News of the Weird

  • Article by: CHUCK SHEPHERD
  • Updated: November 14, 2007 - 3:14 PM

Terrye Cheathem, a criminal defense lawyer and adviser to the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, has developed a line of greeting cards for a Hallmark-ignored demographic: the recently incarcerated. Among her selections are cards reading "Sorry to hear about your arrest," and "Honestly, I never knew anyone who was arrested before," and, simply, "Not You!" A remorseful correspondent could choose: "I know that I have not visited you. But I still care about you ... When are you getting out, anyway?"

Terrye Cheathem, a criminal defense lawyer and adviser to the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, has developed a line of greeting cards for a Hallmark-ignored demographic: the recently incarcerated. Among her selections are cards reading "Sorry to hear about your arrest," and "Honestly, I never knew anyone who was arrested before," and, simply, "Not You!" A remorseful correspondent could choose: "I know that I have not visited you. But I still care about you ... When are you getting out, anyway?"

Card sales are slow, according to an October Los Angeles Times story, and Cheathem acknowledges that people might prefer to ignore their connections to criminals.

Government in action!

• Three aldermen in Dover, N.J., seem exceptionally apprehensive that the town's gumball machines are easy targets for terrorists to poison their community and have been studying the issue zealously since April. The aldermen have checked all 800 gumball machines in the town of 18,000, gotten rid of the 100 that were unlicensed and will report to the mayor by Jan. 1 on the town's vulnerability. (The mayor has been mildly supportive of the project, as contrasted with the police chief, who said, "You'd probably win the lottery first" before being victimized by terrorists' gumballs.)

• Silliness: The New York City Department of Education is currently paying 757 employees their full salaries while they sit idle in nine "reassignment rooms" each day, awaiting hearings on alleged wrongdoing. Union contracts require the payments until final adjudication, yet the department fears that having the accused in the workplace would jeopardize students and the school system (according to a September New York Post report).

Great art!

• Australian performance artist Stelios Arcadious, 61, showed off the laboratory-grown ear that he had implanted in his arm in 2006 and that now fully resembles his other two ears, according to an October report in London's Daily Mail, reviewing his latest show at Britain's Newcastle Centre for Life. The next step, he said, is to implant a tiny microphone, connected to a Bluetooth transmitter, so that his audiences can hear what his third ear "hears."

• MIT sophomore Star Simpson, 19, was arrested at Logan International Airport in Boston in September when she walked by a security checkpoint wearing her own fashion creation of a hooded sweatshirt with a wired circuit board sewn onto the front, thus evoking the image of a suicide bomber. She compounded the problem by being uncommunicative, but shortly after her arrest, authorities determined that she is simply a bright but eccentric student who designs quixotic gadgets.

Police blotter

• Donald Turk, 48, and two associates were charged in Lake Elsinore, Calif., in September with kidnapping Turk's girlfriend, whom Turk was trying to push out of his life because she annoyed him. His plan, allegedly, was to take her to Mexico, drop her off, and hope that she would not return home. However, she was back several hours later, demanding that Turk pay off the cabdriver who had driven her from the border. Arrested with Turk was a 47-year-old pal nicknamed "No Nose" because he has a hole in the middle of his face as the result of a gunshot. Said police detective Joe Greco, "This case is like something out of a Quentin Tarantino movie."

Least competent criminals

Police in Pittsburgh arrested a man in October for, they said, trying to get change at a Giant Eagle store for the bogus $1 million bill he was carrying (with a likeness of Grover Cleveland) and getting rowdy in the cashier's office when he was turned down. Also, in October, six men went on trial in England's Southwark Crown Court, charged with trying to get the Bank of England to exchange a large number of bills in the denominations of 1,000 pounds (currency that was discontinued in 1963) and 500,000 pounds (which never existed). One British pound was worth about $1.90 at the time.

Chutzpah!

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