Cosmetology instructor Michael Cerami was convicted of first-degree manslaughter for shooting a school official who had asked for his resignation. After Cerami was acquitted by reason of insanity in a second trial, a New York State appeals court ruled that job stress contributed to Cerami's mental breakdown and awarded him workers' compensation.
Ban lollipops? That's professional busybody Dr. Sidney Wolfe's solution to an idea that might make the medicine go down a bit smoother for kids. Children are generally afraid of injections, so a Utah company is testing a narcotic-laced lollipop that children can lick before undergoing surgery. Anesta Corp. makes these "treats" with a purple dye that coats the tongue and lips to help catch doctors or nurses who might misuse them. But Wolfe is outraged. He claims the abuse potential is huge and has petitioned the FDA to halt the experiment.
Is it art, or schlock? The People's Republic of Massachusetts has decreed that the state shall decide the difference. Gallery owners complained that cut-rate paintings from Asian countries—often painted by many people in assembly lines—were luring tourists away from their finer artwork. So the state enacted a law barring the sales of mass-produced paintings unless clearly labeled "not an original." Local artists in Rockport, an arty community, "are irate" because "our art is affordable," says Jack Abady of United Oil Paintings, Inc. "I guess they feel art should be out of reach."
Albert and Elizabeth Watson dared to ask New York City for permission to erect a fence on their property. The Watsons bought a building that had been vacant for years and had become a haven for druggies. They gutted the interior and rebuilt it as a photo studio. But the property is located in a "landmark" district in Greenwich Village. So city planners demanded a large window to retain the area's industrial-character. The Watsons agreed, but also wanted some privacy. So they decided to put up a fence. Not so fast, says the city. No community group or agency opposed the fence. Scores of city agencies approved the plan. Still, it's taken three years, six hearings, rulings by 10 different government bodies, and more than $20,000 to get the fence put up. "There are two ways to do a building in New York," says the man who managed the project. "The New York way, where you pay everybody off, or the correct way. We did it the correct way."
You don't have to pry Robin Heid's gun out of his cold, dead hands. Just make him a good offer. A Denver Roman Catholic priest, Marshall Gourley, did just that. The padre offered $100 to anyone surrendering a firearm. Heid, a 35-year-old private investigator, turned in a cheap handgun worth $40. He'll use the $100 as a down payment on an AR-15 assault rifle. "This is a capitalist country," says Heid. "When you have a chance to make a good deal, you make it."
New York City lost $5 million last year because it could not collect on illegible traffic tickets. So this year the city is sending its cops and traffic agents to penmanship class. Joseph Bilello of the Transportation Department's training academy says he will try to teach them "pre-kindergarten block letters."
No beefcake is allowed at this small Baptist college in Pineville, Louisiana. Even the president of Louisiana College admits that a fundraising calendar of photos of male students in bathing suits was "as scintillating as a Sears catalogue." But church leaders were outraged. "It makes us look like we're liberal or something," says the Rev. Charles Hutzler, pastor of the Alpine Baptist Church. Only 23 calendars had been sold in the school bookstore when sales were halted.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".