Headline writers had a lot of fun with this story. Ruth Shepler was an Iowa barmaid who had a signature bar trick which involved pouring a bottle of beer into a glass while the glass was balanced on her ample "frontage." She could reportedly balance up to four glasses simultaneously.
But when the IRS heard about this, they decided that her trick was really a cabaret show, which meant that she should have been paying cabaret taxes for the previous three years (1952, 1954, and 1955). And they demanded these unpaid taxes, which by their calculations amounted to $44,694.
Shepler hired a lawyer to fight the IRS. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any news reports that tell how her case turned out.
On December 17, 1974, the CIA sent President Ford a top-secret briefing on terrorist activity around the world. The document noted that a bomb had been found at the British consulate in Buenos Aires and that threats had been made to hijack British Airways flights. Even more ominously, it noted that:
A new organization of uncertain makeup, using the name "Group of the Martyr Ebenezer Scrooge," plans to sabotage the annual courier flight of the Government of the North Pole. Prime Minister and Chief Courier S. Claus has been notified and security precautions are being coordinated worldwide by the CCCT Working Group. (CONFIDENTIAL)
This entire report was kept classified until 1999, at which point it was declassified. However, before it was released, a censor blacked out the section pertaining to the Scrooge terrorist group. It was only in 2003 that a non-redacted version of the document was released, in an effort to end the "overclassification" of government documents, and the public became aware of the threat posed by the Martyr Ebenezer Scrooge. [via Unredacted]
No one disputes that the scenic waterfall near the Italian town of Bellano is very loud when its running (see video below). Sometimes the water is diverted to power a hydroelectric plant. But an unusually wet summer has made the falls even louder than normal, causing tensions to flare in the town. Some residents complain they can't easily hear their TVs over the sound. So they've taken their complaints to a regional environmental protection agency, which has now fined the town €650 for noise pollution. [Telegraph]
Canadian tax dollars at work! Back in 1984 (source: Montreal Gazette - Oct 17, 1984), the Canada Council gave the following grants to fund Canadian artists who had "innovative" projects:
• Jim Freedman got $4,885 to write a book on "professional wrestling as it relates to small towns, offering reasons for its decline in popularity."
• Richard Lyle Hills received $3,125 to write "a collection of short stories examining the lives and values of those who work at construction jobs."
• Joanne Claire was granted $8,200 to write "a book which questions the beliefs and assumptions upon which our lives are based."
• Daniel Boudereau and Helene Cosette got $14,700 to develop "a performance integrating movement and color by acrobats inside a multi-chambered cubic structure."
Thirty years later, what became of these projects? The only one I could track down was Jim Freedman's wrestling book, which was published by Crowbar Press in 1988 as Drawing Heat (Amazon link). And it actually sounds like an interesting book.
But all the other projects — nada. Did they actually produce anything with the money given to them?
Marion Barry, the former mayor of Washington DC and now a Councilmember, has reportedly taken a stand against taxing yogurt, saying that a yogurt tax is "crazy," and pointing out that "Yogurt is really more healthy than some other things, as is cottage cheese."
However, there isn't actually a yogurt tax. Barry apparently misheard a reporter who asked him about a so-called "yoga tax," which is a proposed tax on gyms and health clubs.
I grew up in DC when Barry was mayor, so it gave me a warm glow to see that he's still making the news.