Video: Contest of a lifetime

By Brian Tracey Associate editor
msnbc.com
updated 6/5/2008 7:47:52 PM ET 2008-06-05T23:47:52
COMMENTARY

Elaine Fulps is thrilled about the prize she won at a minor league baseball game. But she's hoping she doesn't have to collect on it anytime soon. Fulps, 60, won a $10,000 paid funeral at Tuesday night's Grand Prairie, Texas AirHogs game.

The prize won't expire until after Fulps does, said Ron Alexander, the sales manager at Oak Grove Memorial Gardens, which partnered with the team and Irving's Chapel of Roses Funeral Home to sponsor the event.

"I almost croaked many times," said Fulps, who was wearing a neck brace — the most recent effect of about 20 surgeries she's undergone for various medical problems. "God still has me around for a reason. To win a funeral."

Fans in this Dallas suburb were eager to join in the grim fun.

Some finalists for the prize arrived dressed in black or looking like death. The finalists participated in a pallbearer's race, a mummy wrap and a eulogy delivery.

Fulps, randomly chosen as the winner at night's end, said she'll choose a casket and plot as soon as she recovers.

"I'm going to pick a spot under a tree out of the Texas heat," she told The Dallas Morning News. "And let's hope it's a pet-free cemetery. I don't want to get watered on."

We don't think this is a very good baseball promotion. Unless Phelps can be buried under home plate.

Undersea Champagne
Last week we were thrilled to hear about the first "space beer" to be made in Japan, so we should not be surprised the contrarian French are going in the opposite direction: one of the nation's oldest Champagne producers is testing a new way of aging its bubbly — on the seabed off northern France.

Louis Roederer wants to find out if its wine tastes better if it is kept in cold sea water and is rocked by currents than in the cellars of the city of Reims, where it is normally stored.

Roederer said on Monday it had placed several dozen bottles 50 feet underwater in the bay of Mont Saint-Michel, a rocky tidal island off the coast of Normandy, last weekend.

A wine-cellar worker came up with the idea after realizing that the water temperature in the bay, a constant 50 degrees Fahrenheit was ideal for aging wine.

In 12 months' time, Roederer will hold a tasting session to compare Champagne from the bottles kept on the seabed with those from its cellars.

Roederer is the first producer to test the unusual aging method for sparkling wine. Other firms have tried it out in the past four years for still wines, including red Crozes-Hermitage, white Muscadet and white Burgundy.

They ought to market all these vintages together with the slogan: "We'll serve no wine before high tide!"

See Mom get cosmetic surgery
No one's confusing this M.D. with Dr. Seuss: A plastic surgeon has written a children's book explaining nose jobs, fat-reduction surgery, and breast implants.

Dr. Michael Salzhauer, from Miami, wrote "My Beautiful Mommy," which comes complete with cartoon-style illustrations. He says it's to help four to seven-year-olds prepare for their parents' plastic surgery so they aren't shocked by the results.

But the book, which tells the story of a little girl whose mother gets a tummy tuck, breast implants and nose job, has been criticized for encouraging young people that everyone should have plastic surgery.

It follows the mom through first consultation until after her surgery as she explains to her children what is going to happen.

At one point the girl asks: "Why are you going to look different?" Mom responds: "Not just different, my dear — prettier!"

Dr. Salzhauer, a father of five, says the book is not meant to be a regular children's bedtime story but plays a specific purpose.

Yea, to drum up business.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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