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Judge’s Bark Worse Than His Bite

--West Virginia Chief Justice Richard Neely says he doesn’t recall mimicking a sheep in court, as Dr. Alfred Vincent contends he did, during a recent hearing in Charleston on a petition by the physician against Reynolds Memorial Hospital. “That’s the sort of thing I do,” Neely said. “I often talk about lambs being led to slaughter. I say: ‘There they go. Baa. Baa.’ I also do a very good chicken,” the chief justice added, “but I seldom do chicken noises from the bench.” Vincent, however, isn’t laughing. “Making animal sounds from the bench is, I believe, inappropriate,” said the doctor, who last week failed in a bid to have Neely disqualified from his case. Neely said that even if he did let loose with the animal imitation, it’s simply a courtroom tool he employs. In fact, he also boasts a passable elephant bellow, which he says he practiced recently when the circus came to town. “Even the elephants like it. I went down the other night and did it for them,” he said.

--You’ve been rafting on the rough, white waters of a western North Carolina river. You’re wet, tired and famished. What do you do when you pull up on the bank to have a snack? Well, throw away that water-soaked bologna sandwich. The Dom Perignon’s coming, along with such haute cuisine items as scallops wrapped in bacon, roast duck flambe and vegetables in hollandaise sauce, followed by brandied cherries. Jeff Stanley, 28, of Boone, N.C., who owns Wahoo’s Outdoor Adventures, says the tab for rafting and dining is $45 to $70. Stanley said he figured that anyone who would pay good money to get wet, stream-sick and scared half to death while being washed down rapids might pay even more to celebrate surviving with fancy victuals served in the great outdoors--on linen and silver.

--The Statler Brothers had to apologize to well-wishers after dominating the 19th annual Music City News country music awards. “If I hug you, I might hurt you,” Don Reid, who juggled six plaques in his arms, told a friend after the two-hour syndicated television special at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville. The quartet was named entertainer of the year, best comedy act, best vocal group, top video recording, No. 1 album and top country music television special. The emotional highlight of the show came when Barbara Mandrell sang publicly for the first time since being seriously injured in a traffic accident in September. Moments later, she received a surprise honor, the Living Legend Award, for career achievements. Lee Greenwood was voted top male vocalist and Reba McEntire was voted top female vocalist. The Judds, a mother-daughter team, were named duo of the year and Star of Tomorrow. The winners were picked by subscribers to the Music City News, a monthly country music publication.


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