An Inclusive Litany

12/28/92

In rent-controlled Santa Monica, California, fistfights have broken out between repairmen trying to fix various building violations and tenants who would prefer to keep the violations unrepaired so they don't have to pay rent, under local laws. "We've had to call the police many times," says Al Markevicins, who manages several hundred apartments in the seaside community.

When the University of Pennsylvania announced mandatory "racism seminars" for students, one member of the University Planning Committee voiced concerns about the coercion involved, expressing "deep regard for the individual and my desire to protect the freedoms of all members of society." A university administrator sent her note back, with the word "individual" circled along with the comment, "This is a RED FLAG phrase today, which is considered by many to be RACIST. Arguments that champion the individual over the group ultimately privileges [sic] the 'individuals' who belong to the largest or dominant group."

The New York Post, October 20, 1992:
And in this fiercely competitive profession, there's some bad-mouthing of rival houses—suggestions that mistresses elsewhere offer sex. Serious dominatrixes maintain that prostitution does not exist in the better houses.

"It would be a big insult to the mistress for a slave [customer] to even ask for sex," says Leslie. The request might make her so mad she'd stop beating him.

At a celebrity pool party held in New York to celebrate the publication of Kelly Klien's coffee-table book, Pools, eco-actor Matthew Modine warned us: "Pools are huge contaminators of the planet... When you put a gallon of chlorine in the swimming pool, it evaporates and destroys the ozone." Asked what his favorite place to swim was, Modine responded, "any ocean that's still alive."

The Seattle Arts Commission paid $10,000 for a portable toilet. Unlike a Port-a-Potty, Sani-Can, Johnny-on-the-Spot, or any toilet seat the Pentagon ever came up with, this one had its insides removed and replaced with a hole in the ground, changing its identity to an objet d'art.

The artist, Buster Simpson, "wanted to address social and ecological concerns through a functional piece of art," explained Doug Lauen, spokesman for the Commission. The artist intends that after the privy's patrons, preferably homeless, have filled the hole, it will be moved from its outdoor location and replaced with a tree, which is said to benefit from the fertilizer. "The finished piece is not nearly so important as the consciousness-raising which comes from challenging people's assumptions about art, their own bodies, and the environment," said Lauen.

Considering that a portable toilet can be purchased for less than $500 and a tree can be planted for $10, the cost for the heightened consciousness comes to $9,490. In fact, had the Arts Commission not agreed to sponsor the project, Simpson says he was prepared to set the privy up as "guerilla art." In other words, at no cost to taxpayers.

12/21/92

Mark A. Peterson of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, thought the woman he had sex in his car with was named "Jennifer." It turns out that "Jennifer" was one of eighteen distinct personalities sharing the body of a former waitress identified in subsequent press accounts only as "Sarah." Another personality, a six-year-old girl named "Emily," happened to be "peeking" as Peterson and "Jennifer" made love. "Emily" told "Sarah," the so-called "host" personality, who became enraged and called the police.

At the ensuing rape trial, several of Sarah's personalities—each of whom were sworn in separately—testified against Peterson, including Emily, who demanded a teddy bear before she would agree to answer prosecutors' questions. Peterson was convicted of second degree assault and sentenced to up to ten years in prison. Sarah, the London Daily Telegraph reported, was so traumatized by the events that she subsequently developed twenty-eight new personalities.

Publisher's Weekly, July 13, 1992:
"I'd say the biggest hope that we have right now is the AIDS epidemic," offers [novelist] William Vollmann, sipping from a glass of dark rum in his living room in a quiet section of Sacramento, California. "Maybe the best thing that could happen would be if it were to wipe out half or two-thirds of the people in the world... In time maybe the world would recover ecologically, too."

In Burlington, Vermont, about 300 people showed up to protest the visit of a Playboy photographer. Many women showed their disapproval of the magazine's portrayal of women as sex objects by baring their breasts.

The Washington Post, October 6, 1992:
"It's my duty as a human being to use every means possible... to stop evil, which is child abuse," [Sinead] O'Connor said in the Vox interview. "The Jews in Germany would not have been exterminated if Hitler had not been abused as a child. Adolf Hitler wasn't a bad person; he was a very [screwed-up] person."

A professor at Washington University at St. Louis teaches a course called "Dyke Philosophy." Instead of seminars, she teaches "ovulars."

To foster AIDS awareness, the state of Connecticut printed 600,000 cocktail napkins with a picture of a condom and various messages: "Please Let This Come Between Us," "You're Putting Me On," "Let the Good Times Unroll," and "Shake, Rattle, and Unroll."

Beth Weinstein of the AIDS division of the state's Department of Health Services commented, "well, this is a way of getting attention, to give people something to talk about."

Among the collateral acquired by the Resolution Trust Corporation from failed banks were: forty thousand dog costumes (for humans to wear), nine thousand "Calypso Cup Holders," a ten-foot wooden giraffe, a nude dance bar, a patent on a process for turning manure into cattle feed, and the town of Bear Island, Minnesota.

From the Summer 1992 Windsong Resource Directory, Boulder, Colorado:
Bernice Hill, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst. Bernice regularly incorporates in the rich symbolic work of Jungian analysis the core breathing and evocative music of holotrophic breathwork developed by Stan and Christina Grof. Her main interest is working with those who are intent on discovering their own "path of the heart," the process of individuation. Member, International Association for Analytical Psychology. Insurance facilitated.

Laura Reine, Spiroenergetics. Inner dimensional experiential methods utilizing the arts to facilitate internal self-direction and expanded awareness. Practical processes for the everyday world. Harness aspects of your polarities into personality alignment for increased creative potential and purposeful productivity. Establish and maintain your own "Circle of Power," and smile your way to meaningful success. Center Star Communications. Private sessions, groups, seminars. $75/hour, sliding scale, group rates.

Steve Rosen, Reiki Master, Herbal Therapy, Toning. Steve offers a unique combination of Reiki, herbs, touch, and chanting to aid in healing emotional and physical challenges. Above all, Steve is an interested, caring listener, willing to dialogue your issues with you. Sliding scale fees range from $50 to $75 per 1.5-hours session.

Karen Smalley, Co-Creative Gardener with Nature Intelligences. Karen has 12 years of experience landscaping and gardening in the Boulder area. Her partnership with Devas and Nature Spirits enables her to take a new practical approach to homes and gardens. Karen specializes in specific energy processes for the land and homes using the Perelandra techniques, and offers consultation in overall land planning, garden design, and all landscape gardening services. She also teaches kinesiology as a tool for communication with Nature, and Flower Essence Therapy.

In Waterbury, Connecticut, Dominic Monte was awarded $594,000 in damages for an accident that occurred when Monte crashed his motorcycle into a parked car while police were pursuing him for speeding. Under Connecticut's policy of "comparative negligence," a plaintiff whose negligence doesn't exceed 50 percent can receive damages. The jury decided that Monte, who was ticketed and admitted to speeding at about 80 m.p.h., was only 50 percent at fault. The jury also decided that the police officer and his "pursuit tactics" earned a 30 percent share, and that his superior officer earned 10 percent for failing to provide his officers with adequate high-speed pursuit training. The remaining 10 percent went to Enrique Navarez, into whose parked car Monte crashed, and who now may be on the hook for $118,800.

The Los Angeles Times business section reported that convicted serial killer Kenneth Bianchi, a.k.a. the "Hillside Strangler," was suing Eclipse Comics of Forestville, California for including him in its latest series of "Serial Killer Trading Cards." Bianchi, serving a life sentence in the state of Washington for murdering two women, wanted $6.75 million in damages, claiming that this use of his name and likeness could create "consumer confusion"; furthermore, Bianchi objected to the unauthorized use of his "product," which consisted of "his name and likeness, and the effort made for years to establish that mark."

12/16/92

The city of Santa Cruz, California, has made it illegal to discriminate against anyone in housing or employment on the basis of obesity, toothlessness, or any "physical characteristic."

The office of the House of Representatives' majority whip spent $3,162 in 1991 on muffins from the Cookie Cafe.

Members of the San Francisco chapter of the Green Party of California defeated a motion to end "male dominance" in party meetings by alternating male and female speakers and cutting off additional male speakers after all the women had finished. Said one Green, "Some women felt that if there were no women left to say anything, maybe there was nothing left to say and men were just making hot air."

Smithsonian Institution Associate Director Robert Sullivan has a mission: to make the Museum of Natural History politically correct. Soon to go, for example, is a popular exhibit of Captain John Smith trading with the Powhatan Indians on the banks of the James River. Why? The Powhatan women are barebreasted, and that's sexist. Another popular exhibit that will get the axe is the leaping Indian tiger. Why? Many men like to have their photos taken with the tiger. That irks Sullivan because it makes the tiger seem like a hunting trophy.

[Ed.: Potential exhibits may receive comments from any of the following groups: the Smithsonian African American Association, the Accessibility Network, the American Indian Council, the Asian Pacific American Heritage Committee, the Gender Issues Action Group, the Women's Council, and the Smithsonian Institution Lesbian and Gay Issues Committee.]

Steve Davis and his father, Jake, who run a landscaping business in Woodbridge in Prince William County, Maryland, hoped to earn some extra money during the holiday season by setting up their Christmas tree lot outside a shopping center and selling a few hundred trees. A county zoning official visited them and said they would have to get the following or face closing: A temporary commercial activity permit ($125); a business license ($10); and a vendor's license for each salesman, requiring criminal background checks, fingerprints, reference checks, and entitling each salesman to a laminated ID card ($20 apiece). Prince William officials said their regulations are necessary to screen out fly-by-night salespeople, who may presumably sell substandard Christmas trees and then skip town.

12/14/92

If you're traveling into Toronto, your flight may be delayed. A herd of deer has taken up residence near the airport, and they often mosey onto the runways, stopping traffic. Environmentalists are fighting efforts to move the herd somewhere else.

In December, 1992, The National Labor Relations Board convicted Electromation, an Elkhart, Indiana, electronics manufacturer, of unfair labor practices for meeting with committees of employees in 1989 to discuss employee grievances. The NLRB ruled that Electromation's Action Committees were illegal in large part because the employees were paid for the time they spent meeting with management representatives, without a union being involved.

The NLRB's decision sent shock waves through the Fortune 500, since most large companies now have joint employer-employee "work-quality circles" that attempt to raise efficiency and productivity. But because the circles are usually run by management instead of by a joint management-union committee, the decision implied that such circles are illegal. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires manufacturing companies to have joint committees of management and employees to deal with safety issues. But the NLRB warned in an April 15, 1993, memo that such committees, dealing directly with employees, may be illegal under federal labor law.

A freelance artist who illustrates children's readers received a set of "multicultural" instructions running to ten pages, single-spaced. In one of the pictures resulting from these instructions, the hero is a Hispanic boy. There are black twins (one girl, one boy), an overweight Oriental boy, a Native American girl, and a Caucasian girl born with a congenital malformation that gave her only three fingers on one hand. The Hispanic boy's parents could not have jobs that would seem stereotypical, so they had to be white-collar workers and eat non-Hispanic food—"spaghetti and meat balls and a salad." The editor even specified to the artist what kind of lettuce should be in the salad: "Make sure it's not iceberg: it should be something nice like endive." There also had to be a picture of a senior citizen—jogging.

After Mike Montagano allowed a church congregation to use his used car dealership for meetings until it could find a proper facility, the Burlington, New Jersey, zoning board informed him that the building was being used illegally and that he faced a $500-a-day fine. According to a state motor vehicle statute, a dealership could not be open on a Sunday, and the board said that even if the dealership was open only to the congregation, it would still be considered to be open for business. Montagano maintains that he deliberately stayed away when the congregation met, going instead to his vacation home to avoid being accused of trying to conduct business.

Edward Espinosa of Fresno, California, burned himself when mashed potatoes fell in his lap as he was playing in a school lunchroom, an injury that required plastic surgery after the burn became infected. The boy's father, William Espinosa, filed a lawsuit against the Fresno Unified School District, claiming that the food the cafeteria served should not have been so hot and that the attendant should have restrained the boy, then in the first grade.

An appellate court has reinstated the case, which was dismissed in a lower court. Robert Rosati, the attorney representing the school district, maintains that the case should be dismissed again. He says that before the incident, the attendant told the boy several times to sit down and eat his lunch. "What was she supposed to do?" he asks. "Do you tie the kid up and spoon-feed him?"

As for the temperature of the food, the state of California requires its schools' hot food to be at least 140 degrees, and the Food and Drug Administration requires that food cooked off the premises and then reheated, as is done in the Fresno schools, be 165 degrees. Accordingly, Rosati feels that there is little the school could have done differently. "Their argument is it is a breach of duty to serve food that is too hot," he says. "The bottom line is ... hot food is supposed to be hot."

"Style Plus" article in the Washington Post, December 14, 1992:
Without running the risk of being considered "touchy-feely," Clinton is known as a hugger of men and women. Simple handshakes aren't enough for this man whose theme song could easily have been borrowed from the cotton industry's "the touch, the feel, the fabric of our lives"... What one does with hands, lips, arms, trunks, and legs carries far more weight that a barrage of insults, eloquent speeches, or sweet poetry whispered in the ear. The problem is that many of us, unlike Clinton, have lost touch with touch.

William Ellen, lifelong conservationist, environmental consultant, and former wetlands regulator for the state of Virginia, will serve a six-month prison term for violating federal wetlands statutes. He was hired by a private landowner to create wetlands—ten duck ponds on Maryland's eastern shore—as the part-time project manager of a proposed hunting preserve and wildlife sanctuary. Ellen consulted frequently with local, state and federal officials, obtaining 38 separate permits for the project. During construction of a management complex on a piece of land previously designated as uplands, an expansion of the technical interpretation of the term "wetlands" caused confusion whether it was legal to have moved two loads of soil onto the land, which was so dry that federal safety regulations required them to hose down the dust while they worked.

John Pozsgai, a refugee of the 1956 Hungarian uprising and self-employed truck mechanic in Pennsylvania, was fined $202,000 and was sentenced to three years' imprisonment and five years' probation for hauling some 7,000 used tires and rusting car parts out of a ditch on some property he had purchased, then filling it over without a federal permit. According to Pozsgai's lawyer, it's "the longest unsuspended jail term in the history of the United States for any environmental crime, including the dumping of extremely hazardous waste and [cases] were people were even injured and killed."

After receiving a small federal grant to build a library in Philomath, Oregon, townspeople contributed the rest of the necessary funds and volunteered to build the library themselves. But the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor ruled that the library project was in violation of the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, which mandates that contractors must pay workers the established prevailing union wage ($20 to $25 an hour) when engaging in any federally subsidized construction costing more than $2,000. So the library will not be built.

12/8/92

The Smith College Office of Student Affairs issued a pamphlet that defines "ableism" as "oppression of the differently abled, by the temporarily abled." The term "differently abled" was "created to underline the concept that differently abled individuals are just that, not less or inferior in any way..." "Ageism," according to the pamphlet, is "[o]ppression of the young and old, by young adults and the middle-aged, in the belief that others are 'incapable' or unable to take care of themselves."

An 18-year-old South Carolina girl ended up playing Santa Claus at a mall because the regular Santa Claus couldn't show up; however, because the kids weren't pleased to find out that Santa Claus was a girl, the mall sent the girl back to being just one of Santa's helpers. The girl, who was paid less as a helper, claimed this was sexual discrimination; "just because I'm female doesn't mean they can keep me from being Santa Claus," she stated.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that a lesbian group named Lesbian Visibility Project was going to local shopping malls to "shop 'til stigmas drop." The group said it wanted to raise people's consciousness about lesbians, and their slogan was "we're here, we're queer, and we're going shopping." The group also liked to sing one verse of "Deck the Halls," just so that they could sing the line "now we don our gay apparel."

12/7/92

Producers of the popular video-verite show "Cops" failed to air footage of a botched crack house raid in Kent, Washington. The police raided the wrong building and the cameras recorded a troop of well-armed police officers kicking down the doors of the Carver home in the middle of the night and wrestling the parents and their four children to the floor. The mother, who was naked, was not allowed to put on any clothes.

A man who was fired for sexually harassing his female co-workers sued his former employer, arguing that his employers "should have realized that his conduct constituted an aberration from his normal behavior and qualified him as a handicapped person."

Dearborn, Michigan police officer Brian Yinger has been suspended for three days without pay and ordered to seek a psychiatric evaluation because he pens the numeral 7 in the European style, with a horizontal slash across the downward stroke.

After Sol Wachtler, Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, was arrested for extortion and threatening to kidnap the fourteen-year-old daughter of his ex-lover, Professor John Money, a prominent sexologist and medical psychologist at Johns Hopkins University, railed against Wachtler's treatment as a criminal. According to Professor Money, Wachtler suffered from "Cherambault-Kandinsky syndrome" at the time of his crimes, an "erotomaniac type delusional disorder" causing its victims to suffer helplessly under "the spell" of lovesickness. Money criticized the FBI's handling of Judge Wachtler, calling their "law-and-order treatment of people with CKS ... the equivalent of making it a crime to have epileptic spells."

AIDS trading cards are now available, featuring photos of AIDS activists, celebrities who had AIDS, and AIDS facts on the back of each card. Each pack comes with a condom as opposed to the traditional bubble gum.

Various school systems on Long Island, New York, have hired private investigators to identify students from New York City who have enrolled illegally in suburban high schools to escape the city's public school system. The investigators stake out houses from cars, specially outfitted vans, even from perches in trees. They patrol borders and hide under cars with video cameras.

While the Congressional Record was first published in 1873 as a daily, written account of the floor debates in the House and Senate, congressmen can now place almost anything in the Record. Furthermore, at the end of each day legislators can "revise and extend" their remarks. The 1991 edition thus ran to 36,500 pages and cost upwards of $25 million to publish and distribute.

As of October, 1992, freshman Florida Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has inserted more than 400 items into the Record at a cost of $405,000 to taxpayers. On February 3, 1992, Ros-Lehtinen accounted for 10 of the 24 "extensions" printed. These included a tribute to a 17-year-old constituent on his becoming the third Eagle Scout in his family, a commemoration of the recently deceased mayor of North Bay Village, Florida, notice that the annual Girl Scout cookie sale had begun in her district, congratulations to Miami's Southwest High School on its addition of sign language to the curriculum, recognition of the new manager at South Florida's Spanish-language Channel 51, a tribute to the Silverado Skies art gallery for their owner's "passion for the Southwest," and a tribute to South Florida's Blockbuster Entertainment Corporation for aspiring to expand their market.

On the same day, her colleagues congratulated Odessa Permian High School in Texas for a state football championship, honored a constituent's 50 years of service at a sand and gravel company in California, and paid tribute to "the guiding force behind WPSX-TV," a public television station in Pennsylvania. Legislators typically send honored constituents a copy of the page on which they were mentioned.

11/30/92

While Los Angeles was ravaged by riots that ultimately left more than 50 people dead, over 2,000 injured, and hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage, Pia Zadora threw what she called a "riot party" on the roof of her Hollywood home.

In October 1990, Miriam Swann was arrested and convicted for negligent homicide and leaving the scene of an accident after her car struck a bicycle cart driven by Mary Ramos, killing her three small children.

Since Swann had minimal insurance and assets, Ramos's lawyer Wayne Kikena relied upon Hawaii's Joint and Several Liability Law, under which a secondary party found to be even 1 percent liable for damages can be forced to pay 100 percent of a judgement.

Going after that 1 percent, Kikena has brought a suit against Winchester Originals, Inc. and Everett Manufacturing Co., manufacturers of the bicycle cart and seat, alleging that they were defective products and that the companies had failed to warn the public of the danger. According to Kikena, the tan-colored seat and the tan and pale yellow cart "blended" into the surroundings, and it was therefore the fault of the manufacturers that Swann failed to see the cart. Kikena argues that the colors should have been bright instead of "earth tones."

Inconveniently for Kikena's case, Swann had earlier testified that she fell asleep at the wheel. Kikena, however, says he believes that more brightly colored bicycle equipment might have kept her awake.

During a speech, Jack Kevorkian, the retired Michigan pathologist known as "Doctor Death" for assisting several people to commit suicide, explained why his patients take their lives in places such as public parks. "I can't do it in my apartment... I'd be thrown out. It's in the lease."

Ostensibly launched as a scientific project to create a complex, self-sustaining ecosystem under a sealed dome in the Arizona desert, Biosphere 2 has received much derision from scientists since it was revealed that supplies were secretly imported and air pumped in after the Biosphereans were "sealed" inside. Commenting on the plummeting levels of oxygen inside the structure, which have caused some Biosphereans to reach for pure oxygen at night, Scott McMullen of Space Biosphere Ventures deflected charges that the experiment failed conceptually and instead reached more sweeping conclusions. McMullen cited a scientist who says that the Earth is losing 13 parts of oxygen per million a year: "It may be that Biosphere 2 is experiencing the same problem as the planet is."

Under California's 8.25 percent snack tax, doughnuts are not counted as a snack, but doughnut holes are subject to the surcharge.

11/24/92

A brief exchange between Bill Moyers and Sarah Lawrence College professor Joseph Campbell on the six-hour-long public broadcasting taffee pull, "The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers":
Campbell: To see through the fragments of time to the full power of original being—that is the function of art.

Moyers: Beauty is an expression of that rapture of being alive.

Campbell: Every moment should be such an experience.

Moyers: And what we are going to become tomorrow is not important as compared to this experience.

Campbell: This is a great moment, Bill.

[Ed.: During a periodic fundraiser in the spring of 1997, one Boston-area PBS station featured an infomercial-style lecture by Dr. Deepak Chopra on the subject of your "Inner Wizard" (i.e., Merlyn). Chopra's lecture was supplemented by dramatic readings of his texts by the actors Martin Sheen and Robert ("Benson") Guillaume, and was attended by a rapt studio audience. At the same time, the other PBS station featured a documentary on Dr. Andrew Weil, an "herbal practitioner." As a result, my own television viewing that day vacillated between "Baywatch" and "American Kickboxer." Typical fundraisers also feature special musical performances by John Tesh, The Moody Blues, Yanni, and Peter, Paul, and Mary.]

A pair of academicians released a report that concluded that "The Cosby Show," in its favorable portrayal of middle-class African-American family life, had desensitized whites to the problems of most blacks. Said one, the show sends "a message that black people can make it if they try." The study was funded by none other than Bill Cosby himself.

As a way of grappling with the deeply ingrained Western ideal of female passivity, "Paula," a member of the Mohawk Nation who serves as an "anti-bias training facilitator," made use of dog and teddy bear surrogate puppets for the far more assertive and unwelcome task of directing foot traffic at the 1992 National Women's Studies Association Conference in Austin, Texas. "Teddy and his friend say it's time to go back inside," one attendee quoted her as saying.

From the African-American Baseline Essays, a set of six essays, published by the Portland school board in 1987, that provide resource materials and references on the contributions of Africans and African-Americans for various school systems nationwide. One of the goals of this essay, by Hunter Havelin Adams, an industrial hygiene technician at the Argonne National Laboratory and high school graduate, is "mastering the basic concepts of mathematics and science." To that elusive end, Adams outlines the astronomical knowledge of the Dogon people of Mali:
They knew the rings of Saturn, and the moons of Jupiter, the spiral structure of the Milky Way, where our star system lies. They claimed that billions of stars spiral in space like the circulation of blood in the human body.... Perhaps the most remarkable facet of their knowledge is their knowing intricate details of the Sirius star system, which presently can only be detected with powerful telescopes. The Dogon knew of the white dwarf companion star of Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. They knew its approximate mass ("it is composed of 'sagala,' an extremely heavy, dense metal such that all the earthly beings combined cannot lift it") its orbital period (50 years) and its axial rotation period (one year). Furthermore, they knew of a third star that orbits Sirius and its planet [sic]. The X-ray telescope aboard the Einstein Orbiting Observatory recently confirmed the existence of the third star. The Dogon with no apparent instrument at their disposal appear to have known these facts for at least 500 years.
Adams offers no evidence for this claim. It should also be noted that Sirius B is rather dim, and cannot be seen with the naked eye. It is easy to miss even with the aid of a telescope.

In the same essay, Adams dwells on misunderstandings that surround Ancient Egyptians' mastery of " 'magic' (psi), precognition, psychokinesics, remote viewing and other undeveloped human capabilities":

[W]e must first know the extremely significant distinction between (non-science) "magic" and (science) psychoenergetics.... Psychoenergetics (also known in the scientific community as parapsychology and psychotronics) is the multidisciplinary study of the interface and interaction of human consciousness with energy and matter.... Psi, as a true scientific discipline, is being seriously investigated at prestigious universities all over the world (e.g., Princeton and Duke). We are concerned here only with psi in Egypt, not "magic" ... its efficacy depended on a precise sequence of actions, performed at specific times and under controlled environmental conditions, facilitated by the "hekau" (the Egyptian term for professional psi engineers).... Today in a similar manner, psi is researched and demonstrated in controlled laboratory and field experiments.
According to the essay, Egyptians diagnosed and treated "transmaterial disturbances" of the primordial life-energy known as "za" with a "therapeutic touch" procedure that is considered controversial and readily dismissed by Western scientists. For this material, Adams cites one of his own lectures.

Adams also notes that Egyptians developed a theory of species evolution at least 2000 years before Charles Darwin, and offers as evidence a quote from "The Book of Knowing and Evolutions (the becomings) of Ra (the creator sun god)":

The words of Neb-er-ter who speaks concerning his coming into existence: "I am he who evolved himself under the form of the god Khepra (scarab beetle), that was evolved at the "first time." I the evolver of evolutions, evolved myself from the primordial matter which I had made ... which has evolved multitudes of evolutions at their "first time."
The essay also claims that ancient Egyptians anticipated many of the philosophical aspects of quantum theory, that they understood the wave/particle nature of light, that they could electroplate gold, that they were able to predict pregnancy by urinating on barley seeds, and that "enclosed with the Great Pyramid are the value of pi, the principle of the golden section, the number of days in the tropical year, the relative diameters of the earth at the equator and the poles, and ratiometric distances of the planets from the sun, the approximate mean length of the earth's orbit around the sun, the 26,000-year cycle of the equinoxes, and the acceleration of gravity." A section on aeronautics claims that Egyptians produced a model of a perfectly aerodynamic glider that was then sequestered for thousands of years in a tomb near Saquara. True enough, since the "model" was a statue of a bird.

[Ed.: Wasn't there supposed to be some sort of prohibition on teaching religion as science in public schools?]

Disagreement over California's policy of trapping and killing foxes in the Ballona Wetlands has been heated. Local environmental groups claim that the swiftly reproducing foxes, which were accidentally introduced into the area by man, are decimating endangered species of birds. Animal-rights activists strongly object to the killing of the foxes, and have been leaving death threats on the answering machines of local environmentalists who support the program.

The most harmful game that children could play is musical chairs, according to Mary Ann Tobert, Ph.D. at Temple University in Philadelphia and director of the Leonard Gordon Institute for Human Development Through Play. Tobert claims the game of musical chairs appeared innocuous but is actually quite harmful to developing children. "Musical chairs is a lousy game," according to Tobert. "In the game the child who is unable to find a chair is out. They're learning that they're losers. They're also learning that if they want to stay in there, they have to knock everyone else out of the way. It's very 'me-centered.' "

11/23/92

Jeantz Martin, Specialist Assistant/Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee), criticizes the following terms when referring to people with disabilities: "Afflicted With—connotes pain and suffering. Most people with disabilities are not in pain, nor do they suffer. Confined to a Wheelchair—A wheelchair doesn't confine; it frees someone. Deaf and Dumb—People who are deaf have healthy vocal cords. If they do not speak, it is because they have never heard the pronunciation of words. Invalid—This word means literally 'not valid.' Everybody is valid."

At the John Jay dorm at Columbia University, Residence Advisers organized a series of group sessions for Alcohol Awareness Week. While the RAs arranged separate groups for blacks, women, gays, and lesbians, white male heterosexuals were not included in the alcoholism counseling.

Like most federal agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency maintains a fleet of cars for official use. And like most agencies, the EPA is partial to luxury cars—Lincoln Town Cars and Crown Victorias, in particular. In fact, the EPA fleet averages only 6.3 miles per gallon, less than 25 percent of federal fuel-efficiency standards.

In an effort to attract tourists, North Korea is offering a honeymoon travel package that includes visits to a maternity hospital and an irrigation dam.

An examination of the Resolution Trust Corporation found expense records such as $3,098 for thirty-six coffee mugs and twelve T-shirts ($64.50 per item) and $1,800 for two breast pumps.

Explaining California's new snack tax, State Board of Equalization chairman Brad Sherman noted: "Our staff has reflected Solomonic wisdom in determining that regular matzo, your full-size bread of affliction as mentioned in the Torah, is not a cracker, which is taxable. However, matzo miniatures have been determined to be crackers since there's no evidence when the people of Israel left the land of Egypt that they were popping bite-size matzos into their mouths."

The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 criminalizes the sale of "Indian" art by non-Indians (Native Americans, that is). Under the law, European-inspired art created by an Indian is considered Indian art, and an impeccably woven Navajo blanket by a non-Indian is not. The law is overseen by the Interior Department's Indian Arts and Crafts Board, and it imposes a fine of $250,000 and five years in prison for first offenders. As a result, art festivals have dropped the word "Indian" from their titles, and Indians whose ancestors were not eager at the turn of the century to register with the Dawes Commission, which signed up Indians as a first step towards land allocation, have had to go to tribal councils seeking certification as "Indians" before selling their wares. Bert Seabourn, a famous painter of Cherokee descent whose work hangs in the Vatican, has been unable to obtain certification from the Cherokee tribe.

Prior to his 1992 presidential run, Pat Buchanan wrote a column in which he considered the possibility of annexing parts of Anglophone Canada. As Buchanan sees it, "There is nothing wrong with Americans dreaming of a nation which, by the year 2000, encompasses the maritime and Western provinces of Canada, the Yukon and Northwest Territories, all the way to the Pole, and contains the world's largest island, Greenland, purchased from Denmark, giving the Republic a land mass rivalling that of the U.S.S.R."

Following a fatal auto accident in which he played no part, Yankel Rosenbaum, a 29-year-old Australian student, was surrounded by a crowd of angry blacks in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. As the crowd chanted "Kill the Jew! Kill the Jew!" Rosenbaum, a Hassid, was stabbed and mortally wounded. A police officer arriving at the scene arrested Lemrick Nelson, Jr. Nelson was brought to the dying Rosenbaum, who identified him as his assailant. The bloody murder weapon was found in Nelson's pocket and he confessed to police that he had indeed committed the crime. Nelson was later acquitted by a jury of six blacks, four Hispanics, and two whites.

The Boston Herald, October 11, 1992:
The night of May 13, 1984, David Freeman, a Duxbury firefighter, crept into the room where his wife was sleeping and beat her so severely with a club that her injuries are lifelong. Concern over Freemen's mental stability prompted the Board of Selectmen to remove him from the job.

Last month, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination—noting Freeman was found innocent of assault by reason of temporary insanity—cited the town for "handicap discrimination." The MCAD restored the 52-year-old Freeman to his job and awarded him $200,000 for back pay and emotional distress plus 12 percent interest.

When the National Cristina Foundation sponsored a "Create a New Word" contest to find "a new word or phrase which focuses on the abilities of people with disabilities," B. Freer Freeman came in first place with "people with differing abilities." Other entries included "differently abled," "handi-capable," and "severely euphemized."

Freeman was awarded a prize of $50,000 for his winning entry, an amount some critics within the disability rights movement said would have been better spent assisting people with differing abilities.

1992 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Rigoberta Menchu, from her autobiography, I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala:
If we couldn't use our escape route or any other of our security measures, we should at least have our weapons ready—the weapons of the people: machetes, stones, hot water, chile, salt. We found a use for all these things. We knew how to throw stones, we knew how to throw salt in someone's face—how to do it effectively... We've often used lime. Lime is very fine and you have to aim it in a certain way for it to go in someone's eyes. We learned to do it through practice; we practiced taking aim and watching where the enemy is. You can blind a policeman by throwing lime in his face. And with stones, for instance, you have to throw it at the enemy's head, at his face. If you throw it at his back, it will be effective but not as much as at other parts of the body.

[Ed.: Note that Menchu did not win the literature prize. In 1998 anthropologist Clifford Stoll found that while there had been much brutal violence in Guatemala, many of Menchu's autobiographical accounts were fabricated to suit the ideology of the revolutionary leftist group she later joined. Her brother Nicolas, whom she described as having died of malnutrition, was actually still alive and running a moderately prosperous homestead in a Guatemalan village. She also fabricated her account of how a second brother was burned alive by army troops as her parents were forced to watch. Scenes of her impoverished family being forced off their land by ruthless oligarchs turned out to have their basis in a simple land dispute that pitted Rigoberta's father against his in-laws. Though described as poor and oppressed, her father actually held title to 6,800 acres of land. And though she describes herself as having been illiterate and monolingual as a child because her father refused to send her to school, she attended two elite Catholic boarding schools, whose nuns say she knew Spanish as well as Mayan.

The Nobel committee said that it would not rescind the prize even though her only credential for winning was her life story, as narrated in her autobiography. Many academics insisted they would continue to include the popular multicultural book in their courses. Marjorie Agosin, head of the Spanish department at Wellesley College, said, "Whether her book is true or not, I don't care." Joanne Rappaport, president of the Society of Latin American Anthropology, told a reporter that questions over the book's authenticity were "an attempt to discredit one of the only spokespersons of Guatemala's indigenous movement." John Peeler, political science professor at Bucknell University, says that "the Latin American tradition of the testimonial has never been bound by the strict rules of veracity that we have taken for granted in autobiography."]

White sociologist Andrew Hacker is the latest expert on black authenticity. Participating in a roundtable discussion reported in Essence, Hacker, the author of Two Nations: Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal, explained that General Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had to act white to succeed in the military. Hacker said, "He put 99 percent of himself, or his black self, on hold, in the back, because he was ambitious, wanted to get ahead, and did."

Daniel Pelletier, employee at the Anheuser-Busch brewery in Merrimack, New Hampshire, injured his back while bowling in a company league in 1988. He missed about nine weeks of work and filed for workman's compensation on the theory that he was "on the job" when the injury occurred. After a successful appeal by Anheuser-Busch, Pelletier's lawyer, Lee Nyquist, argued before the state Supreme Court that because the company sponsored the bowling league by donating $2,000 to its operating costs, "the risk" that led to his client's injury was "created by Anheuser-Busch."

11/2/92

Some of the panels offered at the "1992 English Department Graduate Colloquium: Pedagogy and Values," which was held at the University of Texas:

  • Feminism, Marxism, and Cultural Activism in the University
  • Rethinking Pedagogy in Light of Postmodernism
  • Desire in the Classroom: A Pedagogical Rubric
  • Coming Out Professionally: The Responsibility of Gay and Straight Faculty
  • Gender and Trauma in the Classroom
  • Teaching Writing and the Lesbian Subject
  • Writing, Power, and Homophobia in the Computer-Mediated Classroom
  • Learning Composition and Literature from Women of Color
  • Teaching Reading and Writing as a History of Competition Between Social Discourses
  • The Cultural Trope of Literacy and the Rhetoric of Grammar
  • The Shifting Subject(s) of Literary Study; or, How Do You Spell 'Hegemony'?

In Baltimore, Stephanie Washington-Bey is suing a fast food restaurant for $150,000, claiming that the tea it sold her was a "defective product"—because it was hot. She charges Hardee's with failing to label her cup of tea with a warning that the beverage was scalding hot, and that as a result it burned her lips, causing her to spill it, leaving second-degree burns and permanent scars on her left leg.

Pop singer Sinead O'Connor, while performing a Bob Marley song called "War" on "Saturday Night Live," ripped up a photograph of the pope as a protest against child abuse and in favor of abortion rights, shouting, "You've got to know who the real enemy is. Fight the real enemy!" NBC quickly distanced itself from O'Connor following the incident, saying that her opinions were not those of the network—NBC does not oppose the Pope. What's more, NBC claimed that in rehearsal, O'Connor had only ripped up the photograph of a baby.

Parents of seniors at Washington's Woodrow Wilson High School were informed that seniors at the school would not receive college recommendations from teachers unless their parents write to three city officials (city council member, superintendent, and school board member) protesting the District's low salaries and furlough policy for teachers. To make sure parents complied, teachers required them to send the letters to the teachers along with three addressed and stamped envelopes.

After a law was passed in Florida that required some community colleges to provide free schooling for the homeless, there was an influx of mentally ill enrollees, perhaps attracted by money—up to $4,000 in Pell grants, guaranteed student loans and other financial aid. In one incident, two mentally disturbed students were forced off school grounds by police after they caused a disruption at the student financial aid office. One of them, according to campus security, had a criminal record and lived underneath Interstate 595, while the other had been known to occasionally disrupt his classes with loud, off-key singing. Another man was expelled for exposing himself in the library.

From an interview with Rachel Rosenthal, a Los Angeles performance artist, in the 1991/1992 issue of Mime Journal, published annually by Claremont College, in Claremont, California:
The pieces that I am working on now, after having gone though nuclear power and other things like toxic waste, the animal question, the human brain, are more and more concerned with "the big picture." You have to begin to get a sense of time that goes beyond human time. So I'm working now on a piece that deals with plate tectonics. To me, it's a sexy subject. The piece is called "Pangaean Dreams," Pangaea being the supercontinent that existed 250 million years ago and out of which the continents drifted to form the geography we have today. I performed the first version in Tucson, Arizona, and I was surprised and deeply hurt that a critic who gave me a good review said something like, "Well, it may not seem like a real exciting subject, but the way Rachel plays it, it was." What can be more exciting than plate tectonics?

10/30/92

Merritt Clifton, former editor of the animal-rights magazine The Animal's Agenda, is crusading for cat control. Clifton wants to make it a crime for cat owners to let their pets go outside because "cats have a nasty tendency to kill birds, rabbits, frogs, and other cute creatures. A housecat hunts for fun. It gets all its calories indoors, and then it goes out to devastate whatever there is to devastate."

Feminist students at the University of North Carolina took offense at a sculpture called "The Student Body," by Julia Balk. It consisted of several students walking around campus—a male has his arm around a female, and he is reading a book; she is eating an apple. Students organized a Committee Against Offensive Statues and were able to persuade the chancellor, Paul Hardin, to move the work to an out-of-the-way place where no none would be forced to see it.

The Prostitutes of New York (PONY) became upset that the New York Review of Books referred to prostitutes as "sex workers." PONY spokeswoman Tracy Kwan complained "we who purvey erotic pleasure are increasingly desexualized by politically correct language," and she wanted the Review to refer to them by their proper name, prostitutes.

10/26/92

From "Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference," a paper delivered at Amherst College and anthologized in Paula Rothenberg's Racism and Sexism: An Integrated Study. The author is Audre Lorde, a self-described "forty-nine-year-old Black lesbian feminist socialist mother of two, including one boy, and a member of an interracial couple":
Unacknowledged class differences rob women of each others' energy and creative insight. Recently a women's magazine collective made the decision for one issue to print only prose, saying poetry was a less "rigorous" or "serious" art form. Yet even the form our creativity takes is often a class issue. Of all the art forms, poetry is the most economical. It is the one which is the most secret, which requires the least physical labor, the least material, and the one which can be done between shifts, in the hospital pantry, on the subway, and on scraps of surplus paper. Over the last few years, writing a novel on tight finances, I came to appreciate the enormous differences in the material demands between poetry and prose. As we reclaim our literature, poetry has been the major voice of poor, working class, and Colored [sic] women. A room of one's own may be a necessity for writing prose, but so are reams of paper, a typewriter, and plenty of time. The actual requirements to produce the visual arts also help determine, along class lines, whose art is whose. In this day of inflated prices for material, who are our sculptors, our painters, our photographers? When we speak of a broadly based women's culture, we need to be aware of the effect of class and economic differences on the supplies available for producing art.

Due to a technicality in forfeiture law that allows governments to claim that it is suing the item of property allegedly used in a crime and not the owner of the property, forfeiture cases have come to take on peculiar-sounding titles such as U.S. v. 1960 Bags of Coffee, U.S. v. 9.6 Acres of Land and Lake, and U.S. v. 667 Bottles of Wine.

A review by Malcolm Rutherford in The Financial Times of London, August 12, 1992:
If socialism is dead, can liberalism survive? The piece is called Hush because the question requires a pause for thought and prolonged, quiet discussion. The theater has not approached such a new frontier for a very long time.

Otherwise, the play is set in more conventional Royal Court terms. A 15-year-old girl is being (playfully) buried on a beach. The girl subsequently demands, and gets, sex, from a character called Dogboy. He then practically turns canine and, having killed his dog, kills himself. Another girl, temporarily employed as the house cleaner, wants to go off to Tibet to meet the monks, there not being enough sex on the beach at home.

Do not be put off by such old hat...

A corporate tax newsletter advises that wages and other compensation that were due to deceased employees—which in the past were reported as nonemployee compensation—should now be reported as "prizes and awards." "IRS computers will seek self-employment tax" on any nonemployee compensation, the newsletter explains. So employees will want to list any compensation to dead employees under the category "prizes and awards," although they "will obviously want to enclose a note with the 1099" explaining why the compensation is called a prize.

At Dartmouth College, Robert Walser offers a course called "American Popular Song," which includes reading the scholarly article "Living to Tell: Madonna's Resurrection of the Fleshly." Andrew Ross of Princeton offers "Post-Modernism and Contemporary Culture," which explores "the teenage persona and how it negotiates the question of choice on abortion issues" through Madonna's hit single, "Papa Don't Preach." Ross promises that his students "will talk about Madonna till the cows come home" and "write papers about her at the drop of a hat." And Madonna studies pioneer Camille Paglia offers "Women and Sex Roles" at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, which examines the New York drag-queen origins of the "vogue" dance scene through the example of Madonna. Paglia has more than an academic interest in the pop star. "Madonna, like me, rejects the victim-centered view of the universe."

10/19/92

Q: How many Philadelphia International Airport workers does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Three. A building mechanic to remove the light panel, an electrician to actually change the bulb, and a custodian to sweep up the dust, according to civil-service requirements.

The Dutch municipality of Noordoostpolder will now provide a monthly stipend to a handicapped man for 90-minute sex sessions with a "sexual aide worker."

From the newsletter of Bernard T. Janney Elementary School in Washington D.C., sent to parents at the beginning of the school year:
"Our Early Childhood team will be implementing the planning phase of the Early Childhood Unit grant and will continue to focus on developmentally appropriate practice. Our intermediate team is committed to broadening the concept of developmentally appropriate practice to include programming for these grades."

According to Rutgers University labor studies professor Dorothy Sue Cobble in Dishing It Out: Waitresses and Their Unions in the Twentieth Century, "[i]n the theater of eating out, the waitress plays multiple parts, each reflecting a female role. To fulfill the emotional and fantasy needs of the male customer, she quickly learns all the all-too-common scripts: scolding wife, doting mother, sexy mistress, or sweet, admiring daughter.... Other customers, typically female, demand obsequious and excessive service—to compensate, perhaps, for the status denied them in other encounters. For once, they are not the servers but the ones being served." Customers enter restaurants with the hope of satisfying more than just their appetites, says Cobble. "More than food is being consumed at the restaurant site. And those who serve it are responding to hungers of many kinds. Eating stirs sexual and emotional associations of the most primitive order." Cobble says she formed her views while working as a waitress. She refused to play the role of the obsequious maiden and says she was fired for failing to smile at customers.

10/16/92

An activist minister in San Francisco announced that his church would no longer accept donations of second-hand clothing for the indigent and the homeless. He insisted that they be given brand new clothing.

As part of the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) enacted in 1973, money was used in Florida to hire people to go door-to-door persuading people to apply for food stamps. Maryland CETA workers chauffeured welfare recipients to the welfare office. New York CETA workers ran a phone service to let people know about their unemployment and welfare benefits.

An Albuquerque, New Mexico man sued the city police for not preventing him from driving drunk. The man, who was paralyzed in the accident, broke down in tears while on the witness stand as he described how the doctors broke the news to him that he would never walk again.

The former construction worker said that the police ordered him not to drive, but allowed him and a friend to walk away. By not preventing the man from driving away, the defendant insisted that the police deprived him of the rights guaranteed to him under a state law that allowed police to drive intoxicated people to their homes, a detox facility, or jail.

10/15/92

Lani Picard in Florida's Boca Raton News, July 1, 1992:
Abortion equals a woman's deepest psychic, sacrificial and rebellious act against an ever-evolving, male-dominated environment resulting in a cessation of creation.

Since man began turning his envy of matriarchy toward himself, women, in a subconscious retaliatory act, began using abortion as a weapon in the war of survival against this arrogant behavior. In essence, what women have really been trying to communicate to this overindulgent patriarchical society is: Either get your act together, now, and listen to our message or we will use abortion to eliminate men from the face of the earth, entirely. Abortion is not an issue, it is a most powerful weapon—a last resort; an urgent and humiliating plea for global equality, respect and understanding. No woman intentionally seeks out or enjoys the idea of abortion. Just ask any woman who has had one. It is an eternal agonizing sacrifice!

The Barnard/Columbia Women's Handbook warns that a male faculty member who "shuns female students outside of class... for fear of accusation of sexual harassment"—or fails to make sufficient eye contact with female students—is guilty of a subtle but harmful form of sexism that can seriously "impact our performance in the classroom and our plans for future study."

From the 1991 Annual Report to the President by the Information Security Oversight Office, a division of the General Services Administration:
In fiscal year 1991, government agencies classified as secret a total of 7,107,017 documents. This marks the first time that the total number of reported classification decisions in a year is a palindrome.

Kathleen Baylog of Upland, California, filed a lawsuit against Bill Clinton because the prospect of having a draft-dodger and Communist sympathizer as President was causing her "emotional distress."

10/13/92

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, from More Reflections on the Meaning of Life, by David Friend and the Editors of Life Magazine:
RECIPE FOR LIFE

Ingredients:

  • 1 U.S. military budget (liquefied)
  • 1 pound dreams
  • 1/3 cup chutzpah
  • 3 cups love
  • 2 cups political action
  • 1 pound fun

Directions:

  1. Mix together chutzpah, love, dreams, political action and fun.

  2. Transfer into saucepan and add military budget. Reduce by half over high heat, stirring constantly.

  3. Yields health, education and playgrounds for all the world's kids.

—Ben & Jerry

In mid-1988 Texas officials were unable to carry out the execution of convicted murderer Ramon Montoya because his death warrant failed to arrive before his scheduled execution date. The warrant was mailed more than one month before the date on which Montoya was to die. Officials rescheduled the execution for December 1, 1988, before the bulk of the Christmas mailing rush.

Byrd Laboratories in Austin, Texas, has introduced a new product designed to foil urinalysis attempts. A "handy powdered capsule of 100% pure urine" is available for $19.95, and is guaranteed to beat any urine test—all the customer had to do was "just add water." The company's slogan, by the way, is "Byrd Laboratories, purveyors of fine urine products."

10/12/92

At a computer convention in Chicago, rules required that a union member plug exhibitors' personal computers into the wall. If you thought this was rather silly and plugged it in yourself, you might return to the booth the next morning and find the power cord cut in half.

[Ed.: Note that attempts to monopolize resources other than labor are considered bad.]

A book with a story about cats was rejected by an Illinois school system because in the story the cat popped a balloon. Cat lovers protested that the story would turn children against cats.

Levamisole, a drug that has been used in the past to combat intestinal parasites in farm animals has been approved for human use in combatting colon cancer. Still, to keep a sheep free from worms for a year costs $14.95, but a year's supply for human patients runs about $1,500.

Frank Glickman, who wanted the drug to aid his own recovery, has filed a class-action suit against Johnson & Johnson, the drug's maker. Johnson & Johnson says that the increased price was due to the research and development required to find an effective human use for the drug. However, Dr. Charles Moertel, who directed the effort to win FDA approval for the drug under the assurance from Johnson & Johnson that the drug would be reasonably priced, says the company didn't contribute any funds, and that the $10.6 million was covered by the National Cancer Institute, out of taxpayer's pockets. Furthermore, the veterinary and human versions of Levamisole are "exactly, absolutely identical." Glickman's attorney adds that a price breakdown for the drug by Johnson & Johnson shows that the major element in the price increase was promotion costs. "This for a drug that has no need to be promoted," he says. "It is the standard treatment for colon cancer, and it would be sheer lunacy for someone with the disease not to use it."

The University of Minnesota held a mock trial of Christopher Columbus, with the 12-member jury finding him guilty of slavery, torture, murder, forced labor, kidnapping, violence, and robbery. Jurors, however, could not agree on charges of genocide, rape, and international terrorism. The explorer was sentenced to 350 years of community service; the death penalty was ruled out because "his victims were not a violent people and do not condone death."

Since 1983, Elizabeth Corbett has received monthly Social Security disability checks for blindness. In 1983, 1986, and 1991, however, she passed the vision test when renewing her driver's license. She has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for her fraudulent claim and has been ordered to repay $5,382 in welfare benefits. The most damaging evidence against her was a video of her driving to work. Astonishingly, her attorney said that after a 2 1/2-year investigation, the Social Security Administration has yet to call his client in for an examination and is still paying her.

10/9/92

Bob Damron's Address Book, published for 28 years, is a North American travel guide for gay men that is available in major bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble's Bookstar outlets. It lists gay accommodations and sights of erotic interest in all 50 states, Canada, the Virgin Islands, Costa Rica and Mexico, including not only sex establishments and businesses, but freelance possibilities for sex with strangers. For example, in Decatur, Alabama, "cruisy areas" include:

  • Amtrak & Greyhound Depots (AYOR)
  • Beltline Mall
  • Delano Park nr. Picnic Tables
  • Point Mallard Park—Swimming Hole (Summers)
  • "The Pumps" (AYOR)
    (AYOR = At Your Own Risk)

In introducing the section on Mexico, editor Dan Delbex shared this tip: "Much of Mexico is very poor. Consequently, many boys may be available for the price of a cocktail." The 1992 edition of the book is dedicated to the memory of Delbex, who died of AIDS on October 5, 1991, at the age of 35.

Sinead O'Connor, interviewed in Rolling Stone, complained about how Mike Tyson had been treated in his rape trial. She commented, "poor Mike Tyson—he's only a tiny, little baby, and all these people are trying to f***ing kill him. If he looks for solace in the arms of lots of women, what do you expect him to do?"

Commenting on Desiree Washington, who Tyson was convicted of raping, O'Connor said: "that woman who is suing him is a bitch. I don't care if he raped her; she used him. She's a disgrace to women as far as I'm concerned."

10/6/92

The Washington Post, October 6, 1992:
A janitor working his way up through the bowels of the Capitol inadvertently picked up a box containing 13 original bills and related documents and dumped it in a trash compactor.

10/5/92

Letter to the editor, Minneapolis Star, June 19, 1992:
I would like to know whether cartoonist Garry Trudeau is alive or not. His comic strip, "Doonesbury," was in the middle of a series about Clarence Thomas when Trudeau recently left without warning for an eight-week sabbatical. He had also just finished a damaging series about Dan Quayle's political prisoner.

As the old CIA types in the Bush/Quayle campaign warm up their cloaks and daggers, I find myself concerned with the whereabouts of Trudeau, and this letter is the least I can do to repay his vigilance regarding our all-too-often corrupt government.

—David Snyder, Roseville

The city of Indianapolis spent $242,000 over eight years to repair a $90,000 garbage truck; 166 work orders were issued on it in 1991 alone. Over the last eight months, the truck's odometer indicates it has been driven 15,178 miles, with records showing only 904 miles driven. "Taxpayers could hire limousines to carry away their garbage and it would cost less," said Mayor Stephen Goldsmith.

Warren Graboyes, a former orthodontist in the Philadelphia suburbs, lost his license in 1991 after pleading guilty to fondling a teenage female patient. Unable as a result to practice orthodontics, Graboyes sued his insurance company for $5,000 a month in disability payments. Graboyes argues that he suffers from frotteurism—described in court proceedings as a compulsion to touch the private parts of females.

A New York Times editorial advised warring parties in Yugoslavia to take a lesson from "black Africa ... on the wisdom of respecting the territorial integrity of all states, whatever the mix of peoples.... When it comes to curbing the barbarous excesses of tribalism, black Africa has shown more maturity than otherwise condescending Europeans." Take for example Nigeria in the late 1960s, the editorial says. The African policy of "defending the integrity of existing states ... was tested in 1967-70, when Ibo peoples fought unsuccessfully to form their own state, Biafra."

As a matter of fact, the civil war over Biafra was precipitated by the massacre—by members of the Hausa tribe—of tens of thousands of Ibo; the war itself and ensuing starvation claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

Pat Pratali in the Roanoke Times and World News, August 4, 1992:
It amazed me to discover that Cuba was only minutes from Miami. It amazed me to find no poverty. Education through university is free for all. Medical care is excellent, free and readily accessible to all. In the countryside, there are more health clinics than gas stations per square mile. The infant-mortality rate is lower than ours. The literacy rate is higher.

There are shortages due to the U.S. embargo and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In this "special period," staples are rationed. But everyone has enough to eat, and intensive volunteer production has proved very successful.

There is some unemployment, due to the lack of petroleum, but employees who are laid off are paid 80 percent of their wages. Those who volunteer to work in food production can receive 100 percent of their wages.

Gasoline is rationed, but bicycles have replaced thousands of automobiles. The right-hand lane is reserved for bicyclists, and this form of transportation is clean and safe. It certainly contributes to better air quality in Havana than in most U.S. cities.

9/30/92

In response to Justice Department charges that General Electric defrauded the U.S. of at least $30 million by bribing a general in Israel to help sell jet engines there, the Pentagon barred GE from initiating or renewing engine contracts for five days.

Letter to the editor, Plastics News, June 22, 1992:
I was shocked and appalled that you would give front page coverage (May 11) to the gun-toters of I.M.S. Co., who set themselves up as arbiters of the lives of others. Sure, having one's business burned is horrifying—but executing people on the street is hardly a civilized response.

What did Messrs. Hartman and Barrett plan to do if confronted with the angry mob? Proceed to commit murder? In the name of property rights?

If I.M.S. is so concerned with its (replaceable) inventory, then a more appropriate response would be to install metal storm plates over windows and doors, and put in a sprinkler system. That plus a clay-tile roof would withstand any firebomb attack. They can follow that up with fire insurance.

I would say that executing minority people who vent their frustrations in a riot is part of a fascist mind-set and deeply offensive to the many minority people who work in our industry. We have deep social problems in our country—for I.M.S. to set themselves up as neighborhood executioners is grotesque and only further hurts the work we must do to improve as a nation.

—Jack Van Eck
Repro Plastics, East Haven, Conn.

Customs Service officials in Texas seized a $138,000 Lear jet after discovering that the owner had made a typographical error on paperwork he submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration.

9/28/92

New York Transit Authority officials conceded that they hire convicted criminals, but they prefer to call their ex-convict employees by such politically correct terms as "criminally challenged," "legally impaired," or "people of alternative conviction status."

A study has found that left-handed men live 10 years less than right-handers on average, and the reasons are unclear. But the author of the study, psychologist Stanley Coren, thinks it is because of all the stress of being left-handed in a right-handed world. So he wants us to declare war on (his term) "handism"—to expand civil-rights laws to forbid discrimination against lefties.

In St. Louis, Missouri, the United States Postal Service purchased a building for $12 million from a developer who had bought the building earlier the same day for $4 million.

In Virginia Beach, a jury has ordered a gun shop to pay $100,000 to the family of a teacher killed by a student with a handgun purchased at the store. The boy's uncle had purchased the gun and given it to him as a present.

First, writes New York Post columnist Mike McAlary, "there was Murphy Brown, a fictional character giving birth to a fictional baby. Then there was Dan Quayl(e), a national figure of almost fictional proportion, giving us his dreamy vision of the American family. Then came Bill Clinton, an invention of writers who cannot differentiate fact from fiction, plagerizing [sic] the works of Quayle on family values..."

9/23/92

In Buffalo, New York, a jury decided that Mr. Billie Lawless was not entitled to damages stemming from Mayor James Griffin's decision to dismantle a sculpture placed by Mr. Lawless on an Urban Renewal plot. The sculpture, named "Green Lightning," depicted numerous dancing penises in top hats.

The Council of Better Business Bureaus has asked the FCC to investigate a possible violation of federal regulations prohibiting characters on children's shows from selling products during the show itself. The culprit: "Sesame Street". Seems the show has been running an announcement that it is sponsored by the "Sesame Street Live" stage show. The Council contends that the announcement is nothing more than a plug for the stage show, and since the spot features Grover and Cookie Monster, it violates the ban.

Following the Los Angeles riots, a man wrote the Los Angeles Times and related his encounter with a panhandler wearing and oversized suit and a pair of Reeboks so new the price tags were still on them: "I asked him, 'Did you spend all your money on your new suit and shoes?' With a smile he said, 'No, I'm a looter, and I got this new suit and shoes looting.' I then asked, 'what do you think of the Rodney King situation?' He looked at me questioningly and said, 'I don't follow sports anymore.' "

In the 1990-91 academic year the nondiscrimination policy of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst forbade "discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, sex, age, marital status, national origin, disability or handicap, veteran status, or sexual orientation, which shall not include persons whose sexual orientation includes minor children as the sex object."

To be even more nondiscriminatory for the 1991-92 statement, the last fifteen words were deleted.

Former jockey Willie Shoemaker, paralyzed in a single-car accident he had while driving drunk, has sued the state of California for negligence because there were no rubber guard rails where the crash occurred.

Two New York police officers stopped on the Manhattan Bridge to arrest a man who was throwing Molotov cocktails on homeless people who were living under the bridge. While they were dealing with him, however, another man's car broke down on the bridge. The driver got out of the car and fired four shots through his car's windshield, even as his passenger had his head under the hood in an attempt to fix the car. There were no injuries.

9/21/92

Objecting to a "definitional stretching" of the concept of rape to make it seem a problem "vastly larger than commonly recognized," Dr. Neil Gilbert, a professor of social welfare at the University of California at Berkeley, criticized a widely quoted study—conducted by University of Arizona researcher Dr. Mary P. Koss and published in Ms. magazine—which indicated that more than one in four college women had been victimized by at least one rape or rape attempt. Gilbert compared these findings with a U.S. national crime survey, which put the number somewhere between one in five hundred and one in a thousand. While acknowledging that government rape statistics tend to be notoriously low, Gilbert cited several problems with Koss's methodology:

  • Any woman answering "yes" to Koss's question "Have you ever had sexual intercourse when you didn't want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs?' had been counted as a rape survivor.
  • 73 percent of the women classified as having been raped had initially failed to categorize their experience as such.
  • Roughly 41 percent of the women classified as having been raped subsequently chose to have sex with their rapists again.

While praising activists for the good job they had done in raising consciousness about rape, Gilbert warned that overzealous "definitional stretching" would ultimately serve to trivialize public perceptions of the true seriousness of the crime.

Despite these disclaimers, Sheila Kuehl, director of the California Women's Law Center, said that she found herself "wishing that Gilbert himself might be raped and ... be told, to his face, it had never happened." Anonymously penned placards reading "Kill Neil Gilbert" appeared throughout the campus, and demonstrators from SOAR (Students Organized Against Rape) gathered in Berkeley's Sproul Square to light candles for rape survivors while rhythmically chanting the suggestion that Gilbert should "cut it out or cut it off."

[Ed.: Koss notes that a frequent obstacle rape researchers often encounter is victims' stubborn insistence on "trying to pass as nonvictimized." "Research designs that depend for participation on a subject's self-identification as a victim," she writes, fail to take into account "the many women who have sustained harm but may not see the injury as unfair."]