An Inclusive Litany


The Washington Post, May 12, 1992:
The District [of Columbia] government... has spent 7.9 million of its $92.4 million share of federal highway money this year, one of the lowest spending rates in the nation.

The slow pace has been brought to the attention of Transportation Secretary Andrew Card, who... called Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly to tell her of the problem. He has asked federal highway officials to help the District spend its money faster.

A group of University of Oregon students tore down and defaced a promotional banner for the school's summer session that was displayed at a campus intersection. The banner featured the faces of Plato, Jane Austen, and Michelangelo, and said, "You meet the most interesting people in summer school." Apparently upset that they did not see any non-white role models, the students ripped the banner down, wrote "racism" on it, and painted some of the white faces brown.

Dr. Geraldine Richter was accused of drunk driving after being pulled over by Virginia state police for driving erratically on November 22, 1990. She blamed her driving and a subsequent attack on the trooper—she tried to kick him in the groin—on PMS, saying her hormones were out of whack. A judge dismissed the charges—even though a breath test showed Richter had a blood alcohol level of .13%, well over the legal limit. The records show that after being handcuffed she shouted, "You son of a [expletive]; you [expletive] can't do this to me; I'm a doctor. I hope you [expletive] get shot and come into my hospital so I can refuse to treat you, or if any other trooper gets shot, I will also refuse to treat them." Richter also kicked the Breathalyzer.

Los Angeles attorney Stephen Yagman won a civil rights case against Police Chief Daryl Gates and nine Special Investigations Section officers. The plaintiffs alleged that the officers had used excessive force when they fired 35 times at four robbers on February 12, 1990, killing three. A jury awarded $44,000.

Then Yagman submitted his bill for legal fees, which under federal regulations must be paid by the city. Yagman said he had spent 800 hours on the case with 683 hours' worth of help from three other attorneys. Total bill: $987,684. Yagman charged $350 an hour for his own 800 hours on the case and then doubled the amount due to the "complexity" and the risk of losing the case. If his request is approved by U.S. District Judge J. Spencer Letts, Yagman will receive $560,000.

Gayle Fuchs of Sikeston, Missouri, was found guilty of embezzling more than $168,000 from the bank where she worked. The minimum sentence for this crime is 18 months in prison, according to federal guidelines. However, a reduced sentence can be handed out if the accused was "psychologically diminished" and didn't know right from wrong. Her attorney argued that Fuchs was psychologically diminished while embezzling funds because she was distraught over her inability to conceive a child. In August, the judge sentenced her to four months in prison.


Russian teenager Vitaly Klimakhin, who dropped out of high school to become a writer, finished his first book in 107 days. It consisted of the word "Ford" repeated 400,000 times. "My work is able to provoke a whole range of emotions in people," he said. "Some think it is just stupid. Others take it a bit more seriously." Among those who take it more seriously: The editors of The Guinness Book of World Records, who noted his achievement in penmanship. Elena Borisova, deputy editor of the Russian edition, commented, "Vitaly is a great writer—from a physical point of view, that is."


The Portland Oregonian will no longer refer to the Chemewa Indian School's sports teams—the Braves.

Through 1987, Burlington Northern railroad crews received hazardous-duty pay bonuses for working trains traveling through Montana because, according to the union contract, Montana was still classified as Indian territory.


A Michigan law requiring girls seventeen and younger to obtain parental consent for an abortion contained a provision that also requires schools to tell children as young as sixth graders how to get an abortion without their parents' consent.

Dick Gregory, civil rights activist, humorist, and diet guru, was arrested for shoplifting a $10 jar of bee pollen pills from a health food store.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have found that beef and cheese contain a cancer-fighting compound called conjugated linoleic acid. A quarter pound of ground chuck, for example, contains millions of times more CLA than it has mutagens.

On the other hand, alfalfa sprouts contain a potent natural carcinogen called canavanine. Esquire reports that in a test to determine the effects on monkeys of a diet high in alfalfa sprouts, one-third of the animals developed autoimmune disorders and other significant abnormalities.

From The Conquest of America: The Question of the Other by Tzvetan Todarov:
My subject—the discovery self makes of the other—is so enormous that any general formulation soon ramifies into countless categories and directions. We can discover the other in ourselves, realize we are not a homogenous substance, radically alien to whatever is not is: as Rimbaud said, Je est un autre. But others are also "I"s: subjects just as I am, whom only my point of view—according to which all of them are out there and I alone am in here—separates and authentically distinguishes from myself. I can conceive of these others as an abstraction, as an instance of any individual's psychic configuration, as the Other—other in relation to myself, to me; or else as a specific social group to which we do not belong. This group in turn can be interior to society: women for men, the rich for the poor, the mad for the "normal"; or it can be exterior to society, i.e., another society which will be near or far away, depending on the cases: beings whom everything links to me on the cultural, moral, historical plane; or else unknown qualities, outsiders whose languages and customs I do not understand, so foreign that in extreme instances I am reluctant to admit they belong to the same species as my own. It is this problematics of the exterior and remote other that I have chosen—somewhat arbitrarily and because one cannot speak of everything all at once—in order to open an investigation that can never be closed.

At commencement exercises at the University of Notre Dame, President George Bush was verbally assailed by valedictorian Sarah McGrath, who said Mr. Bush's rhetoric fails to "bespeak the interconnectedness of all peoples."

A freelance editor uncovered 3,700 errors in the history textbooks used in the Texas public schools, for which the state spent $20 million. Among the errors:

  • The Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1963 instead of 1863.
  • The Civil War Battle of Vicksburg took place in Tennessee rather than in Mississippi.
  • President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died in 1944 instead of 1945.
  • Sputnik, the first Soviet space satellite, was a nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile.
  • Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated during the presidency of Richard Nixon, not Lyndon Johnson.
  • General Douglas MacArthur led an anti-communist witch hunt in the 1950s, not Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
  • The United States won the Korean War by "using the bomb."
  • George Bush was elected president in 1989.

A teacher at Boston Latin High School gave seventh-grade students an article saying German composer Ludwig van Beethoven was black. "The physical traits of Ludwig van Beethoven leave little doubt as to his racial identity. He was a black man, with nappy hair, flat nose and thick lips," writes University of Southern Colorado Professor Elmer Wells in a paper titled "Beethoven—His Negroid Characteristics." The mother of one seventh-grade girl says the paper was presented as true. "My daughter came home with the belief that Beethoven is black." But music teacher Roseanne Fernandes said she presented the paper as just "another perspective" even though she said she considered it to be true. She claimed the paper helped students learn to question all their assumptions.

The same question sparked an enormous controversy at Stanford University in 1988. At the university's Ujamaa ("cooperative living") theme dormitory, a black student, B.J. Kerr, was having a discussion primarily with two white students, Gus Heldt and Ben Dugan, about black influence on music. Kerr concluded that "all music is black" and that "all music listened to today in America has African origins—beats, drums, and so forth." A white bystander asked, "What about classical music? Beethoven?" Kerr replied that Beethoven had been black—he had read so in a book in the Ujamaa library. Heldt and Dugan were incredulous, leading Kerr to express disappointment that the idea that Beethoven had been black "was so far from their own truth."

The following evening, Heldt and Dugan noticed a Stanford Symphony recruiting poster that featured a picture of Beethoven, representing him in the familiar manner as white. Inebriated, the two young men used crayons to color the composer's face brown and apply stereotypical features such as kinky hair and big lips. They then posted the now-satirical flyer on a "food for thought" bulletin board next to Kerr's door.

Kerr was incensed: "I couldn't believe anybody would do that. You see things like that in the movies or on TV. It's the kind of thing someone would do in their room and joke about but it didn't seem like anyone would be bold enough to put it on a door." One of Ujamaa's black residential assistants added that the flyer was "hateful, shocking. I was outraged and sickened." Heldt confessed posting the flyer after an Ujamaa teaching assistant warned him that "people are really angry," "people are really suspicious of you," and there are people planning "to beat the hell out of you."

At an emergency house meeting to grapple with the incident, Heldt tried to explain his motivations: that he was disturbed by the high, counterproductive level of race-consciousness the claim about Beethoven represented, and that the poster was thus attempted as educational, "avant-garde" art. A resident interrupted Heldt's speech: "You arrogant bastard, how dare you come here and not even apologize. I want an apology." Heldt's dismissive reply indicated that he remained unrepentant: "one, two, three, we're sorry."

Some residents then demanded that Heldt and Dugan be removed from the Stanford dorm system, while a dean of student affairs suggested that it might be preferable to keep the pair in the dorms so that they could receive a better multicultural education, a suggestion the victimized Kerr labeled as silly. Kerr became so worked up over the incident, in fact, that in the course of his emotional speech he started to gesticulate wildly, lunged violently at the two, and then collapsed on the floor. According to the residence staff, Kerr "was groaning and flailing his arms"; it "seemed as if B.J. had lost his mind"; he was "not in control of his actions" and was carried out of the room "crying, screaming, and having a fit." The university's final report on the incident described the ensuing mayhem:

As many as sixty students were crying with various degrees of hysteria. At least one student hyperventilated and had to be assisted in breathing. According to R/F Brooks there was "utter chaos." People were "crying, screaming," "hysterical" and "distraught." R/F Weiss said that there was "mass chaos," "people were holding hands and crying, tears were running down," the "staff was running around trying to collect people." She compared the scene to the mass hysteria that occurred when the [space] shuttle exploded or the U.S. exhibition air show in Germany where a group of planes simultaneously crashed. R/F Brooks told the staff "to make sure no one was alone." R/A Johnson reported that "one woman was jumping up and down saying this is not fair." She "herded" crying persons into her room which was a "wreck," "bodies everywhere."
Stanford punished Heldt and Dugan for the distasteful flyer by removing them from university housing for the remainder of the year.

[Ed.: The rumor that Beethoven was black probably originated from scholarly debate that occurred at the time of Adolf Hitler's ascendency, when elaborate racial theories held many German academics in thrall. Contrary to the assertion that all great Germans had certain features thought of as 'Aryan' (that is blond, blue-eyed, and with straight hair), skeptics argued that Beethoven—certainly one of Germany's greatest artistic geniuses—had curly, dark hair and also a somewhat dark complexion. In fact, his friends nicknamed him 'the Moor.']

Six years ago, Girardeau A. Spann, a black law professor at Georgetown University who was on the lookout for a house to buy, decided that an Arlington, Virginia, real estate developer was violating fair housing laws, so he decided to sue.

A federal jury agreed with him and ordered Colonial Village Inc. to pay Spann $200,000—along with another $650,000 to two nonprofit fair housing groups.

Had Spann put in a bid for a house and been turned down on account of his race? No. Had he approached a Colonial Village agent and been told there were no vacancies because of his race? No. He had noticed that the company's ads depicting happy Colonial Village residents used only white models.

"It made me angry and it still makes me angry to this day," Spann told the Washington Post. Since 1986, when the suit was filed, Colonial Village has dutifully used black models in its advertising, and the Post has scrupulously adhered to its own agreement (also prompted by Spann's suit) to require 25 percent of all models used in real estate ads to be black. And Spann still hasn't bought himself a house.

An audit of the federal Job Training Partnership Act revealed that a janitor had spent three months in on-the-job training for a job he had held for 19 years. An oil burner technician spent a year in training even though he had five years' experience. Some car wash attendants have spent 129 days learning their trade.


In March, 1992, meteorologist Dirk De Mure and his colleagues at the Belgian Meteorological Institute published a study asserting that the instruments used to measure ozone have probably mistaken reductions in atmospheric sulfur dioxide for declines in global ozone. The reduction of sulfur dioxide levels occurred as a result of air pollution controls.

In St. Augustine, Florida, after several all-night emergency meetings of local officials pursuing a ban on thong bikinis, the St. John's County Commission passed a law forbidding people from exposing their buttocks. So there is no misunderstanding, the law contains the following definition of "buttocks":
Buttocks: The area at the rear of the human body (sometimes referred to as the gluteus maximus) which lies between two imaginary straight lines running parallel to the ground when a person is standing, the first or top such line being a half-inch below the top of the vertical cleavage of the nates (i.e., the prominence formed by the muscles running from the back of the hip to the back of the leg) and the second or bottom such line being a half-inch above the lowest point of the curvature of the fleshy protuberance (sometimes referred to as the gluteal fold) and between two imaginary straight lines, one on each side of the body (the "outside lines"), which outside lines are perpendicular to the ground and to the horizontal lines described above, and which perpendicular outside lines pass through the outermost point(s) at which each nate meets the outer side of each leg. Notwithstanding the above, buttocks shall not include the leg, the hamstring muscle below the gluteal fold, the tensor fasciae latae muscles, or any of the above described portion of the human body that is between either (i) the left inside perpendicular line and the left outside perpendicular line or (ii) the right inside perpendicular line and the right outside perpendicular line. For the purpose of the previous sentence, the left inside perpendicular line shall be an imaginary straight line on the left side of the anus (i) that is perpendicular to the ground and to the horizontal lines described above and (ii) that is one third of the distance from the anus to the left outside line. (The above description can generally be described as covering one third of the buttocks centered over the cleavage for the length of the cleavage.)

Police charged Sergio Hernandez, 28, with looting during the Los Angeles riots after finding stolen television sets stored in his home. Hernandez was a 1989 state lottery winner who receives $120,000 a year in winnings.

The New York Post, April 7, 1992:
As Bill Clinton's New York campaign wound down to its weary end, the Arkansas governor's grass-roots rhetoric was replaced by some frank talk—delivered by Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank.

At a private party at artist David Fisch's Chambers Street loft attended by many of the city's gay movers and shakers, the congressman likened choosing a Democratic presidential candidate to picking up someone in a gay bar. The party was designed to drum up last minute backing, but not funds, for Clinton.

Sources who attended the soiree say Frank, in a push to sway undecided gay Democrats, said that choosing between Clinton and Jerry Brown was "like being in a bar at 3 a.m." and wanting to pick someone up.

"The place is emptying out. You don't have very good choices but you can make the best choice that you can," partygoers recount Frank saying. He added that choosing Clinton was not like "you're getting betrothed for life" and that "you don't have to like him in the morning."

In Cincinnati, the Army Corps of Engineers plans to institute the Mill Creek Flood Control Project, channelizing a 17.4-mile stream in an effort that will cost at least $340 million and require upkeep costs of $800,000 a year. The original estimate was $32 million.

However, Mill Creek damage payments by the National Flood Insurance Program from 1978 through 1990 came to less than $300,000. In 1959, a storm caused $3 million in damage, much of which was caused by factors unrelated to flood, including landslides and high winds.

When SOS Computers was looted during the Los Angeles riots, neighbors filmed the looters on home video. To the dismay of co-owner Magdelyn Hayes, several of the looters who were filmed turned out to be regular customers, who came, Hayes told the Computer Reseller News, "in Porsches and Mercedes knowing exactly what we had in the store."

In a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece following the riots, Michael Lerner, editor of the liberal Jewish magazine Tikkun, notes that "looting is the dominant way of life in America, and the hypocritical cries of outrage at what happened in Los Angeles were not wrong because the rioters were justified but were wrong because they were classically racist: They selected and condemned one group for behavior of other groups that are not being equally condemned."

So singling out the rioters is a "racist response" prompted by the fact that "most of us know that we are complicit with the culture of looting."

The problem, according to Lerner, is that "we've made our own little compromises, hurt or disadvantaged other groups to get ahead, and turned our backs, closed our ears, averted our eyes to the consequences of social selfishness."


In Garden City, New York, Dr. Michael T. Petrik, a criminal-justice professor who teaches an "alternatives to prison" course at Nassau County Community College, confessed to helping two felons escape from the Mid-Orange Correctional Facility in Warwick, New York.

According to single-parenthood authority C. Pies, a woman's use of a turkey baster to fertilize herself with sperm not only avoids the expense and humiliation of having to deal with the male-dominated medical community, it also serves "as a means of redefining a female cooking tool," changing it from an implement designed to "keep her in the kitchen and pregnant" to one of "woman-controlled conception."

The New York Times, March 26, 1992:
For the first time, Poland is trying to impose a western-style personal income tax... and it is turning to the Internal Revenue Service in Washington for help...

Two veteran American tax experts took time out earlier this month to provide a round of basic training to 25 of their newly appointed counterparts in Poland...

At the training course, Polish tax inspectors marveled at the possibilities for obtaining data in an information-rich environment like America. In Poland, they said, permission to rummage through a taxpayer's personal bank accounts is rarely granted by the Finance Ministry...

Zygmunt Sachnowski, national director of the fiscal police, contends that the recently passed law setting up the personal income tax leans too far in the direction of protecting citizens' rights...

[IRS agent George F.] Blair also noted that in the United States, the authorities had the power to pursue an individual for failing to pay taxes on illegal income. Such powers have not yet been granted to Polish revenue officers.

Maurice Mann, a landlord in New York City, relates the story of one especially difficult "professional tenant" who never paid his rent and repeatedly hauled Mann into housing court for manufactured building code violations. After damaging the apartment in some way, the tenant would call the housing inspectors, who would order Mann into housing court, a special judicial body that routinely rules in favor of tenants. The housing judge would order Mann to make the repair, while exempting the tenant from rent until all the violations were fixed. When Mann sent a repair crew to the apartment, the tenant wouldn't let them in. When the repair crew did manage to gain entry and make the repairs, usually to a broken smoke alarm, doorknob or window latch, the tenant would break them again. Mann thus spent a lot of time in housing court. He finally solved his short-term problem by making videotapes of his workmen doing repairs. "After we're done, we hold up a copy of today's newspaper to show when it was finished. Then we bring the tapes and play them in court."

While defending itself in an employee-discrimination suit, attorneys for the Postal Service, who were located in Philadelphia, had to file documents with the court in Dayton, Ohio. The papers had to get to the courthouse by the next morning, so the attorneys sent them by USPS Express Mail. The documents arrived ten days later.

The Sacramento Bee, November 2, 1991:
An apology to our readers

We made an insensitive error in judgement in Friday's edition, and I want to apologize for it.

On page A1, we ran what was initially seen as a cute, innocent picture of two children dressing up for Halloween. But what was not caught in the editing process was the stereotype enforced in the picture of an African-American child dressed in a maid's uniform putting lipstick on a white child dressed in a party outfit.

The implication of the images in the picture and the words in the headline should have been recognized and they should not have run, even though it is a sad commentary on our society that pictures of children of different ethnic backgrounds at play carry such a bitter memory.

We were wrong, and our sincere apologies are offered to all of you. A very hard lesson in the area of sensitivity has been learned.

Gregory E. Favre, Executive Editor

Rep. Robert Dornan explained that the check he bounced in the House Bank scandal was used to buy stones for his backyard shrine to the Virgin Mary.

The Philadelphia Housing Authority receives subsidies from the federal government to operate housing units, of which 495 no longer exist, having been destroyed—some as far back as 1975. The problem was discovered when HUD auditors visited some of the addresses listed on computer printouts only to find vacant lots.

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst has an underground newspaper. After protesters stormed the Massachusetts Daily Collegian's office, the newspaper decided to publish from a secret location. It may also need to dispense the papers from a secret location. Protesters who were offended by the paper's failure to publish an editorial denouncing the Rodney King verdict removed thousands of copies from distribution points.

But don't jump to conclusions about the protesters' politics the way Editor-in-Chief Marc Elliott did. According to The Boston Globe, he chided them with the comment, "I thought only Nazis burned books." A woman responded: "We didn't burn them. We recycled them."

Following widespread rioting, Los Angeles Times reporters Roxana Kopetman and Greg Krikorian suggested that a check of one victim's political credentials might have prevented his death. "If his killers had known of his anger at the system or that he shared their outrage at the Rodney G. King verdict, maybe, just maybe, Matt Haines of Long Beach might not have been murdered when the rioting in that day turned its streets into battlefields," they wrote. But there was a communication problem. The "white 32-year-old mechanic never had a chance to talk with his murderers. Or to tell them where he was headed—to the home of a black friend who could not start her van."

In a column in the New Republic, senior editor Hendrik Hertzberg compared the Los Angeles riots unfavorably with the rioting in the ghettos 25 years ago. The rioters of the sixties, he suggests, were in a sense political animals, while those of the nineties displayed a crass and unappealing materialism.

Hertzberg, who was a cub reporter for Newsweek in the mid-sixties, recalls that back then, "the range of possibilities, negative and positive, 'revolutionary' and reformist, was seen on all sides as far broader than it is today." The riots of the sixties had, "however fleetingly, some twisted hint of the form of political demonstrations," and so were seen "as being part of the continuum of political action."

The more recent riots, on the other hand, had no such form and were part of no such continuum. "Members of gangs... improvised a role as shock troops, smashing the windows and setting the fires. Normally law-abiding citizens then stepped over the shards to help themselves to the goods... On television it all looked more like Mad Max than the Bastille."

O, for the days when people burned, looted, and murdered for the right reasons!

Some highlights from the papers delivered by graduate students at the annual English department symposium at Rutgers University: "Roland Barthes and the World of the Wrestling Anus"; "Kissing a Negress in the Dark: Lesbian Subjectivity and Colonial Discourse in Woolf's Orlando"; "Of Muscles and Men: The Laboring Body as Self-(Re)Presentation in The Blithedale Romance."

Questioned about the "politically correct" overtone to his paper on wrestling, Yonatan Touval said, "The fact that wrestling is a $1.5 billion industry suggests the subject is not trivial and ridiculous."


At Wellesley College, educational theorist Peggy Macintosh advised administrators and teachers to "de-emphasize discipline and excellence in thinking" because they were 'white male elite concepts." She instead encouraged the teaching of "truisms from the domestics sphere," such as substituting the study of great music and art with the examination of quilts, pots, pans, and shapes of bread.


From a handwritten "Motion for special jury selection" filed in February 1992 by Harry Veltman III, who was tried in U.S. District Court in California for sending "obscene and threatening" letters and photographs to Katarina Witt, the German ice skater. Veltman acted as his own attorney, and his motion was denied:
Comes now the defendant, Harry Veltman III, pro se:

Any typical jury might convict me on all charges out of prejudice because of the bad publicity I have received through television, radio, and newspapers, and/or because of the erotic love letters and photos that I sent.

A jury of nymphomaniacs would not likely be prejudiced against me because of my erotic love letters and photos. Therefore I request a jury of nymphomaniacs, or at least a jury with several nymphomaniacs, including Racquel Darrien, of Hustler's "Call of the Wild" photo spread; Danielle, a Hustler Honey; Stephanie Seymour, the famous Almay supermodel; and Katarina Witt, to whom I mailed the letters and photos.

I further require a jury consisting of 50 percent atheists and agnostics, to avoid domination by religious self-righteous hypocrites, who might convict me blindly on all charges after seeing even one erotic photo or reading one erotic letter.

255,000 constituents in Missouri's sixth Congressional District received mail from Rep. Tom Coleman, only to learn that he didn't bounce any checks in the House Bank scandal.

A Court of Appeals decision in Oregon says that people suspected of engaging in illegal activities can use the darkness of night as a cloak of privacy from police officers. The court threw out evidence obtained by police in Washington County with the use of a night scope, which amplifies background nighttime light, giving the viewer a fuzzy but well-lit view. The court said that the natural cloak of darkness constitutes a reasonable expectation of privacy and that the officers had violated the suspect's Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

According to Spike Lee, the Boston Celtics are more than unpopular with blacks—no "real black people" support them. In April, the filmmaker announced his desire for an Indiana Pacers victory over the Celtics in the NBA playoffs, reports Boston Globe columnist John Robinson. Lee's comments came as he accepted the Museum of Afro American History's National History Maker Award in Boston.

The remarks brought "scattered boos" from the crowd, writes Robinson. Lee, he goes on to say, noted that "the dissent could not have come from 'real black people' on the theory that the Celtics are somehow a racist organization unworthy of black support."

Journalist Andres Oppenheimer relates that during a stay at a Cuban hotel, he called room service for breakfast. A somewhat agitated young man brought up the food an hour later, not a surprising delay by Cuban service standards, and left before Oppenheimer noticed that the tray was missing tableware. Faced with another long wait, Oppenheimer decided to use his toothbrush to stir his coffee and spread butter and jam on his toast. The next day, the man again neglected to supply tableware after bringing breakfast, and this time Oppenheimer jumped up and chased after him when he realized it was missing, but again the man was gone, and again Oppenheimer had to use his toothbrush.

On the third day, Oppenheimer had the man wait while he inspected the tray. Politely confronted with the fact that the tableware was once again missing, the young man grudgingly and apologetically explained the problem. Due to the many shortages that plagued the Cuban economy, it was common for people to steal what they needed from their workplace, including eating utensils. As a result, the hotel management had cracked down and made each waiter responsible for a set of numbered utensils, which they would be required to keep in their lockers when not in use and which would be inspected each Friday. So why then wasn't there tableware available? Because the waiters had not yet arrived at work due to the delays in bus service. He was not a waiter, he explained, but rather a busboy, and could not open the locker and bring Oppenheimer any of the tableware.

At a Cuban restaurant, management dealt with the same problem by chaining the tableware to hooks bolted on the underside of the table. Unfortunately, due to the constant pulling of customers and the hooking and unhooking when the tableware needed to be washed, the fragile chains snapped, and many of them were soon reduced to half their original length, forcing patrons to eat with their heads hovering over their plates. Management replaced this unpopular policy with a less conspicuous one. After taking back the tableware following the meal, the waiter would give the customer a little piece of paper with a number on it—an official certification that the utensils had been returned—which the customer would then be required to surrender to a guard at the door before being allowed to leave.