Cursed Midas Finally Saves Face

--There’s no denying that two Britons in particular have the Midas touch. Dr. John Prag, an archeologist at the Manchester Museum, and Richard Neave, an illustrator in the department of medicine at Manchester University, have reconstructed--in plaster and clay--the head of King Midas, ruler of Phrygia--now central Turkey--from 738 BC to 696 BC, according to the Sunday Times of London. Officials in Turkey had asked Prag and Neave to reconstruct the skull, found in 1957 by American archeologists. In 1983, the two experts had made a similar cast of the head of King Philip II of Macedonia, father of Alexander the Great. When shown a photo of the cast, which depicts a long, narrow face, a sharply hooked nose and a prominent lower lip, Dr. Ellen Kohler, one of the archeologists who discovered the Midas tomb, said: “The face is quite striking. It fits in with the one terra-cotta figure of him that exists.” According to mythology, Dionysius granted Midas the ability to turn anything--including his food and his daughter--into gold. Midas was said to overcome the curse by bathing in a river.

--Miss America Gretchen Carlson is not one to forget her roots. Carlson, 22, traveled to her hometown of Anoka, Minn., for her very own parade, as 15,000 admirers cheered. “The feeling I carry with me wherever I go is not only the Minnesota spirit, but the Anoka spirit I was fortunate enough to grow up in,” she said. “On a scale of 1 to 10, if you compare this with Sept. 10, when I was crowned Miss America, they’re both right up there at No. 10.” During her speech, Carlson told how as a little girl she dreamed of becoming a concert violinist. “As my activities became more diverse, so did my dreams,” she said. “It’s now my dream to be the first Miss America to perform my violin in Carnegie Hall in New York.” Anoka Mayor Steve Halsey, referring to another famous graduate of Anoka High School, humorist Garrison Keillor, said: “This has not been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon.” Then, keying on a familiar Keillor phrase, Halsey said: “Gretchen has proven to America . . . that in Anoka the women are good-looking and the children are above average.”

--"If you came here to see a choir of long-faced, sad, orphan children, you came to the wrong place,” Gary Oliver, executive director of the African Children’s Choir, told an audience in Clinton, Ill. The 26 members of the choir had lost one or both of their parents during Gen. Idi Amin’s eight-year reign of terror in Uganda. They are touring in the United States to raise money to build orphanages and schools in their country.