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Lead Story

To inaugurate the new Brooklyn branch of the Manhattan gallery LMAKprojects, in January and February artist Emily Katrencik ate through the wall separating the exhibition space from the gallery director's bedroom. She consumed roughly 8.5 cubic inches of drywall a day, five days a week, in gnawing sessions that lasted about a half hour. Katrencik told the New York Times that she was eating plenty of vegetables to counteract the plaster's binding effect and tried to think about "the things in the wall that are good for me, like calcium and iron."

Can't Possibly Be True

Shortly after the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl in February, Louisiana State University professor Leigh Clemons went to the NFL's official merchandise site,, and tried to order a jersey personalized with the name of a former student of hers, Patriots cornerback Randall Gay. But when she entered "Gay" in the "Name" field, an error message appeared reading "This field should not contain a naughty word." Stunned, Clemons called NFLshop and argued with a series of employees until she was permitted to order a "Gay" jersey as a one-time exception to policy. Gay sports site soon picked up the story and ran the entire list of more than 1,100 words and phrases the NFL considered too naughty to put on jerseys; in March the league removed "Gay" from the list (and rewrote the error message). (Still inexplicably forbidden: "Kumquat.")

Smooth Reactions

New Hampshire state representative Christopher Doyle, 26, was arrested on felony assault charges in the town of Windham in March; on election night Doyle allegedly knocked 61-year-old checklist supervisor Gail Webster to the floor after learning he'd lost his race for town selectman. And Shirley Martin, a trustee of the school board in Orange, Texas, was convicted in February of disorderly conduct and assault by threat. After she was prevented from addressing the board at a November meeting, a furious Martin told fellow trustee Beth Wheeler, "I'm going to stomp a mud hole in your ass."

Chutzpah! Update

News of the Weird reported on Tennessee state senator John Ford last June after he fought a hike in his court-ordered child support by challenging the constitutionality of child-support laws he himself had sponsored. In January Ford--chair of the state senate committee on child welfare--continued his battle, now arguing that since he lives part-time with his ex-wife and their three children and the rest of the time with his girlfriend and their two children (neither home is in his senate district) and he covers nearly all expenses for both families, he shouldn't have to pay increased support to a third woman, the mother of his ten-year-old daughter.

Great Art!

The source of all those rec-room prints of dogs playing poker is a series of nine originals painted by illustrator Cassius Marcellus Coolidge while under contract to a Minnesota advertising company in 1903. Two of them were sold at the Doyle New York auction house in February; preauction estimates had them bringing a combined $50,000 at most, but the pair went to an unnamed private collector for $590,400.

Intro to Irony

Last July Sally Hampton, 64, tried to get a fellow patron of a bar in Immokalee, Florida, to leave at closing time; in response the man poured his beer on her, hit her with the bottle, kicked her in the head and torso, then fled. When doctors examined her after the attack, they discovered a potentially lethal brain tumor. In February Hampton, fully recovered from surgery, testified against her attacker, helping send him to a 122-year sentence.

Labor-Intensive Crime

Management at the Globe Hotel in Topsham, England, reported in February that a pair of guests had apparently dismantled and removed the shower unit from their room. Also in February Arild and Brit Nicolaysen of Norway told the press they'd recently arrived at their mountain cabin for the first time since November to find that their 16-foot-diameter inground swimming pool had been stolen: steel lining, plastic liner, filter, hoses, and pipes were all gone. And in March police in Lindale, Texas, arrested two men who they said had disassembled a three-bedroom brick house on the town's main street--in broad daylight over a three-month period--and exchanged the materials for cash and drugs.

Least Competent Criminals

Canadian native Frederick Gilliland, living on the lam in British Columbia since his 2001 indictment in Florida for securities fraud, was lured into crossing the border in March by the prospect of a free meal. A Vancouver private investigator (who the Vancouver Sun reported had been one of Gilliland's alleged victims) got the fugitive to accept an offer of lunch at a restaurant in Point Roberts, Washington, and authorities intercepted their car as they drove into town.

Below the Fold

One relatively underreported aspect of the Robert Blake trial was the defense's effort to discredit prosecution witness Ronald "Duffy" Hambleton, a 65-year-old stuntman who testified in February that Blake had tried to hire him and a colleague to kill Blake's wife in 2001. Hambleton said he'd been off drugs since 1999, but a rebuttal witness testified she'd seen him using methamphetamine since then, and that he had a delusional fear of "tree people"--"people dressed like sagebrush or Joshua trees that were sneaking up on his house." The defense also called a UCLA psychopharmacologist to describe the long-lasting hallucinatory effects of certain drugs; he told the jury that during his own drug experimentation he had once climbed into a cage of monkeys to teach them how to smoke crack.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.


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