An Inclusive Litany


The Alhambra, California, city council enacted a rule that 50 percent of each front yard in the city must consist of live vegetation. Many homeowners were thus caught in a strange position: water authorities prohibited them from watering their front yards, and zoning authorities fined them if their grass died.

The city of Pasadena, California, proposed banning residents from having weeds in their yards.

The city of Herndon, Virginia, requires developers to post a bond with a government planning agency to be forfeited if the shrubs or trees a developer plants die within two years.


In San Francisco, a youth who admitted beating up a homosexual man called a gay-crisis hot line hours later and asked whether there was any chance he had contracted AIDS in the attack.

From an article by Luella Adams, who teaches an adult education course in "Finding an Apartment," in the Village Voice, July 21, 1987:
It is February, 1978, and I've been in New York for two months when I take over the apartment from Sarah, who has been subletting from Graham, an actor away on location in L.A. It is one room, five flights up, and the rent is $212, which I am told is a steal. Since in L.A. I was paying $165 to share a four bedroom house with a view of the beach and a bathroom three times as big as the new apartment's kitchen, it does not seem like a steal to me... Graham will be back in six weeks, but... I have nowhere [else] to go.

After two months, Graham calls from California to say I might as well stay on. After seven months, the landlord grows restive, but that is all right, because Graham, who is back in New York, has decided to move in with his girlfriend Annie. I sign a lease...

When summer comes, I am unemployed and want to go west. I sublet the apartment to April, a 19-year-old from Queens, who cuts my hair. The summer goes well for me, but not for my neighbor, Jack, an unemployed actor who has sublet his apartment to spend the summer with his family in Hawaii. When he comes back, his tenant has changed the locks on his door...

By next summer, I have bought a new bed and... sublet the apartment to Nikki, an editor, who is divorcing her husband, and go to L.A., where I sublet an apartment from Ginger [and] fall in love with Dan...

I decide to move to L.A. to be with Dan. The rent on the apartment is now $326.72, which is such a steal I can't even think of giving it up. Instead, I... sublet to Karen, a copywriter, who is being evicted from a downtown sublet...

In the fall, I spend a month in the apartment. I sign a new two-year lease, then sublet to Jeffrey, a writer who lives in New Jersey and needs a pied-a-terre. Jeffrey stays four months [and] bounces three checks... He is followed by Leann, a filmmaker, who comes via Pat, a childhood friend who now lives in New York, moving from sublet to sublet. She stays a year...

I interview many people to take Leann's place. I choose Jose, a reporter whose girlfriend is kicking him out. Jose stays five months... and leaves... an unpaid phone bill...

At first there is no one to take the apartment, but then Pat, who is a photographer, decided she can no longer live with the lover who has put her up since her last sublease ended... I sign another two-year lease, even though I am still living with Dan in L.A. The apartment floor has begun to warp and slope, the formica in the kitchen is cracked, the stairs outside have not been painted in years. The rent is now $372.45. It is a deal for which one might kill. I spent a month there and remembered how much I love it. The Con Edison bills come addressed to Graham. Letters arrive for Leann, who lives in Brooklyn. Phone calls in Spanish come for Jose... Graham has become a successful actor. Dan wears his shirts.

A panhandler who solicits handouts in a posh area on Manhattan's East Side makes about $450 a day. Other panhandlers include one who asks for $200 for a wine-tasting course, another who stuffs whatever money she is given into her Gucci handbag, and one who returns any offering under $5.

Fifty tax experts, hired by a financial magazine to figure the tax returns of a hypothetical family, all using the same set of earnings and deductions, arrived at 50 different results, some of them almost double the correct amount.

An Indiana woman charged with writing a bad check claimed that her civil rights were violated when police forcibly prevented her from eating the evidence.

The CIA spent $200,000 to commission a sculpture for its headquarters. The sculpture features an encrypted message that can be decoded only by the President, the CIA director, or the sculptor himself.