* WINNERS: Foreign collectors of classic old cars. Desperate for hard cash, Cuba's Fidel Castro has opened a used car lot in Havana. True. Since the country has so many old autos that are now considered classics - dating to the 1950s, the 1940s, and even the 1930s - the government is buying them up and selling them to foreign collectors. But American buyers are not able to participate because of the 30-year embargo against trade with Cuba. At last, Fidel seems to have found his proper occupation.
LOSER: The U.S. treasury. Congressional auditors say there are some 40,000 Americans with a median income of $143,000 a year who are not filing tax returns. Unfortunately, the Internal Revenue Service does a better job of catching people who underpay their taxes than those who don't file. And it does a better job of catching small-fry non-filers than it does those with incomes over $100,000. This seems to confirm a widely held suspicion that the IRS is harder on the little guy.* WINNER: The Westin William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh. In celebration of its 75th anniversary, the hostelry is offering amnesty to anyone who ever walked away with towels, ashtray souvenirs or any other hotel property. In fact, the hotel wants to borrow some of the items back for a weeklong historic display. Over the years, linens, lamps, coffee pots and other small items have vanished. A marble-topped French dresser even disappeared from the lobby in broad daylight six years ago. The William Penn will even give prizes for the top three items brought in. That last move is questionable since it might make it appear that crime pays or encourage thievery from other hotels.
LOSER: A topless sunbather. A woman who removed her bathing suit top at a secluded beach in Virginia's Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge was arrested by Fish and Wildlife officers. An appeals court upheld the ordinance on which the arrest was based. Clearly, some kinds of wild life are not suitable for a wildlife refuge.
* WINNERS: British citizens with red noses. Charity fund raisers asked millions of Britons to wear red plastic noses as part of a fun-centered campaign to raise $48 million for causes in Africa and at home. Bigger noses were attached to the front of autos and even Westminster Abbey sported a six-foot red nose on one of its towers. Who said that raising money for charity has to be grim and purposeful? Apparently, people part with their money more easily when they are laughing.
LOSER: An applicant for the Ohio Highway Patrol. The applicant, a 20-year-old woman, wanted to be honest during her interview. So when she was asked if she had ever committed any indiscretion that could affect her as a trooper, she answered yes, explaining that her husband had stolen a car from a dealership last June. After the interview, her husband arrived in the stolen car to pick up his wife. Both were arrested and charged with auto theft. And she was such an honest applicant, too.
BEST FISH STORY: Four Long Island, N.Y., fisherman caught a 3,500-pounder the other day. The fishermen were pulling up their nets with an obviously heavy catch. It turned out to be a different kind of "fish" - a torpedo fired during the 1940s. Navy crews called to the scene discovered that the 1,600-pound warhead was live. The best way to dispose of it in the rough seas was to sink the 75-foot fishing boat with the torpedo aboard. These fishermen have the world's best fish story about "the one that got away" - with their boat.