Thursday, Oct. 2, 2008

Hip-Hop Granny

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Angela Pusateri, 79, maybe unconventional, but according to her 13-year-old granddaughter, Jenna, “She really is a cool grandmother.” Pusateri, who lives in Hallandale Beach, Fla., is a rapper—and even has a new CD, Who’s Your Granny? When performing live, she wears a hockey jersey, jewelry, sunglasses and baseball cap. Sample rap: “I can bring the noise better than P-Diddy/ I am older and wiser, I ain’t a disguiser/ I am condo-commando in a high-riser/ Who’s your granny?” Also, “Move over, Trick-Daddy, ‘cause this is my town/ I gotta shuffleboard posse and we’re known to get down.” In September, granddaughter Jenna did concede to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, “Sometimes it’s embarrassing.”

Latest Religious Messages
In August, Birmingham Cathedral announced plans to open a series of wine bars in London. According to an official, it’s one of the “alternative ways” of engaging people who otherwise wouldn’t attend church.

The new church curate in Dursley, Gloucestershire, is Rev. Skye Denno, 29, a mother of two who sometimes dresses in biker boots, hot pants and a dog collar, often while listening to the Sex Pistols. “I don’t do it to be difficult,” she said. “I think it makes me more approachable.”

The Continuing Crisis
The Nebraska Legislature’s new safe-haven law allows for unwanted children to be dropped off anonymously at hospitals to discourage abortions and neglect by unfit parents. However, unlike similar laws in other states, Nebraska’s law applies not just to infants, but all minors. In September, the first two non-infants were abandoned, as relatives dropped off 11- and 15-year-old boys. Critics say the law could apply to anyone under the age 19.

In August, the U.S. Department of Transportation unveiled new rules for train and bus drivers who return to work after drug-use suspensions. First, they must undergo a strip search to detect devices for cheating. If no devices are found, they are allowed to get dressed, but a monitor must “directly watch the urine as it goes from the employee’s body into the collection container.” Several unions have challenged the rule in court.

In July, Abbie Hawkins, 19, a hotel receptionist in Norwich, England, said she found a baby bat nestled inside the padded bra she had been wearing for several hours. “When I was driving to work, I felt a slight vibration, but I thought it was just my mobile phone in my jacket pocket,” she told the Daily Telegraph. Hawkins had fetched the bra off of a clothesline that morning, where it had been hanging overnight. First reaction: “I thought how mean I was for disturbing it.”

The Weirdo-American Community
In August, Christopher Sullivan, 43, was arrested in Oshkosh, Wis., for allegedly sending neighbors threatening packages, including a Polaroid photo of three naked Barbie dolls with their heads cut off.

Least Competent Criminals
According to police in Somerville, Mass., Michael Mahoney, 25, gave his phone number to his rape victim, believing that he had charmed her into wanting to see him again. Police quickly arrested Mahoney in July at home, where he lives with his parents.

In July, convicted sexual molester Donald Fox, 62, of Frederick, Md., challenged his 40-year prison sentence. The appeals court agreed that it was wrong— and gave him an 80-year sentence.

Undignified Deaths
In July, a 21-year-old man fishing off Jones Beach on New York’s Long Island was killed when he yanked his line back too quickly, propelling his 3-ounce lead sinker out of the water and into his head, where it penetrated his brain.

In August, a 32-year-old man lounging beside a pool in Leland, N.C., was killed when a burst of wind dislodged a canopy umbrella, thrusting the tip into his skull.

A 79-year-old motorist watching a crane lift a steeple onto a new church in Oklahoma City in July was killed when the crane toppled over and crushed his car.

2008 Chuck Shepherd