Don't Ash, Don't Tell


NC Man Charged in "Cannibal Corn" Blackmail Scheme

Dr Miller says we are pessimistic because life seems like a very bad, very screwed-up film.  If you ask "What the hell is wrong with the projector?" and go up to the control room, you find it's empty.  You are the projectionist, and you should have been up there all the time.

- Colin Wilson

Charlotte, North Carolina  - US agents have charged a Charlotte man in a scheme to extort money from a movie theatre chain by claiming he made "cannibal corn" by putting his aunt's cremated remains in cinema popcorn.  Herb Cruse, 77, was arrested at his home in Charlotte on Monday, US officials said.

He allegedly sent a letter to the Carmike Cinema chain's Columbus, Georgia, headquarters telling them that he put his aunt's ashes in the popcorn at three of its movie theatres, including the Town Cinema 6, a multiplex owned by Carmike near the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, "five or six years ago."  But he told reporters late Monday that he actually had not put his aunt's ashes in the movie snack.  He said he did put "just some ashes" in the popper at the theatre while he was working as a salesman for Carmike.

Cruse said he was angry with a theatre district supervisor who he said tried to fire him after discovering Cruse wore knee braces from injuries received at Pearl Harbour.  He said the supervisor reneged on a verbal agreement to allow him to sell intermission advertising for the theatre chain.  He sent a letter on March 27 apologising for the "childish prank" and said he hoped that "movie patrons who may have consumed the adulterated popcorn can forgive and forget."

But federal investigators in Atlanta said Cruse had been trying to extort money from the company.  Cruse said he put the ashes in the popcorn several years ago, but someone had circulated fliers in the Town Cinema 6 parking lot last week calling the theatre's treat "cannibal corn" and enlisting anyone interested in filing a class action suit against the company to contact Cruise.  US prosecutors declined comment on the case.

Cruse said he would go to Atlanta and talk to the US Attorney's office there about his case.  In a post script to his letter, Cruse added: "In the process of cremation the temperature rises to 1,600 up to 2,000 degrees, leaving the ash remains 100% pure, this is not nearly as bad as feeding our children crack cocaine, marijuana grass ... or Jerry Springer!"

Carmike Assistant Vice President and Controller Phillip Smitley told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer in Tuesday's editions that "there is no evidence whatsoever" that Cruse actually put human remains in popcorn.

Cruse was free on an unsecured bond and scheduled to appear before a federal judge in Columbus on Thursday.

Source: Reuters Tuesday 4 August 1998

The reason I found this story of interest is because we lived in North Carolina at that time and often ate popcorn at Town Cinema 6.  (That’s why I choose to believe the guy is really bluffing.  However, as I recall, the popcorn was quite tasty.  Unusual tasting, come to think of it.)

See also:

bulletBon Appetit - for a discussion of some of the strange things humans eat...

Bon Voyage

by Richard Johnson

Call it the Cruise Ship Coverup.  The dirty secret behind the outbreak of stomach illness on 21 cruises this year is that the cause is other cruise ships in the narrow Caribbean shipping lanes.  The big ships routinely dump raw sewage into the ocean.  Ships following behind then draw in the polluted sea water for their desalinization plants, which take out the salt, but not all the bacteria.  Passengers are soon suffering from diarrhea and vomiting - even if they are careful and drink only bottled water - because they are showering in sewage and brushing their teeth with it.  "But no one wants the public to know because it's just too disgusting," one nautical expert told us.

Source: New York Post Page 19 December 2002 with Paula Froelich and Chris Wilson

Faithful Marine Suffers from Military Malpractice


Marine reservist Dan Meeks, before and after having four wisdom teeth removed by a military doctor.

by Raina Mangiafridda

People on flight 93, the World Trade Center victims, and those killed and injured in the Pentagon will be remembered and are forever in our prayers.  However, let's not forget the young men and women in the United States military who have put their lives on hold to defend you and me.

Dan Meeks is one.  He has been through a life threatening experience - no guns and no bombs included.  Former County College of Morris student Dan Meeks has been a Marine reservist since age 18.  Five years later and following an attack on American soil, he received a phone call activating his platoon to retreat to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina in January 2002.  From January until early June, he has done martial arts, urban warfare and cold weather training.  This came to a halt when he began to experience pain in his tooth.

"I went to the doctor on base, and he told me I needed to have my wisdom teeth taken out," said Meeks.  The Marine Corps has a policy that one's wisdom teeth must be taken out before his deployment.  Meeks's deployment was in July, destination Kosovo.  Therefore, all four of his wisdom teeth were extracted on 13 June 2002.  "I expected to be in pain afterwards, but the pain kept getting worse," he said.  "I made numerous trips to the doctor, and was told it would pass.  I asked for an antibiotic also, and he told me it wasn't necessary to take them."

After days of intense pain, the doctor threw his hands up and sent Meeks to another doctor.  This second doctor told him he might have dislocated his jaw in training.  "This made sense to me since I couldn't open up my mouth all the way," Meeks said.  The doctor gave him more painkillers and back to the barracks he went.  Meeks was still in pain and went on his own to the emergency room.  He received a CAT scan, spinal tap and x-rays only to find out the results were negative.  Nothing was wrong.  Little did they know, they'd misread the CAT scan.  They sent him on his way with more painkillers.

One night, in unbearable pain, Meeks's friends drove him to the emergency room where he ended up staying in ICU for a little over three weeks.  There the doctors discovered an infection in one of his teeth that grew so large it was moving his jaw and spreading throughout the right side of his face.  The misdiagnosis gave the infection time to brew, and the steroids given to him earlier weakened his immune system.  Antibiotics weren't helping, so the doctors cut holes and inserted five drainage tubes into different areas in his face.  These tubes were four inches long and a half-inch wide.  At this point, the infection was closing his airway, which led to time on a respirator and his eye closed due to the swelling, leaving him practically unrecognisable.

Three weeks had passed, the swelling went down and he was going to get the fifth tube removed.  "The doctor turned to me and said he couldn't find it.  He told me I must have swallowed it," said Meeks.  "I requested a CAT scan because I was worried about where it was, and he told me it wasn't necessary.  He didn't do post-op CAT scans."  Throughout this terrible experience, Meeks' family stayed at the hospital with him and drove him home to Madison, New Jersey.  The Marine Corps had given Meeks two weeks to recover.

Once again, the painkillers weren't helping and the pain he was told would pass got worse and worse.  "I went to Morristown Memorial Hospital's emergency room and they gave me a CAT scan.  These doctors found a 4-inch plastic tube floating around in my head," said Meeks.  Emergency surgery took place immediately.  Because the drainage tube was still in his face, traces of the infection remained.  "Now I truly began my road to recovery," said Meeks.  "I took fifty pills a day and lost 30 pounds.  I started to see an oral surgeon three times a week.  When he decided I was on the right road, he referred me to a physical therapist to help me regain full use of my jaw."

Currently, Meeks is on another 20 days off to continue recovery and may need another surgery.  "My jaw is so messed up I may never regain full use of it," said Meeks.  "Here I am, called to defend my country and I couldn't even be deployed with my unit because of the poor medical care I received from guys on my own side."

Well, there you have it.  Keep these young men and women in your prayers.  A near-death experience usually happens in battle, not in a trip to the dentist.

Source: The Youngtown Edition (student newspaper of the County College of Morris, Randolph, New Jersey) 25 September 2002

For articles related to lifestyles including guns, television, extortion, hair, handbags, parenting, time bind, desserts, fitness, feasting, friends, happiness, ageing and more, click the "Up" button below to take you to the Index for this Lifestyles section.

Back Home Up Next