Oddly enough

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Toys for Tots agrees to take talking Jesus doll

LOS ANGELES -- The Marine Reserves' Toys for Tots program has decided to accept a donation of Bible-quoting Jesus dolls, reversing course after saying earlier this week that it couldn't take them. "The talking Jesus doll issue has been resolved," the organization announced on its Web site Wednesday. The short note on the Web site did not explain what it would do with the dolls. Earlier this week, the program declined a suburban Los Angeles company's offer to donate 4,000 of the foot-tall talking dolls manufactured by one2believe, a division of the Valencia-based Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co. In explaining the initial decision, Bill Grein, vice president of Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, in Quantico, Va., had said the program didn't want to take the risk of offending a Jewish or Muslim family if they received a Jesus doll.

Museum removes deep-fried flags exhibit

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. -- A museum director in this military town removed an art exhibit featuring several deep-fried American flags. Art student William Gentry said his piece, "The Fat Is in the Fire," was a commentary on obesity in America. "I deep-fried the flag because I'm concerned about America and about America's health," Gentry said. Customs House Museum executive director Ned Crouch took down the artwork Wednesday less than 18 hours after it went up in this community next to Fort Campbell. "It's about what the community values," Crouch said. "I'm representing 99 percent of our membership -- educators, doctors, lawyers, military families." He also said the timing of the piece could cause "incendiary reactions." "Never in the history of the country has the flag been more hated or more loved," Crouch said. The exhibit featured three U.S. flags imprinted with phrases such as "Poor people are obese because they eat poorly" and more than 40 smaller flags fried in peanut oil, egg batter, flour and black pepper. Clarksville resident and Navy veteran Bill Larson said the museum shouldn't restrict the free speech of an artist based on public response. "The museum is obligated to the citizens of the community to present art, and it totally failed in that regard," Larson said. Gentry, who had to publicly display his work for a senior project at Austin Peay State University, said he hoped people would get past the flag imagery and address the health issue. "I hope they are upset, but I hope they don't miss the point," he said.

-- From wire reports

'Grape guy' catches 116 grapes in mouth

SYDNEY, Australia -- An American man caught 116 tossed grapes in his mouth in three minutes in what he hopes will become a new Guinness World Record, his publicity team said Thursday. Steve "the Grape Guy" Spalding, 44, of Dallas, Texas, also set a personal record for endurance grape catching, using his mouth to catch 1,203 grapes thrown from a distance of 15 feet over half an hour, according to publicist Deanna Brown. No Guinness World Records officials were present at Spalding's grape-gob¿bling attempt, carried out Thursday in Australia. But Brown said observers had filmed Spalding's attempt and would be submitting forms to Guinness officials in the hopes of creating a new record for speed grape-catching -- the most grapes caught in the mouth over three minutes.

Professor named best Jefferson impersonator

BISMARCK, N.D. -- Selecting the nation's best Thomas Jefferson impersonator came down to a coin toss -- a Jefferson head nickel, of course. Clay Jenkinson, a Dickinson State University scholar and host of a weekly radio show about Jefferson, was declared the winner Wednesday on "The Colbert Report," a satirical news show on the Comedy Central channel. Jenkinson appeared with two other Jefferson impersonators, Bill Barker and Steven Edenbo. Steve Colbert, the show's host, asked the trio about slavery, and asked if Jefferson was under the influence of drugs when he designed the rotunda at the University of Virginia. One of his statements implied Jefferson had sex with his slaves, to which Jenkinson replied: "If it were true, (it) would be none of your business." At the end, Colbert, after two coin flips, determined Jenkinson was "King of the Jeffersons." Jenkinson, who was playing a man who was a fervent anti-royalist, had a crown placed on his head, a robe on his shoulders and a scepter in his hand.

-- From wire reports

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: