Brickbats

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The sports world mourns the passing of Harold Ballard, longtime owner of the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs. In addition to his love of hockey, Ballard was noted for his staunch individualism. After spending a year in jail for tax fraud in the early 1970s, the unrepentant Ballard told one critic, "If you got a chance to screw the government out of a few bucks, you'd do it, too."

Wal-Mart was one of the first companies to jump on board the environmental bandwagon, but maybe it's carried things a bit too far. Worried about the nation's landfills, the discount retailer has told manufacturers that it is looking for products "that are guaranteed not to last." What sort of commercials will this lead to? "Tired of kitchen appliances that last for decades? Then come to Wal-Mart. Anything you buy will break apart the day after the warranty expires, and it's all biodegradable."

In North Carolina, a judge sentenced William Fry to 10 years in prison for violating that state's sodomy law. Fry admitted on the stand that his girlfriend had performed fellatio on him. Playboy reports that on the same day the same judge sentenced a murderer to a five-year sentence and an arsonist to an eight-year sentence. So if you're in North Carolina and someone performs oral sex on you, kill her. You'll eliminate the only witness to the sodomy. If the police do catch you, they can only pin the murder rap on you, and that means less time.

In its May 3 issue, Rolling Stone gives us its Environmental Hall of Shame. Along with the usual targets—Ronald Reagan, James Watt, George Bush—Stone goes after the Wall Street Journal editorial page because it is "always ready to mount a sycophantic defense of a corporate polluter." Stone magazine doesn't seem to mind sycophancy if it isn't aimed at business, however. A typical Stone story is the in-depth profile of Axl Rose by the warbler's best friend. The magazine's aggressive brownnosing of angry rock stars has made it the Tiger Beat of the over-30 set.

On camera, Peter Jennings is the most competent and authoritative of the network news anchors, but off camera he seems to be a little goofy. Spy reports that Jennings recently went to the Dirksen Senate Office Building for his annual Capitol press pass renewal. When it was time to have his ID photo taken, Jennings sat down and asked the photographer to wait a minute. The cameraman watched, befuddled, as the newsman bent forward, spent a few minutes in deep concentration, then suddenly snapped upright and screamed, "Now!" Jennings denies the story.

Rep. Bob McEwen (R–Ohio) thinks he's found the way to win the drug war. He has introduced HR 3346, affectionately known as the bounty hunter act. This law would allow private citizens to bring in drug dealers and get 50 percent of the value of the assets the dealer forfeits if he is convicted. There's just one problem, Bob. Steve McQueen is dead.

It has been 22 years since Doris Day made a movie, but America's favorite virgin still tries valiantly to capture the public's eye. These days she's riding the animal-rights bandwagon into our hearts. Hunting, fur coats, animal testing, she's against it all. She even gave The Cable Guide her ideas on humane alternatives to animal testing. "I think they should experiment on murderers," opined the star of That Touch of Mink.

Sanitation crews scooped up 154.3 tons of litter left in Central Park by Earth Day celebrants. The debris was scattered all over the Great Lawn, the nearby woods, and even in the trees. The lawn itself was heavily damaged and several park fences were torn down. Earth Day organizers promised that the effects of the event would be felt for years to come. Well, that may be an exaggeration, but officials say it will take "several months" to clean up Central Park.

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