Bizarre News-Cubicle Culture

UNDATED (AP) - How do you let your office mates know you don't want to be bothered? One company's solution is the CubeGuard. OK, CubeGuard won't keep intruders out of your cubicle as well as walls and a door. But it sends a message. The CubeGuard is a retractable banner about 2 and a-half inches wide. It comes with messages like "Please Do Not Disturb" or "Out To Lunch." You can even create your own message, perhaps something like "Get out, please, I hate you all." CubeGuard's CEO John Stanton notes the keep-out messages are softened with smiley faces on the banners. A standard CubeGuard kits costs about 20 bucks, the custom messages go for 30.

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - It's not quite being caught red-handed. But police say a burglary suspect was caught wearing the female victim's underwear. Deputies in Marion County, Ore., report responding to a call for help from a woman who reported her boyfriend was holding a crook in her garage. Deputies say they found Randall Joseph Giesbers wearing nothing but women's underwear. Authorities add that a search of the suspect's garage revealed garbage bags filled with women's clothing, including underthings. Giesbers now faces a number of charges, including burglary and theft.

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) - Something furry did some browsing in a Colorado fur shop. Mark Goodman says a small bear wandered into the store where he works in Aspen. The bear walked through an open door and moseyed down the aisles at Mark Richards Fine Outerwear. Goodman says the bear left without hurting anyone. There have been lots of bear sightings in Aspen this year. Police report 26 bear calls between Thursday and Sunday alone.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ophelia the runaway tortoise is back home. Ophelia tunneled under a fence in a Columbus, Ohio, backyard and escaped. Owners Lisa Dupler and Nicole Zahrndt had plastered their neighborhood with more than 100 "Missing Tortoise" signs. Ophelia hit the road last Wednesday and managed to get nearly a mile away from home. Stacy Sturgill called the women after reading about the search for their missing pet in The Columbus Dispatch. Sturgill and her boyfriend got a reward of 120 bucks. Ophelia's owners say they're going to upgrade their fence to make it tortoise-proof.

BOSTON (AP) - The strippers contend they were stripped on their tips. Now, a judge agrees. A Massachusetts judge has ruled about 70 exotic dancers are due thousands of dollars from a club called King Arthur's Lounge in the Boston area. The strippers had sued, claiming they were owed wages and tips. The club had classified them as "independent contractors," charging the dancers $35 per night to perform and keeping a-third of their take for private dances. But a lawyer for the club tells The Boston Globe the dancers made hundreds of dollars per shift.

UNDATED (AP) - Doc, do you accept veggies? Lots of folks are side-stepping the high cost of health care by bartering. Robert Josefs of New Jersey traded his Web site design skills for nearly $1,000 in dental work. Johanna Nichols barters her organic vegetables to offset her family's high health insurance deductibles. Nichols' osteopathic physician is Susan Osborne, who has a bartering clinic in Floyd, W.V. Osborne says she's accepted everything from firewood to violin lessons in exchange for medical services.

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