old Freda Boxenbaum has been cooking and distributing free homemade soup to the poor in Jacksonville, Florida. The impoverished certainly haven't complained—but the Duval County Health Department has. The law prohibits kitchens in private homes from preparing food for public distribution. So Freda has been told to stop giving away her vegetable soup at a downtown park each morning. "I'm certainly not strong-arming this lady," protests health official Kathleen Ward. "I don't want to see people go hungry either. I just have a responsibility to make sure what she's giving is wholesome."
Maybe Iran is finally turning civilized. An official has declared that real estate agents and car dealers are nothing more than middlemen who force the price of those items up. "If estate agents and car dealers did not review their practices, legal power would be utilized and they would be declared corrupt on Earth," said the official. That's serious business: "Corrupt on Earth" is the most severe accusation in Iran, and conviction can result in the death penalty.
It's illegal in Clifton, New Jersey, to grab a handful of mints from a dish in a restaurant. Eating establishments are prohibited from offering unwrapped, "unprotected" toothpicks, straws, and mints to the public. "They don't have enough to do in the city, so now they're going to start looking for mints without a paper around it?" asked one restaurant manager.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".