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The Laughing Academy
A Life of Noisy Desperation
“Spanish Popeye” 
27th-Sep-2004 12:11 pm
Steeplechase
From a New York Times article on the proliferation of porn shops in Greenwich Village:
The law was supposed to prevent the clustering of such businesses in most residential and commercial areas. But store operators have exploited a loophole in the law permitting businesses with at least 60 percent non-X-rated merchandise to operate outside so-called adult entertainment zones. These stores often put large racks of instructional golf videos and "Ozzie and Harriet" episodes, which stand gathering dust between racks and racks of pornographic movies.

In enforcement lingo, this is known as "sham compliance." Robert Sacklow, the inexhaustible buildings inspector for the Office of Midtown Enforcement, calls the merchandise "Spanish Popeye." The term stems from a sex shop he once inspected in the Bronx that had 12,000 X-rated videos - and a single wall covered with 18,000 copies of Popeye cartoon videos dubbed in Spanish.

And it gets better...
The Bloomberg administration has greatly intensified its enforcement of every imaginable regulation against these stores - health code violations are written for lack of soap in bathrooms - and the Fire Department peppers the stores with tickets for having improper lighting on exit signs. "We want to pull every lever at our disposal," Mr. Sacklow said. [Italics mine—Ed.]

Hey, big boy, want me to pull your lever?
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