Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pure Beauty

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In February, Dakota Abbott, 16, edged Samantha Phillips, 17, to become Miss Outdoors 2008 in the annual beauty-contest-andmuskrat-skinning festival in Maryland’s Eastern Shore region. The two were the only beauty contestants (out of eight) who entered both competitions.

Abbott won her skinning division, but chose to sing for the judges during the talent competition. Phillips walked away with the talent trophy by skinning a muskrat onstage. “I’ll be honest,” she said to a Washington Post reporter. “I can’t sing, I can’t dance and I don’t play any musical instruments.” But she could take a 4-inch blade and slice a muskrat. “You want to take your knuckles and separate the meat from the hide, just like this,” she told the judges, with her hand inside the muskrat.

Ironies
Instant Karma: (1) Daniel Thompson, 31, said that he was so upset by the sex, profanity and violence in today’s movies that he opened a video store in Orem, Utah, and offered major Hollywood films with the objectionable parts manually removed. Hollywood studios got a court order to shut the store down in December because of copyright infringement. In January, Thompson was arrested after police said he paid two 14-year-old girls for sex. [Sacramento Bee, Jan. 8, 2008] (2) In January, a man in Citrus Heights, Calif., had a one-car accident that left him with serious head and body injuries that were likely exacerbated by the fact that he was not wearing a seat belt.

However, the 12-pack of beer on the seat beside him was securely buckled, and it survived. Jenna Walters, Miss Fayetteville (N.C.) 2007, is due in court soon to answer for her November arrest in which police said she veered recklessly through traffic in Southern Pines, N.C., in order to harass driver Angela Thomas. Walters allegedly pulled in front of Thomas, blocked her path, got out of the car to scream at the woman, and then quit and drove off. Walters is accused of twice more returning to the scene to bump Thomas’ car and continue screaming at her. In the 2006 Miss Fayetteville pageant, Walters was voted Miss Congeniality.

Great Moments in Maturity
When a 72-year-old woman in Levis, Quebec, cleared her walk with a snowblower in December, she sent some of the snow onto an adjacent property. Her 43 year-old neighbor then grabbed his blower and sent it back, and the two spent about 10 minutes blowing snow on each other before they stopped. (They “faced each other” with “engines roaring,” wrote the Canadian Press.) The neighbor then allegedly punched the woman (and her husband, who had come to help her) and was charged with assault.

Can’t Stop Myself
In February, a court in Cardiff, Wales, once again released Thelma Dennis, 50, to get therapy to help with her addiction to making bogus emergency (“999”) telephone calls. Dennis has been prosecuted about 60 times in 24 years on similar charges. In an earlier case, Dennis agreed to treatment that sent painful shocks through her body every time she dialed 999, and she remained free of problems for four years. However, she recently called 999 and made up a bomb threat against a store.

Least Competent Criminals
Frederick Watson, 57, was arrested in February in DeLand, Fla., after he attracted attention by pushing a heavy safe in a shopping cart through the lobby of the Putnam Hotel. When questioned, Watson tried to convince police that he had “found” the safe. It had actually been stolen from a fourth-floor office.

Compelling Explanations
William Harvey, defending a DUI charge in court in Perth, Scotland, in February, told the judge that he recorded a high blood-alcohol count because he has a “balloon-like” pouch in his neck (sort of like a pelican) that collects most of the alcohol he swallows and therefore makes it seem that he is much more inebriated than he really is. (He was convicted.)

Recurring Themes
Some parents, in exuberant yet inexplicable expressions of devotion to their babies’ supposed happiness, stage lavish birthday parties at such young ages that the children could not possibly remember or appreciate them. For example, a birthday party by Sheila Chapman and Ray Reed for 1-year-old “Prince” Clayburn Reed in February in Tampa Palms, Fla., featured 60 guests, a professional party-planner, pony rides, a magician and a piata in a rented room at the local country club. “These are the memories I want him to have,” Chapman said to a St. Petersburg Times reporter. “I want him to know how important and special I think he is.”

2008 Chuck Shepherd