In Cobasset, Massachusetts, Linda Gallagher asked city officials for a "Slow Children" sign for the residential street on which she lives with her two toddlers. City officials want to grant her wish, but there's a problem. State law forbids the signs for fear they will offend the mentally retarded. Cobasset officials are now awaiting delivery of signs that read simply "Children."
Also in Massachusetts, the state legislature recently made navy beans with molasses (or maple syrup) the official state food. Somehow it seems appropriate that the state that keeps sending gasbags like Ed Markey and Ted Kennedy to Congress would make beans the state food.
Can't get tickets to Cats? Missed The Will Rogers Follies? Then save your money for the upcoming musical based upon the life of dead press baron and cheat Robert Maxwell. The play will follow the rotund Czech as he bounces from company to company, looting them all to the music of Arthur Sullivan. What's next? Maybe an opera about anti-smut crusader and savings-and-loan swindler Charles Keating.
Johann Peter Grzegnack had to go to the bathroom. Badly. So it didn't matter that federal rules prohibit moving about as an airplane is taking off. When flight attendants tried to stop him, the German tourist pushed his way past them, shouting an explanation. But something got lost in the translation. "The roof is going to go!" they thought he said. And, well, to make a long story short, the plane was turned around to Ft. Lauderdale, and Grzegnack was arrested for making a bomb threat and interfering with a flight crew. Fearing another misunderstanding with an American jury, the tourist pleaded guilty to the lesser charge in return for dropping the bomb charge.
In Grangeville, Idaho, the health inspector has ruled that an Earth First! campsite violates state code for the disposal of waste and "shows contempt for the Earth."
A Consumer Reports reader writes that he was assembling a Yamaha Electric Grand keyboard when a word in the instructions caught his eye. I won't repeat the word because it might offend some of our more genteel readers, but my guess is that the company meant "screw."
In Israel, a rabbinical court has told Tara Dairies that it will withdraw its kosher endorsement if the company does not stop using dinosaurs on its labels and in its advertising. The court says that the claim that dinosaurs roamed the earth millions of years ago contradicts religious teaching that the world is about 6,000 years old.
Actress Kathy Najimy had some reservations about doing the recently released Bette Midler film Hocus Pocus because she didn't want to help perpetuate the myth of the evil, ugly witch. Before agreeing to take the part, Najimy says she consulted Gloria Steinem "because she's the goddess of the world and knows everything."
Postal Service worker Helen Grant, whose job is to reroute undeliverable mail, tells Newsweek, "It's absolutely astounding how many Mother's Day cards we get from folks who don't have the address of their mom." But it's the thought that counts, isn't it?
Gerard Papillou, mayor of Cape d'Agde, France, has a complaint about tourists at the seaside resort: "More and more holidaymakers are refusing to get undressed." So the mayor has formed a patrol to police the city's nude-only beach and make sure that sunbathers strip or go to jail.
In Idaho, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has leveled a $7,875 fine against the construction firm DeBest Inc. The company's troubles began when a dirt wall collapsed on a worker. Two other workers immediately jumped in to help him. But they neglected to put on hard hats and take other precautions to prevent injury to themselves. That was a violation of OSHA rules, and it got the company fined. The local OSHA director said it would be "selective enforcement" not to fine DeBest.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".