Amanda Collins, 28, took “beauty pageant mom” to the next level (down) earlier this year when she entered her daughter Luna in Britain’s UK Princess and Prince International — based entirely on Luna’s ultrasound scan at age 20 weeks. Said Collins, “As soon as I saw her image on the screen … I knew she was a stunner.” Contest officials had accepted the scan application, and six weeks after birth, Luna was named runner-up in the Princess and Prince, and on top of that, four weeks later, runner-up in Miss Dreams UK. “All she has to do,” said Collins, “is lie in my arms and smile as I stroll down the catwalk.”
In September, at the annual 10-day Phuket Vegetarian Festival in Thailand (ostensibly promoting abstinence from eating meat), dozens of men pierced and sliced their mouths, cheeks and arms in religious devotion in a spectacle which, though blood-drenched, was supposedly free of pain (and subsequent scars) because the fanatics were in God-imposed trances. The display supposedly brings “good health, peace of mind and spiritual cleansing,” and includes walking on hot coals and climbing blade-embedded ladders (both barefoot, of course), all to the accompaniment of fireworks and the ear-shattering pounding of drums. [Huffington Post UK, 9-29-2014]
Brad Culpepper played defensive tackle for nine NFL seasons and, not surprisingly, applied for disability when he retired, since his medical folder listed 14 MRIs, head and knee trauma and neurological and vision problems — which resulted in doctors declaring him “89 percent” disabled and the Fairmont Premier insurance company giving him a $175,000 settlement. Fairmont sued recently to get its money back, claiming that Culpepper is, and was, “exquisitely fit,” as evidenced by a September 2013 Tampa Bay Times feature on his gym workouts, and in his having earned a martial-arts Black Belt, and in his participation for 14 days in the grueling TV series “Survivor: Blood vs. Water” in 2013.
Angry taxpayers and retail customers sometimes protest their debt by paying the bill with containers of coins (especially pennies), but what if a company did that to a customer? A court had ruled that Adriana’s Insurance Services in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., had unjustifiably ejected (and assaulted) 74-year-old Andres Carrasco from its office when he complained about a canceled policy, and ordered Adriana’s to pay him about $21,000. Consequently, in August, the still-irritated company dropped off at least 16 buckets full of coins at the customer’s lawyer’s office.