In the African country of Benin, Matthew B'Yoa was recently fined for destroying the country's air force. Who is B'Yoa? An international terrorist? An antigovernment rebel? No, not quite. He's an avid golfer. B'Yoa had just teed off when Benin's four-plane air force made a low-level flyby over the golf course. B'Yoa's ball crashed through the cockpit of one plane, sending it crashing into the other three. All four planes were destroyed. And you thought golf was boring.
John Pittman has brought a little bit of country living into the city. It all started when officials in Carmel, Indiana, ruled that Pittman couldn't put an office building on land that he owned. They thought the neighborhood already had plenty of office buildings. Since he couldn't put offices there, Pittman turned his land into a hog farm. Now, all of the occupants in the nearby office buildings can enjoy the, uh, aroma of farm life without ever leaving the city.
Earlier this year, a police dragnet descended upon Quezon City, Philippines, hauling people off the streets, yanking them out of cars and hotel rooms, and pulling them out of restaurants. Who were the police rounding up? Communists insurgents trying to overthrow the government? No. Allies of former President Marcos? Nope, the police were after smokers. Quezon City has passed a tough new ordinance banning smoking virtually everywhere, even in private automobiles. Violators face jail time and stiff fines. In the first three days after the law took effect, police arrested more than 300 felons, including quite a few out-of-towners who didn't even know smoking was illegal.
A police car with lights flashing led the way. Following it were about two dozen young women in spike heels and leather miniskirts. No, it wasn't a parade honoring Rob Lowe. It was Washington, D.C., police at work. At about 1:30 A.M., the police rounded up all the ladies of the night they could find and herded the hookers across the district line into Virginia. (Although the women are streetwalkers, a 1.4 mile march down 14th Street is normally not part of the job.) Virginia authorities were furious. Fumed Rep. Stan Parrish, "We get all the sludge, all the garbage, most of the prisoners, now their prostitutes." Maybe Washington police just took that "Virginia is for lovers" slogan a little too seriously?
Poor New Yorkers. They have so much to contend with: Crime is rampant, the subway system is a joke, and Ed Koch is mayor. Now they face the possibility that their favorite blankets may be confiscated by the police. Authorities have placed a limit on the size of the blankets people may bring with them to concerts in Central Park. Any blanket that exceeds the limit will be seized by police. It's nice to know that the removal of a few blankets is all that is needed to make Central Park safe for people to visit.
The Jack-Webb-Is-Spinning-in-His-Grave Department. A Miami police officer was suspended after breaking wind into a police radio. In Los Angeles another policeman was suspended for flatulating in front of two handcuffed prisoners and telling them to "Check this out."
No one can accuse Oklahoma City police of neglecting their duties, although some may question their powers of observation. Over three days, the police ticketed an illegally parked car seven times. But the cops who lifted the windshield wiper to stick the tickets on the window failed to see the man slumped over the dashboard. Finally, a passerby noticed the man and called the police. This time the cops opened up the car and got the man out. He had been dead the entire time.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".