Roger Elvick, an ex-con widely regarded as the creator of redemptionism, a conspiracy-theory-laced financial scam that grew out of the antigovernment and white-supremacist movements of the 1980s, was indicted by Cuyahoga County last year. He's accused of aiding local redemptionists in "paper terrorism" campaigns involving false bankruptcy filings against cops and judges ("Color Scheme," January 28).
But last month, on Elvick's 68th birthday, a judge declared him incompetent to stand trial. Certainly Elvick's court antics wouldn't pass Buckingham Palace's rules of etiquette. He's denied his own identity, claimed the court has no jurisdiction over him, and is prone to asking incomprehensible questions.
Yet assistant county prosecutor Dan Kasaris wonders if the guy's really nuts. After all, Elvick's behavior is typical of redemptionists. And Kasaris has won 30 cases against the nutbags, with only three others deemed too whacked to stand trial. (Elvick's lawyer did not return calls.)
Elvick is now a guest of North Coast Behavioral Center, where shrinks will attempt to "restore" him at least enough to face charges.
The beautiful people
Seeing as Maxim stole the concept for its By the Numbers feature from Harper's, Punch feels no remorse about stealing from Maxim to summarize the magazine's party for Cleveland's beautiful people last week at Windows on the River, sponsored by Bud Light.
· E-mails required to get on the party's exclusive list: 3
· Success rate for entering "invite-only" party, despite having neglected to e-mail RSVP: 100.
· Grinning midgets dressed in stovepipe hats at the entrance: 1
· Paparazzi on red carpet: 4
· Paparazzi who had flashbulbs but no film in their cameras: 4 (estimated)
· Ratio of paparazzi to celebrities: 4:0
· Ratio of Cleveland dudes desiring amorous relations with a Maxim model, in comparison to Maxim models desiring amorous relations with a Cleveland dude: 267:0
· Percentage of Maxim models who, while grinding on stripper poles in hot pants, wanted to stab a Cleveland dude in the eye with a stiletto heel: 74 (estimated)
· Cost of Bud Light bottles: $1
· Marketing value of establishing in young men a Pavlovian relationship between Bud Light and chicks in hot pants: Priceless.
Head of the class
Owners of Bosley Bobbers, which last week settled a suit by Arnold Schwarzenegger over a bobblehead doll bearing an automatic weapon and his likeness, say they have "no hard feelings" toward the action star. In fact, they'd probably welcome further litigation.
The suit turned into a worldwide publicity bonanza for the Canton novelty company and brought a huge spike in sales of its bobbleheads, which include such big names as Jesus and George W. "It was real good for business," says Tami Rike, one of three siblings who own the company. "It brought a lot of attention to our website."
Schwarzenegger tried to terminate his bobblehead by claiming he owned the rights to his likeness. Bosley countered that since Schwarzenegger is a political figure, his massive melon belongs to the public domain. Under the terms of the settlement, Bosley can still sell Schwarzeneggers, as long as they're unarmed.
Not all celebs are reluctant to be immortalized with nonstop nodding. Dick Goddard, the Cleveland weatherman who first warned Noah of impending rain, endorses his bobber, even though it doesn't have a gun. "Dick Goddard has a real large following," says Rike, who has no plans to make a companion doll of Goddard's wife, whose fist would bobble up and down on Dick's head.
The International Children's Games offered a fabulous boost for Cleveland. The event brought in 2,300 athletes and thousands of fans. It also killed a lot of trees.
The Plain Dealer wrote 83 stories in all, including such breathless accounts as "Interpreters translate universal message of peace" and another titled "Athletes, city shine in Children's Games." The paper even ran a half-page exit interview with organizer David Gilbert, in which associate editorial-page editor Joe Frolik threw such fastballs as "Were you surprised by how well almost everything seemed to go during the Games?"
Though the games were swell, the coverage seemed suspiciously glowing for a fifth-tier athletic event, which was nowhere near Cleveland's biggest draw in recent months. By comparison, the 25th Annual National Sports Collectors convention drew 30,000 autograph hunters to the I-X Center last month. The number of PD stories: one.
Another 16,000 people arrived downtown in March for the Material Handling Industries of America convention. Number of PD stories: two.
Now Punch would never advocate 83 stories on the fascinating world of material handling, but The PD's coverage of the Games seemed about 82 too many. So why the relentless, wall-to-wall coverage? Punch suspects it was the work of publisher Alex Machaskee, who just so happened to co-chair the executive committee that planned and raised money for the games. "The co-chairs were very active and engaged," says Carol Payto, PR director for the games. "They contributed tremendously."
With her long blond hair, lithe body, and petite frame, Christine Moore doesn't look like a cop. But fitness-conscious bad guys get the picture. "I've had people trying to resist arrest," Moore says, "and after I've pinned them, they'll say to me, 'Wow! Do you work out? Where do you train at?'"
The 35-year-old Moore, you see, recently won her weight class in the USA Bodybuilding Championship in Vegas. Her newest captures, she says, are very impressed with her title, but not so happy about the accommodations Moore inevitably finds for them.
Cats: Not the musical
They were the sweethearts of Oberlin -- five stray felines that prowled the fields behind South Main Street. Shop owners dubbed them "The Fab Five" and fed them leftover scraps. "You couldn't help but be enchanted by them," says one resident.
In May, however, an unknown perpetrator, apparently jealous of the cats' budding celebrity, slipped a little something extra in the cats' food: rat poison.
When it was discovered the next day, Gary Bamby -- full-time interior designer, part-time animal savior -- called 911. He claims the dispatcher proclaimed mercilessly, "Good, they deserved to die." Shocked, Bamby filed a police report. That was four months ago. The murderer remains at large.
Two of the cats died. Bamby took the remaining three into his home. But, he sighs, "Taming a feral cat is like taming a squirrel. Although it's possible to have some success, it's very unlikely they will ever trust humans."
The same could be said of Bamby, who still loses sleep wondering who callously put the hit on five harmless cats. "I have my suspicions" is all he'll say.
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