At Ground Zero, Police Crack
Down on Sidewalk Sales Stands
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is cracking down on sidewalk peddlers of photographs, paintings and mementos of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
For three years, dozens of peddlers gathered on the edge of the "illegal zone," a sidewalk perimeter around the Ground Zero site where selling merchandise is prohibited. Last week, Port Authority police descended on a van and confiscated dozens of boxes of photos of the attacks and sidewalk memorials.
"It's really considered sacred ground over there," said Lou Martinez, a Port Authority spokesman. "Then you have these people hawking this insensitive merchandise."
-- Michelle Garcia
Case of Bad Taste Demonstrated
At Colorado Off-Campus Bar
In this day and age, no one at a big state school such as Colorado State University was likely to be shocked by the idea of a Jell-O wrestling party, or even the promise of free shots of alcohol for the first 100 women to arrive.
Instead, it was the fine print on the fliers for the "Wrestle-O" event at an off-campus bar that stopped them: Proceeds to benefit the SAM Spady Foundation.
Samantha Spady was a sophomore who died of acute alcohol poisoning at a fraternity house in September.
Her parents, who started the foundation to combat binge drinking (SAM represents her nickname and "student alcohol management"), denounced the event.
Organizers apologized. "It's just a donation from us," party promoter Brian Collins told the Fort Collins Coloradan.
Nonetheless, they quickly canceled the last two Wrestle-O's.
-- Amy Argetsinger
Schools' Role-Reversal Day
Criticized as Cross-Dressing
For years, the students of the tiny town of Spurger in East Texas celebrated TWIRP Day -- or The Woman Is Requested to Pay Day -- when boys and girls reversed social roles and clothes. Girls invited boys on dates; cheerleaders dressed like football players; boys wore skirts; the girls opened the door for the guys.
But it ended last week when an offended parent of two elementary school students complained, calling it an "official cross-dressing day." "What happens when little Johnny shows up to school and his best friend is in a girl's dress?" asked Hiram Sasser, of the Liberty Legal Institute, of Plano, Tex., which supported the parent.
The school district's attorney, Tanner T. Hunt, called Sasser's words "inflammatory and misleading." The point was "simply to provide innocent fun for students."
Nonetheless, school officials dropped TWIRP Day and created Camo Day, which last week was celebrated by students wearing camouflage.
-- Sylvia Moreno
Owner of Cheesy Charm Says
It's Won $70,000 and Is for Sale
If Diana Duyser is to be believed, the Virgin Mary knows her way around a casino. Duyser, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., says she has been blessed with $70,000 in gambling winnings since deciding 10 years ago that her partly eaten grilled cheese sandwich looks like the Holy Mother.
Now she's looking to hit another jackpot, listing the decade-old lunch remnant that she keeps in plastic next to her bed on eBay, the Internet auction site.
The sandwich has drawn five-figure bids in an auction that ends tomorrow. It also has inspired something that might best be described as cheesy Virgin Mary mania, complete with such charming spinoffs from her fellow sellers as the Virgin Mary's used gum and T-shirts that declare: "I ate a Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese."
-- Manuel Roig-Franzia