Freak show banned from AIDS benefit

Don't call them "disabled" or you'll get a human-lobster-claw sandwich
Javier Garza

Danny the Half-boy, Little Miss Firefly, Jackie the Human Tripod, and Flipperboy are pissed off.

Their performing troupe, 999 EYES Carnival of the Damned—an Austin, Texas-based self-described "freak show"—was set to perform at an AIDS benefit on June 14 at the History Theatre in downtown St. Paul.

But before the agreement was finalized, the event's main organizer, Because We Care, changed its mind. Apparently, the freaks weren't P.C. enough.

"The bio descriptions and terminology of their performances on the website contained a lot of old-fashioned, carnie/sideshow language that was very offensive to people with disabilities," says Steven Katz, director of Because We Care.

So the "freaks" launched an offensive on their MySpace page, accusing the organization of discrimination. Earlier this month, Because We Care re-extended their offer to 999 EYES. The traveling carnival declined.

"The whole thing came as a blow," says Lobster Girl, a performer with a claw-like hand. "We found it insulting. We're proud of our physical anomalies. We find the word 'disabled' to be offensive." —Matt Snyders

An incentive plan with teeth

Minnesota kids are raking in the big dough just for growing up.

Despite the very real fears of a national recession, gap-mouthed youngsters are earning 44 percent more from the tooth fairy this year compared to last—and it's not because they're losing more teeth.

This year Minnesota children receive an average of $2.10 per tooth, one cent higher than the national average. Last year, the average going rate for a tooth in Minnesota was $1.46.

"Fives have become the new ones," says Heather Hofmeister, a spokeswoman for Delta Dental, a Minnesota-based dental services and insurance company that polled thousands of clients for the study.

One lucky kiddo even made $50 off the dental deal, Hofmeister added. Bring on the pliers. —Beth Walton

Courtesy flush

There is a lesson for aspiring bandits in David Lee Barnes's alleged holiday crime spree: Courtesy pays.

When Barnes robbed a TCF bank inside a Cub Foods in December, his pitch was formal enough. Sure, there was the textbook "If you value your life, hurry up!" but the heart of the pitch (with gun drawn) was, "I'd like to make a withdrawal." He walked out with more than $4,000.

The meaner he got, the less money he got away with. At another Cub TCF he used "Give me all your $100s!" He got about $1,500.

By early January, he'd switched to "Only $50s and $100s, bitch!" He got just one of each and fled on foot.

Barnes only made headlines after he stabbed two Wal-Mart guards in a botched shoplifting spree. In his getaway car were two bouquets of fresh flowers. —Jeff Severns Guntzel

I heart kittens

Think that cats are only good for barfing on the carpet, whining incessantly for wet food, and forcing you to scoop up poo? According to a newly released University of Minnesota study, you're wrong. Dead wrong.

Tracking 4,435 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study from the late 1970s, U of M researchers found that cat owners are less likely to die of strokes and heart attacks, the latter by 30 percent.

A separate report, released 10 minutes later by the American Kennel Club, revealed that cat owners were 97 percent more likely to have a house that reeks of urine. —Jonathan Kaminsky

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