As Ronald Reagan did with jelly beans, George Bush may popularize his favorite snack: pork rinds. But since a bagful of pork rinds has almost as much fat content as a can of Crisco, Heart Chek of Sarasota, Florida, wants to warn patriotic Americans about the hazards of emulating our chief's reckless dietary habits. The company offers simple, inexpensive blood cholesterol tests. Located in Walgreen's and other stores, Heart Chek will prick shoppers' fingers and run a few drops of their blood through a machine. The test takes only a few minutes and costs $7.00. The state of Florida is trying to end this service by claiming, under the 1967 Act to Protect Doctors from Competition and Make Health Care More Expensive (not its real name), that only a licensed clinical lab can do the test.
The Soviet Union goes condo? Soviet citizens may now buy their apartments from the state. Sales might be slow at first, however, since a two-room apartment is expected to cost $13,000 to $16,200, and the average Soviet citizen makes $325 per month.
Apparently not everyone wants a kinder, gentler America. Refusing to be outdone by Rep. Arthur Ravenel (R–S.C.), who declared a few months ago that "ships bringing the drugs in should be sunk and any survivors machine-gunned in the water," Rep. Al Edwards (D–Tex.) has introduced a bill that allows the government to cut off a finger of people convicted of possessing large amounts of drugs.
The Coast Guard's "zero tolerance" drug policy, which means any vessel may be confiscated if even the slightest trace of marijuana is found aboard, has been dubbed "zero intelligence" by many. Now, the Coast Guard has gone a step further. It apparently has a "zero baloney" policy. That means that if a guest on your boat buys the gas or brings along the refreshments, he loses his standing as a "guest" and becomes a "passenger." What's the big deal, you say? Boats that carry passengers must be licensed by the Coast Guard to carry passengers for hire. The Revenue Marines are serious. "If a guest brings a baloney sandwich aboard, he's a passenger," says a Coast Guard spokesman. No matter how you slice it, it's still baloney.
Want a nice six-figure job? Become a cop. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, because of retroactive pay and record-high overtime, paid salaries in excess of $100,000 to 60 of its police officers. It paid another 30 officers at least $90,000.
The American educational system may not be as bad as everyone thinks when a note scrawled by an 11-year-old boy is assumed to have been written by a college professor. The note said: "Read this. There are guns pointed at you. If you want to live, read the letter underneath and do what it says. This is a bomb scare. If you do what the letter says, and have everyone else do it, you will live. If you don't, you are history!! There are bombs planted all over this airplane and there is a gun pointed at your head. Take your wallet and throw it in the aisle now." Peter W. Canning, a lecturer in literature at the University of California at Berkeley, found this note when he opened his tray table on an airline flight from San Francisco to New Orleans. It had been left there by a mischievous child during a previous flight. Ever mindful of ethical rules against plagiarism, Canning no doubt disclaimed authorship when he passed the note to a flight attendant. But the pilot diverted the plane to the nearest airport, where alert FBI agents pounced upon samaritan Canning. Charges were dropped two days later.
Bon appétit! The Shelby County Sheriff's Department in Indiana says a gang of mice has invaded the agency's storage room and eaten their way through bags of marijuana kept as evidence.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".