Brickbats

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? You think your taxes are high? Ohio resident Lorie Marling opened her mail one day to find that she owed the Internal Revenue Service $270 billion. But not to worry, the agency assured her, she didn't have to pay the bill all at once. She could choose a plan that would let her pay four installments of $90 billion each. Fortunately, when she checked with the IRS, she found that the notice was in error.

? Jane Fonda had to apologize to her adopted home state of Georgia. She had told a United Nations group that parts of the state resembled a Third World country. "In the northern part of Georgia, children are starving to death," said Fonda. "People live in tar-paper shacks with no indoor plumbing, and so forth." She later said she was sorry for these remarks, but I wouldn't advise her to go rafting with Burt Reynolds anytime soon.

? Also in Georgia, a state lawmaker has proposed a measure to deal with the mounting problem of supermarket bag boys who lick their fingers to separate bags. The bill would force stores to place "a device designed to wet the fingers" wherever groceries are bagged.

? Waukesha, Wisconsin, native Brenda Duncan was mad at the anti-abortion activists constantly protesting outside the home she shares with her physician husband. So she mooned them. Now she may face charges of disorderly conduct and lewd conduct.

? Copperhill, Tennessee, may get a chance to find out if no government is the best government. The mayor, the vice mayor, the police chief and two of his three officers, and the former city recorder in this town of 500 were all arrested on various corruption charges. Among other things, the defendants are accused of fixing speeding tickets and harassing a pool-hall operator. The mayor got in trouble for allegedly giving her husband's firm a wastewater treatment contract without soliciting other bids.

? Classmates didn't believe Chris Postalwait when the junior high school student told them that railroad spikes were more than two feet long. So he brought one to school one day to show them. But officials in the Charleston, West Virginia, school found the piece of metal in his locker, and they suspended him for possession of a deadly weapon.

? A reception for the prime minister of Turkey was held in a dining room of Washington's Willard International Hotel. Secret Service agents were there to guard the assembled dignitaries. In an adjoining room diners were watching a dinner theater murder mystery. No one had told the Secret Service. So when a gun was fired in the play, agents stormed into the room, grabbed actress Barbara Fox, and shouted, "Drop that gun, ma'am!"

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