The things some people will do to make a buck!

In "Odder Jobs: More Portraits of Unusual Occupations" (Ten Speed Press, $16.95), author and photographer Nancy Rica Schiff introduces readers to 65 people who perform some of the weirdest work in America -- from a dog-food tester to a dice inspector and a security guard at a tire dump.

Not odd enough? How about:

--Professional Whistler

One man who truly whistles while he works is New Yorker Steve Herbst. The champion whistler, who has puckered professionally since he quit his day job in 2004, uses his three-octave range to accompany a variety of musical selections, including classical, jazz, pop standards and show tunes. Herbst has tootled in TV commercials and has even whistled all the way to Carnegie Hall.

--Vintage Toaster Dealer


The toast of New York, one might say, is Michael Sheafe. The former project manager pops up at garage sales, swap meets and such, where he buys old toasters that he repairs and cleans, if necessary, to resell at local flea markets and online. His customers have included the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and producers of Broadway plays who rent the quaint appliances as props.

--Coroner's Gift Shop Sales Rep

The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office has a gift shop, and it has Salene Limon to run it. The shop, called Skeletons in the Closet, sells T-shirts, mugs, mouse pads, welcome mats, pens, jackets, caps and other items emblazoned with a victim's "chalk" outline. Proceeds help support a program that educates young people about the dangers of driving drunk, which perhaps will keep them from ever meeting the coroner.

--Music Thanatologist

For a living, C. Tristan Adair plays her harp for the dying. The Salt Lake City woman works in a hospice where she strums and plucks her harp -- and vocalizes, too -- at the bedsides of dying people "to relieve their physical and spiritual anguish, and that of their loved ones." Tristan has provided the musical accompaniment for about 2,000 trips to the Great Beyond.

--Yo-yo Tester

There are strings attached to Ginger Miller's job: She tests yo-yos. Miller earns her pay as she whiles away the day trying out the yo-yos -- up to 100 a day -- she makes for Spinastics. And you thought your job had its ups and downs!

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