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On the Light Side

May 12, 1989

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) _ This was not their father’s Oldsmobile.

But a swarm of bees still sought to call a Cutlass Supreme parked outside a local pub home, frightening customers and leaving a tavern waitress in a sticky situation.

Dana Birmingham, a waitress at the Verona Lounge, wasn’t flattered when the swarm of about 20,000 bees picked her car to settle down on Tuesday.

″People kept coming in and saying, ’There’s a swarm of bees out back,‴ said Birmingham, 29. ″Then they started to come in the front, because they were afraid to go through the bees. I kept trying to figure out what was on the back of my car that attracted them.″

When bees reproduce in the spring, colonies sometimes split in two, with half the swarm left hiveless, said Michigan State University entomology Professor Roger Hoopingarner. They normally settle on a tree or bush while scouts look for a new hive location.

″It’s a fairly common phenomenon - but not on Oldsmobiles,″ Hoopingarner said.

″I was scared to drive home,″ said Birmingham, who enlisted the aid of beekeeper Paul Parsons. He baited a hive and lured away most of the homeless bees.

″Then I went to the car wash,″ Birmingham said.


BALTIMORE (AP) - Theresa Baroody and Dorothy O’Malley are used to their own reproductive coincidence. It’s been 30 years since the sisters discovered they’d each given birth to their fifth child on the same day.

But now that the kids are doing it, it’s starting to seem weird.

Ms. Baroody and Ms. O’Malley each got a grandchild on Monday - the offspring of the coincidental cousins they brought into the world on Feb. 25, 1959.

Family members say the 30-year-old cousins, Patricia and Patrick, never had trouble remembering to send each other birthday cards, but were not particularly close as children.

On Christmas Eve of 1985, both Patrick and Patricia announced their engagements, Patrick to Valerie Vendetti, and Patricia to John Von Paris.

″This is not something they planned,″ said Ms. Baroody, Patricia’s mother.

Months later, the couples unwittingly chose the same wedding date, Oct. 18, 1986. Happenstance continued as the sisters, who both live in the Baltimore area, learned during a shore vacation last summer that their fifth children were both expecting their first babies early in May.

″I fell off my chair,″ Ms. Baroody said.


MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - The Sardis Lake Smokers worked on their rap music and put the final touches on their sauce as Memphis’ 12th annual barbecue cooking contest got under way on a sunny bluff overlooking the Mississippi River.

″We not only dance and do a jig. We do our best when we cook our pig,″ the rap boomed from a tape player Thursday as the Smokers from Sardis Lake, Miss., braced for three days of barbecue and beer.

The barbecue contest, with 175 teams from around the country and abroad, is one of the liveliest of more than two dozen events in the city’s monthlong Memphis In May Festival.

Last year’s teams cooked 51,000 pounds of pork, and 80,000 spectators and participants turned out.

Cooking teams will compete for a total of $10,000 in prize money. Judging is Saturday.

The main competition is for pork only, but a new twist has been added this year, an ″anything but″ competition Friday night that includes such entries as barbecue alligator, coon, mountain oysters and goat.

Barbecue participants and spectators also will take part in a Porker Promenade parade, a Ms. Piggie contest and a hog-calling competition.

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