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On The Light Side

June 7, 1988

DALLAS (AP) _ Two dozen contestants tried their charms on Carmen, but a 4-year-old boy was the only one able to spark the interest of the 5-foot-long boa constrictor.

″I can make a sound like a snake,″ Cole Anglin said as he looked into the serpent’s eyes. ″I can. Listen. Ssssssssssssss.″

Carmen slithered with interest. Cole backed away.

The boy was declared the winner of the Dallas Zoo’s snake-charming contest because he was the only one able to coax Carmen into moving. He won a certificate worth $40 at a restaurant.

Others tried to tempt the snake from her wooden perch Sunday, but Carmen turned them down cold.

Gordhan Patel, a 51-year-old hospital worker who successfully sweet-talked Carmen last year, wasn’t able to repeat the feat.

Perhaps it was because Patel used the same line: ″You like pizza? Spaghetti? Oh, you like the birds - chicken.″

Nicky Waters, 11, tried to make Carmen flinch. ″Look out, there’s a truck,″ Nicky said. When that didn’t work, he tried, ″How about a fat, juicy rat?″

Each competitor was allowed one minute to stand before Carmen, and try to coax it into motion. Three judges gauged audience and serpent reaction.

The contest was part of the zoo’s ″Snakes of the Metroplex″ weekend, an exhibit of snakes indigenous to the region. Boa constrictors like Carmen, however, in the wild live in Central and South America.

The event presents the good side of snakes, which have been slapped with a bad reputation ″since Adam and Eve,″ said zoo spokeswoman Victoria Furber.

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DUNKIRK, N.Y. (AP) - A physics professor set a world record in a corker of an event.

Heinrich Medicus on Sunday opened a bottle of champagne to launch a cork 177 feet and 9 inches, beating the mark set last year of more than 68 feet at Kensington, England’s Oval Cricket Grounds.

A land surveyor used laser equipment to measure the shot, and a wine expert testified that the bottles of champagne used were undoctored.

Medicus, a professor at Rensselear Polytechnic Institute in Troy, plans to send the results to the Guiness Book of World Records.

The victory was especially sweet for Medicus, whose much-heralded attempt to break the record at the Saratoga Polo Club Grounds last year literally fizzled.

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