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Life after death 

England's Mentorn production company announced in September that it was finalizing a deal with Channel 4 TV in London for a series in which a terminally ill man would volunteer for what Mentorn called the "ultimate makeover" Ð the postmortem reconstruction of his body in "plastination," to demonstrate how changes could have improved the quality of his life. Among the possibilities: adding ribs, making knees back-bending, adding a back-up heart and redoing the trachea to better keep food out. The show would be staged by artist Gunter von Hagens, whose "Body Worlds" exhibit consists of vivid dissections and reconstructions of body parts.

Places to park

Police in Irvine, Calif., told the Los Angeles Times in September that, based on a recent crackdown, they were stunned at the high number of abuses of handicapped-parking placards. Among those caught were a teen-age girl who parked at a Weezer concert three months after her grandmother died. With a straight face, she told the policeman that she was her grandmother. "So you're 80 years old?" asked officer Kyle Oldoerp.

Another woman said she thought she had inherited her late husband's parking privileges as part of his estate.

Rich and famous

In New York City this August, businessman Herbert Black sued socialite Denise Rich (ex-wife of the Clinton-pardoned Marc Rich) for nonpayment of fees he said he earned by saving her nearly a million dollars annually as her financial adviser. Alleged savings included were: $125,000 in flowers by having fewer deliveries to her apartment when she wasn't at home; $30,000 by changing the payment plan for her yoga instructions; and $52,000 in "dog maintenance" by giving away her two oldest dogs, which were so feeble that they had to be pushed by sitters around Central Park in an $8,000 baby carriage.

Curbside quacks

Business was booming in August for unlicensed street dentists in Lahore, Pakistan, according to a New York Times reporter, who witnessed several patients' gruesome sidewalk experiences. One-third of Pakistanis earn less in a month than even the lowest-priced licensed-dentist procedure, forcing them to resort to street dentistry. Tools of the trade include ordinary pliers, wire-cutters, metal files, a container of moonshine (to rinse tools off) needle-point probes (to inflict a distracting pain elsewhere in the mouth), and a red plastic sheet (so the blood won't stand out so much).

No bones about it

According to the Beijing Morning Post, the government in Chengdu, China, shut down a food-processing plant in August after discovering that workers routinely pulled the bones out of chicken feet with their teeth. Workers first boiled the feet in water, then made three slits in the foot with a knife, pried open the skin with their fingers, and removed the bones with their teeth. The fastest workers could go through a foot every five seconds.

Facing the music

In Meriden, Conn., in August, music store owner Jeff Caillouette, 35, was charged with sexual assault for allegedly forcing a then 15-year-old employee to let Caillouette spank him, supposedly as punishment for various workplace mistakes. At one point, when the kid caught Caillouette in a lie, he requested and received permission to spank the boss, which he did at first while the boss was clothed but later on his bare buttocks. During the time of the alleged assaults, Caillouette was the band director at a local high school.

Lone rangers

In August, the historic Shugborough Home (Staffordshire, England) announced a job opening for a hermit to live temporarily in a cave on the grounds (running water not available) and scare away trespassers. An administrator was said to be astonished at the large number of applications.

Also in August, the Landmark Trust, which manages the remote Lundy Island off the southwest coast of England, announced a job opening for a shepherd for the island's 600 sheep and various rare wildlife; the island has no nighttime electricity.

Mommie dumbest

Darcy Ornelas, 31, of Albuquerque, was arrested in July after a car crash that killed her 4-year-old son. According to police, Ornelas had several drinks at a party but refused advice not to drive home. She fastened her own seat belt but not her son's, and then, in her Nissan 300 ZX, became involved in a dangerous road race to prevent a Mustang from passing her. After the fatal crash into a utility pole, Ornelas implied (according to police) that she had been concerned about being upstaged by another sports car.

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