In Norcross, Georgia, law enforcement has a new slogan: "Read a book, go to jail." Well, they aren't really saying that, but it did happen to Karen Lindsay. Police stormed into her apartment late one Friday night and hauled her off to jail, charging her with failing to return books to the public library and ignoring a summons to appear in court on the matter. She was freed on bail after spending the night in jail. Lindsay says that she returned the books and never received the summons. The local prosecutor later admitted that the summons had never been delivered to Lindsay. His office had put the wrong address on the envelope.
Meanwhile, northwest of Norcross, in Chattooga County, Georgia, the county's major paper, The Summerville News, has added "drug coupons" to its pages. Now, this isn't a buy-two-joints-get-one-free type of coupon. No, the editor of the News has invited readers to fill in the names of suspected drugs users and send them to the sheriff. The sheriff is reportedly thrilled with the idea. Maybe after the News has rid the county of drug users, they can go after people with overdue library books.
Jesse Jackson cautions us about the changes in Eastern Europe: "Now that we're unplugging the Cold War, it will still take time for the glaciers to melt, and sometimes this can cause floods." Finally, someone is brave enough to tell us the painful truth about glasnost.
The IRS recently notified Dustin Crowley that he owed $48,000 in back taxes. The IRS threatened to seize Dustin's property if he didn't make arrangements to pay the taxes. Dustin couldn't really understand the letter, but there are many things he can't understand: Dustin is 5 years old, and he doesn't have $48,000. When his mother pointed this out, the government reviewed its records and said something like "Ooops." So, for now, Dustin gets to keep his property—a bike and some toys—and he learns a valuable lesson: You're never too small to get jerked around by Uncle Sam.
High Times magazine reports that Drug Czar Bill Bennett was spotted nursing a gin-and-tonic at a luncheon speech. I called Bennett's office to see what they had to say about the story. David Robbin, a spokesman for Bennett, told me, "We will not comment upon anything printed in High Times. We do not take that magazine seriously, and we do not expect anyone else to take it seriously." So you cannot confirm or deny the story? "No, I can talk about the director's life or his work, but I won't talk about anything in that magazine." OK, leaving aside the High Times article, is it possible that Bennett was drinking at noon? "I don't know," said Robbin, "but I can safely say that gin-and-tonic is the director's favorite drink."
Every time a loaf of bread is baked, approximately 150,000,000 yeasts are killed." So began a flier posted at last year's meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics. Attendees were invited to see the "award-winning 1987 film The Very Small and Quiet Screams—a cinematic electron micrograph of yeasts being baked." According to the flier, the film was hosted by the Anaerobe Liberation Front. ALF's credo is "Defend all life, from greatest to least, from human to yeast!"
Public-school students in Long Beach, California, can no longer wear Natas sportswear. It seems that several parents complained that Natas spelled backward is Satan. But a company spokesman explains that it has nothing to do with the occult. The company is named after its founder, skateboarder Natas Kaupas. Says the spokesman, "He's Lithuanian. That's his name."
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".