Just before leaving Tokyo (where they had performed a concert), several members of Texas Southern University's Ocean of Soul Marching Band went to the electronics district to do a little last-minute…shoplifting. Store clerks were stunned as 28 members of the band openly pocketed 119 items—tape recorders, compact-disc players, pocket televisions, video games—worth $22,000. The felons were apprehended as they boarded the bus that was to take them to the airport. Apparently, this incident has really stained America's image in Japan. Sure, they already thought we were lawless and corrupt, but at least they thought we were good at it.
Last year, the campaign for the Santa Clara, California, City Council centered on the town's troubled budget. All the winners had promised to cut the fat from city spending. So it surprised some when the first action taken by the new council was to pay $13,500 from city emergency funds to send two groups of high-school cheerleaders to compete in a national tournament in Florida. The council at first rejected the motion, but after a performance by the groups, they changed their minds. As one newspaper account put it, the sight of 50 girls in cheerleading outfits "was too much for the council to refuse." I know exactly how they must have felt.
Federal auditors have discovered that 237 government planes are missing, presumably misplaced. Did anyone check John Sununu's house?
The Adult Video News reports that the entire cast of Malcolm XXX walked off the set. Seems the all-black cast felt the movie wasn't treating Malcolm X with the proper respect.
A California cable system accidentally showed explicit scenes from an adult movie during a Sunday morning slot normally occupied by a religious program. Oddly enough, more than 10 minutes passed before anyone called to complain.
In Vermont, the state Supreme Court has reinstated the handicap-discrimination case of a chambermaid fired by a ski resort for refusing to wear her dentures at work.
In France, a court has allowed a couple to name their daughter Marie Marie Marie. Government officials had refused to enter the name in civil records because it did not "enrich the French heritage."
At California's Humboldt State University, student activists have asked the student body to vote on a measure to replace the school's mascot: a lumberjack. (Humboldt is located near timberlands in Northern California.) Seems lumberjacks are "outdated, sexist and no longer representative of our views of the ecosystem."
In New York, a state court has awarded $1.2 million to the owners of a deceased sheepdog for the mental anguish they suffered when they found out the pet had been fraudulently buried in a mass grave rather than the separate plot they paid for.
In Wisconsin, AIDS activists protested the state's ban on condoms for prisoners by dropping rubbers onto a state pen from an airplane. Authorities spent two days confiscating all of the foil packs.
In Great Britain, 5,000 prostitutes have formed Offpro, an organization that will police the sex industry. If a customer is ripped off or reports poor-quality service, he will receive compensation in the form of a cash refund or alternative service from one of Offpro's members. And the offending prostitute will have her seal of approval revoked.
Finally, now that the EPA has saved us from asbestos, dioxin, and other substances that never were that dangerous to begin with, next on its list is…your shower. EPA Watch reports that the Environmental Protection Agency has launched a risk assessment on the health hazards of taking showers. The agency fears that people may be injured by inhaling water vapor.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".