The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, onetime guru to the Beatles, has offered to send emissaries to Broward County, Florida, to reduce crime by emitting harmonious vibrations. Oh, and he'll charge only $47 million annually for the service.
Who says Congress doesn't listen to voters? Philip Morris Cos. recently asked smokers to call their representative and voice their opinions on a proposed hike on the tobacco tax. The legislators responded immediately to the deluge of calls. They had their aides tie up Philip Morris's fax numbers with junk mail.
Speaking of phone calls, legislators in West Virginia were flooded with calls from fishermen protesting a bill that would ban stalking. The callers seemed to be somewhat reassured when they found out that the bill would ban the harassing and hunting of humans, not the stocking of fish ponds and streams.
Meanwhile, no one raised a voice when West Virginia lawmakers required that all state marriage licenses now be embossed with warnings against spousal abuse and violence. Next? Maybe warnings against forgetting one's anniversary or promising to take out the trash and then not doing it.
The Indiana University chapters of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity and the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority have learned what louts they are. During a student festival the two groups combined to present a play set in a laundry where the clothes come to life. To create the illusion that the clothes were moving about, the students used an old theatrical trick, blacking out the actors' faces and hands with makeup. But the effect proved too subtle for the campus's black activists. They denounced the Greeks for sponsoring a "minstrel show" and got them to apologize for performing in "blackface."
In Tennessee, the Memphis Zoo had to refund the admission charges to several visitors to a special exhibit on dinosaurs. Seems the people complained after they discovered there were no live dinosaurs in the exhibit.
In the District of Columbia, city officials are investigating 10 nightclubs accused of sexual bias. The charges arose after a group of female law students complained that the clubs' "ladies' night" policy of giving cheaper drinks to women discriminates against men.
The NAACP chapter in Columbia, South Carolina, is protesting a plan to make parents of incarcerated minors pay the costs of jailing them. The organization calls the plan "a war on African-Americans."
And in Kansas, the state Senate has approved a bill allowing Kansas City to float $60 million in bonds to build a Wizard of Oz theme park.
In a speech before physicians, Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala identified alcohol abuse as one of the major health problems afflicting the United States. She said that alcoholism is responsible for motor vehicle deaths, drownings, and "psoriasis." She probably meant cirrhosis.
More signs that traditional values are hip again. Italian designer Fabio Inghirami has unveiled an haute line of Hasidic wear. The line will arrive in upscale stores such as Barneys and Fred Segal in July. Yeah, that's just the time to buy black wool overcoats.
The Rev. Donald Wildmon is getting into bed with Playboy magazine founder Hugh M. Hefner. Reluctantly. Wildmon went to court last year to try to prevent the U.S. distribution of the documentary movie Damned in the U.S.A. Wildmon was upset that the producers juxtaposed an interview with him with photos from the infamous Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit. But Wildmon lost his suit, and Playboy snapped up the movie to show on its cable-TV channel in May. Maybe next Hefner can convince Wildmon to appear in one of his Sexy Lingerie videos.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".