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"The only barber in town is a man who shaves all and only those men who do not shave themselves."

Paraphrase of a paradox attributed to Bertrand Russell

Without getting too technical, you'll probably agree the above statement is at least confusing: If the barber shaves himself, he can't. If he doesn't, he does.

Such statements can agonize philosophy students, but that mental turmoil is nothing compared to the real-life suffering of bar owner Denise Stinson since she has been forced to turn away customers at her pub in recent weeks ("Raising the bar," cover story).

Stinson bought Tam O'Shanter Pub in January. Filling out forms to transfer the pub's liquor license, she was asked to list criminal convictions or pending charges. She listed a couple traffic offenses.

An FBI background check turned up two theft charges from Stinson's past. She told the city liquor board she didn't think the charges amounted to anything. In fact, they didn't the board's attorney discovered they had been dismissed almost a quarter-century ago.

Yet the board cited those charges in turning down Stinson's application and refusing to reconsider. Members cited her "evasiveness" when she was questioned.

Stinson is clearly no barber, but it is unclear how she could've filled out that form differently, to keep her business from being snipped.

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