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Crime and Justice

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Life on the Body Farm

April 20, 2017

When Mary Scarborough wrote the lyrics to “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” in 1923, she probably didn’t have a research facility in mind. She wouldn’t find cows, chickens or pigs at “The Body Farm” – just scores of rotting human bodies, covered in maggots.

The Body Farm (officially known as the University of Tennessee Forensic Anthropology Facility) was the brainchild of Dr. William Bass, a Forensic Anthropologist from Kansas who helps law enforcement agencies estimate how long a person has been dead. Determining the time of death is crucial in confirming alibis and establishing timelines for violent crimes.

After 11 years of watching human decomposition, Bass realized how little was known about what happens to the human body after death. So, he approached the University of Tennessee Medical Center and asked for a small plot of land where he could control what happens to a body, post-mortem.

Bass’s Body Farm drew the attention of readers in 1994 when popular crime novelist Patricia Cornwell featured it in her book of the same name. In her book, Cornwell describes a research facility that stages human corpses in various states of decay, in a variety of locations like a wooded area, the trunk of a car, under water or under a pile of leaves – all to determine how human bodies decay under varying circumstances. read more

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Customs, Laws and Faux Pas

February 21, 2017

Have you ever wondered why when an infant burps after their morning bottle we all think it’s so cute? Yet, forty years later, the same guy belching after his eighteenth tallboy is absolutely disgusting? Why does a case of unbridled hiccups crack up everyone at the dinner table, but a well-placed air biscuit can clear the room? Like most other societies, American customs have resulted from generations of rules, laws, faux pas and in some cases, no reason at all.

Many of our customs date far back before you were even a twinkle in your mother’s eye. These were times of unsophisticated knowledge and religious beliefs. Mores and values were often steeped in superstition and fear. For instance, people saying “God bless you” after a sneeze, is a byproduct of the epidemics that devastated entire countries during the Middle Ages. Sneezing was usually the first sign that the victim was coming down with the bubonic plague. Friends and family would mutter, “God bless you,” just before sprinting for the safety of the nearest dungeon. I’m happy to say that some of these customs still exist today. read more

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Steroids Invade the World of Chess

September 7, 2016

Canton, Ohio – The professional chess world was rocked today when 13 year old chess prodigy, Bobby Baines, was disqualified from play for testing positive for steroids.

Clayton Groman, Director of the United States Chess Federation announced during a press conference from his office in Crossville, Tennessee that Baines was one of 17 professional chess players ranging in ages from 8 to 97 years old that are under suspicion for taking performance enhancing drugs on the USCF list of banned substances.

“We’ve had Mr. Baines in our crosshairs for quite some time,” said Groman. “We first became suspicious when we noticed that he was becoming much more violent during matches and began exhibiting impaired judgment stemming from feelings of invincibility.” During one recent chess match, Baines became upset over his opponent’s delay in play, so he leaped over the table, hoisted him up into an Airplane Spin and threw him into the audience.

“He’s just a boy,” pleaded Bobby’s mother and manager, Agatha Baines. “Like all boys his age, he’s bound to make mistakes.” When asked if she noticed any other recent changes in Bobby, Agatha confessed that she had noticed some small, yet noticeable physical changes in her son over the past six months. “For one thing, he started to grow more hair – a lot of hair.” she said. “I’m well aware that boys entering puberty are likely to experience changes in their bodies, but I saw Bobby in the shower one afternoon and his back was absolutely covered with hair. He looked just like my brother, Leo and he’s 67 years old. But what really alarmed me was when I saw Bobby trimming the hair in his ears. He’s only 13 for God’s sake.” She also confessed to witnessing some rather rapid weight gain in Bobby. “He gained over 35 pounds of muscle in one week,” she said. “We had to stop buying his clothes at Oshkosh B’Gosh and start shopping at Eagleson’s Big and Tall Shop for Men.” read more

All Entries Business and Work Crime and Justice Humor

Interview with a Felon

April 7, 2016

Hi. I’m here for the job. I’m sorry I’m late, but I missed the last bus from the halfway house because some of the other in-mates started throwing food around at breakfast. By the time the guards released us from lock down and found all the hidden knives, I had already missed my Thursday morning therapy session. Dr. Scheaselschwitz promised to write me a more powerful prescription so I can stop hyperventilating into brown paper bags every time I have an interview. But, it shouldn’t be a problem with this job.

I read in the newspaper ad that you’re looking for a mature, sharp-dressed, post-graduate educated CPA with extensive computer experience. Well, I don’t have any of those skills but I’m a fast learner. Just ask my cell mate. Besides, this place is only 5 minutes from the detention center, so I’d probably qualify for a work release program. My HVA meetings (Hostility and Violence Anonymous) are right on the way home, too.

I have a variety of experiences. I’m sure you’ll be able to find some of them useful at Mendelssohn’s Fasteners. I grew up in the Nelbert B. Tubbs housing project and ran my own gang before I was 12, so I’m experienced in supervising a wide range of personalities and delegating authority. I’m also good at rewarding quality work when I see it. For instance, one of The Mack-30 Daddies cheated me out of $50 and an 8-ball, so I told one of my homies to eliminate the problem. He did. As a reward, I gave him a nickel bag and let him spend the night with my little sister. read more

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