Bad Santa Loses His Head

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Bad Santa is having a lot of trouble getting ahead in life.

A doll's severed head in a gory "Bad Santa" holiday display has been snatched by dollnappers — who are holding it hostage until the owner writes, "I am sorry for being a bad boy" 1,000 times, according to the New York Post.

"The 7th Avenue Boys for a Merry Christmas," a Brooklyn-based group, stole the doll head Wednesday night, which Joel Krupnik and his family had set up in front of their Manhattan home as part of their bloody "Bad Santa" display.

Before the dollnapping, the set-up showed a skinny Santa Claus clutching a blood-soaked knife in his left hand and the severed head — blood pouring from the eyes — in his right. Krupnik called the display a protest of the commercialization of Christmas.

Krupnik, 58, said he won't negotiate with the headnappers.

"I wouldn't stoop so low," he told the Post. "It's ridiculous."

A leafless tree bearing the headless corpses and severed heads of Barbie Dolls stands in front of the blood-soaked Saint Nick.

"Dean," a spokesman for the "7th Avenue Boys," said the group's "commandos" made a holiday raid on the $3 million brownstone — making the successful headnapping after using lookouts as spies to make sure there were no police around.

In an e-mail including pictures of the captured severed head, "Dean," a father of two, wrote, "Although it's technically illegal, sometimes we have to cross the line and sacrifice our possible well-being to protect children's hearts and minds and their innocence."

The "7th Avenue Boys" will keep holding the head hostage until Krupnik, who they call "this Grinch with a heart darker than Scrooge's," complies with one of two demands, "Dean" said:

— Take the "Bad Santa" display down and write: "I am sorry for being a bad boy. Next year I promise to be on top of Santa's good boy list!" 1,000 times.

— Or, take his family, including his three kids, to watch him sit in Santa's lap at Macy's in Herald Square while he tells him "what a bad boy he has been."

"Dean" said the head will be "handed to our renegade elves at the North Pole and used to make wooden toy dolls for the boys and girls of New York City next Christmas" if Krupnik doesn't meet their demands.

Krupnik told the Post he'd been expecting just such a theft — and he'll just get another head if the dollnappers don't return the old one.

— Click in the photo box above to see a picture of Bad Santa.

No, I Didn't Steal This From You Five Minutes Ago ...

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — In the world of high stakes crimes, this was no work of art. Instead, police arrested three people after they tried to sell paintings worth tens of thousands of dollars back to the gallery that owned the artwork.

Deanna Joao, 46, of South San Francisco, was arrested Sunday after she was allegedly caught with two paintings worth $45,000, according to police. Jeffrey Harp, 33, and Derek Hanson, 41, tried to flee but were caught after a police dog bit Hanson's leg.

The gallery owner's car was stolen in San Francisco on Nov. 23 with $75,000 to $100,000 worth of paintings inside. The vehicle was later found, but the paintings were gone.

The gallery then started getting calls in early December from a man saying he wanted to bring in a painting for appraisal. The artwork sounded familiar and the owners set up surveillance.

The trio finally showed up at the gallery on Sunday evening.

Hanson was expected to be booked into jail on charges of possession of stolen property, conspiracy and burglary. Joao and Harp were booked on similar charges.

Police believe the other paintings may have been hidden.

— Thanks to Out There reader Beth M.

Happy Graduation! Now Turn Up Your Hearing Aid

LaGRANGE, Ga. (AP) — Thurman Barnes, clad in his graduation robes, walked a little slowly to get his diploma Monday. He needed some help — he's 96 years old.

More than 80 years after failing to complete high school, Barnes has received his General Education Development diploma. He's believed to the oldest person ever to get a GED.

Friends and family, as well as state and national officials, gathered at the Callaway Conference Center at West Georgia Technical College to see Barnes receive his long-awaited degree.

Michael Vollmer, head of the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Educational Commission, whose agency manages Georgias Adult Literacy Program, presented Barnes with an official letter, notifying him that he had earned his GED, a framed GED diploma and a very special third gift.

The state of Georgia gives every recipient of a GED a HOPE education voucher for $500 for further education.

"Give me a year or two and I'll try to use that," Barnes told Vollmer as the agency head handed him the voucher.

Barnes seemed genuinely moved by the ceremony, but maintained his sense of humor.

"I'll try to do a little like Abraham Lincoln and I'll try to wear the same size hat when I leave here as when I got here," he said. "This is proof of what an Arkansas farmer can do if he keeps trying, I guess."

As Vollmer moved Barnes' tassel at the end of the ceremony, Barnes said, "This makes me feel smarter already."

— Thanks to Out There reader Shannon O.

Perfect for Weekend at Bernie's Part III!!!

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — With all the violence on TV and in the movies these days, there's a never-ending demand for dead guys in Hollywood.

Where do they find these bodies? One place to look is

Chuck Lamb of Columbus, Ohio, has set up a Web site showing photos of himself pretending to be dead. He hopes casting agents will notice.

In one shot, he's slumped over a table, oozing fake blood. In another, he pretends to be crushed under his garage door.

Lamb says he can "lay around with the best of them." And if you don't believe him, he says to ask his wife.

He's even written a top-10 list of why he should be hired. The No. 1 reason? "NO HAIR ON MY BACK!"

Slow and Steady Wins You a Mouthful of Metal

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Hermie the Turtle's little defective beak made meal time a struggle. Unable to close his mouth completely, the tiny 20-gram reptile's very existence was at stake.

But today, this map turtle has a new lease on life thanks to the work of two doctors who outfitted young Hermie with braces. Now, some are calling the orthodontic work a Christmas miracle.

"I've worked on animals before but nothing this small," said Dr. Peter M. Virga, a Watertown dentist who along with veterinarian Jeffrey G. Baier performed the unique procedure.

After receiving Hermie in May, zookeepers at the New York State Zoo in Watertown's Thompson Park noticed the turtle was having difficulty eating. Medical exams then showed Hermie's lower jaw growing downward.

"He may have adapted to eat like this, or he may have not made it," Baier said.

Turtles, who are toothless, use their beaks to break food down before grinding it with the plates in their mouths.

After Baier injected Hermie with two anesthetics Wednesday morning, Virga inserted four pins into the turtle's jaws, according to the Watertown Daily Times which published an account of Hermie's ordeal Thursday.

During a meeting with reporters, the doctors placed the immobile turtle, believed to be between 2 and 3 years old, on a table. As Baier held Hermie's head, Virga placed two rubber orthodontic elastics — the same kind used by children with braces — on the pins across the turtle's mouth.

While Hermie recuperates, zookeepers will remove the rubber bands once a day to allow the turtle to eat. In keeping with the spirit of Christmas, the doctors chose red and green rubber bands for Hermie's beak.

"It's very exciting and I was glad to help," said Virga, who's performed root canal surgery on dogs.

Baier's wife, Angela, the zoo's executive director, said she was thrilled such a small zoo could take part in such a rare procedure.

"Miracles happen this time of the year," she said. "Hopefully his beak will be fixed."

— Thanks to Out There reader Shannon O.

Geez, Lady, I Guess We Won't Trim Your Gingko Tree?

WACO, Texas (AP) — A Texas woman has been sentenced to probation after shooting at workers trimming trees behind her home.

Carolyn Payne Lomax was sentenced Wednesday to three years' probation in a plea agreement with prosecutors.

The longtime Waco-area Republican activist had pleaded no contest to third-degree felony deadly conduct charges.

Lomax fired a pistol at workers who were trimming trees around power lines last year. She says she wanted them to stop and asked to speak to a supervisor. Instead, she says, they mocked her in Spanish and ignored her — so she fired warning shots.

No one was hurt.

You're the Drunkest Slob Ever, Hurray!

OSLO, Norway (AP) — A Finnish citizen arrested on a public bus while drunk and nearly naked has set an apparent record for unpaid fines in Norway, with an estimated 99 of them, police said Friday.

The man, whose name was not released, is known by police for his tendency to discard pieces of clothing as his level of intoxication increases, the Bergens Tidende newspaper reported.

"He has gotten up to 99 fines," police attorney Rudolf Christophersen told the newspaper. "In the (Bergen area's) Hordaland Police District alone he has 95,000 kroner (euro12,200; US$14,260) worth of fines. That must be a record."

The man, whom police said offered up five different identities, has repeatedly been expelled from Norway, but keeps returning.

In the latest incident, on Wednesday, police received a telephone call from the bus driver in Bergen, the main city on Norway's west coast, who said: "There is a naked, drunk, difficult Finn causing trouble on board."

Police found the man dressed only his underpants, and extremely drunk, and are seeking to have him jailed on charges that include indecent exposure, vagrancy, public drunkenness and failing to pay his outstanding fines.

Neither Christophersen nor Bergen police spokesman Trygve Hillestad could immediately be reached for comment.

Compiled by's Andrew Hard.

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