Appall-O-meter

Dave Mulcahey

BVM or ATM? 4.5

In addition to the countless statues around the globe she causes to wiggle and weep, she has saved a pontiff from an assassin’s bullet and delivered the Eastern Bloc from collectivism. So why make a federal case if the Blessed Virgin Mary decides to favor an unsuspecting family with a million in cash? 

The Colombian cops don’t quite see it that way. In early April, according to Reuters, Colombian customs officials nabbed three adults who arrived in Bogota on a flight from Spain with two kids in tow and wads of U.S. currency secreted in their bags and babies’ diapers. Called to account, a female member of the group explained that the Virgin had appeared before the family and the money simply fell into their hands. 

Skull and Boneheads 4.1

It’s springtime, and at colleges across the land young men are humiliating each other in rituals of pantomime sodomy and devil worship. Ah, fraternity rush! And nowhere is the action hotter than at Skull and Bones, the Yale secret society and hothouse of spooks, tycoons and mandarins. 

Or so one was led to believe until the New York Observer blew the lid off Skull and Bones’ supersecret initiation rite. In April, columnist Ron Rosenbaum and a team of spies armed with high-tech surveillance equipment penetrated the Tomb, the society’s posh clubhouse, and recorded its mummery. What they found was a lame devil barking lewd orders at initiates (“Lick my bumhole” was the refrain) in the voice of George W. Bush. An occasional plaint was heard to take the plunger out of my ass,” which W.” would answer with promises to ream you like I reamed Gore.”

High marks for verisimilitude, low marks for wit. As for the Bones’ processional chant – THE HANGMAN EQUALS DEATH! / THE DEVIL EQUALS DEATH! / DEATH EQUALS DEATH!” – jeez, fellas, would it kill you to at least look up some Slayer lyrics? 

Lolita She Ain’t 5.3

Who says there are no second acts in American lives? Last year, at the ripe old age of 31, Treva Throneberry finally graduated from Evergreen High School in Vancouver, Washington. What’s more, reports the Clark County Columbian, she played on the tennis team and went to prom with a kid 12 years her junior. Problem is, she did all this under the assumed name of Brianna Stewart, presenting herself as a homeless teen on the run from an abusive background.

One classmate recalls thinking she was a teacher at first, but otherwise Throneberry, a Texas native, appears to have had little trouble getting people to buy her story. She found a series of families willing to open their homes to her, and she eventually qualified for foster care. Her true identity was discovered only after she submitted fingerprints to the state in an attempt to get a Social Security card. 

Now Throneberry faces charges of theft and perjury. Other legal fallout may lie ahead. In her travels around the area, she was rather fast and loose with sexual assault accusations. An area man was convicted of unlawful sex with a minor after a liaison with Throneberry in 1997. She was 28 at the time.

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Dave Mulcahey, a former managing editor of The Baffler, wrote In These Times’ monthly Appallo-o-meter” feature for nearly 10 years, until the fall of 2009.
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