Orestes De La Paz’s exhibit at the Frost Art Museum in Miami in May recalled Chuck Palahniuk’s novel and film “Fight Club,” in which lead character Tyler Durden’s principal income source was making upscale soap using discarded liposuctioned fat fetched from the garbage of cosmetic surgeons (thus closing the loop of fat from rich ladies recycled back to rich ladies). De La Paz told his mentor at Florida International University that he wanted only to display his own liposuctioned fat provocatively, but decided to make soap when he realized that the fat would otherwise quickly rot. Some visitors to the exhibit were able to wash their hands with the engineered soap, which De La Paz offered for sale at $1,000 a bar.
As recently as mid-May, people with disabilities had been earning hefty black-market fees by taking strangers into Disneyland and Disney World using the parks’ own liberal “disability” passes (which allow for up to five relatives or guests at a time to accompany the disabled person in skipping the sometimes-hours-long lines and having immediate access to the rides). The pass-holding “guide,” according to NBC’s “Today” show, could charge as much as $200 through advertising on CraigsList and via word-of-mouth to some travel agents. Following reports in the New York Post and other outlets, Disney was said in late May to be warning disabled permit-holders not to abuse the privilege.
After setting out to create a protective garment for mixed martial arts fighters, Jeremiah Raber of High Ridge, Mo., realized that his “groin protection device” could also help police, athletes and military contractors. Armored Nutshellz underwear, now selling for $125 each, has multiple layers of Kevlar plus another fabric called Dyneema, which Raber said can “resist” multiple shots from 9 mm and .22-caliber handguns. He said the Army will be testing Nutshellz in August, hoping it can reduce the number of servicemen who come home with devastating groin injuries.
“Ambulance-chasing” lawyers are less the cliche than they formerly were because of bar association crackdowns, but fire truck-chasing contractors and “public adjusters” are still a problem at least in Florida, where the state Supreme Court tossed out a “48-hour” time- out rule that would have given casualty victims space to reflect on their losses before being overwhelmed by home-restoration salesmen. Consequently, as firefighters told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in May, the contractors are usually “right behind” them on the scene, pestering anxious or grief-stricken victims. The Sun-Sentinel found one woman being begged to sign up while she was still crying out for her dog that remained trapped in the blaze.
Army Major Nidal Hasan went on trial in June for killing 13 and wounding another 32 in the November 2009 shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas, but his 43 months in lockup since then have been lucrative. Maj. Hasan has earned $278,000 in salary and benefits because his pay cannot be stopped until he is convicted. By contrast, some of the 32 surviving victims complain of difficulty wrenching money out of the Army for worker compensation and disability treatment because the Army has refused to classify the spree-shooting as a combat-similar “terrorist attack”.