'Owling' follows 'Planking'
WASHINGTON, July 26 (UPI) -- A new photo fad called "owling" is quickly catching on at Internet networking sites, fans of the posing activity say.
Owling involves nothing more than crouching in odd locations, staring into the distance and acting like an owl for a photograph, Washington's WTOP-FM reported Monday.
Yet, the Facebook page for the photo craze has 16,548 "Likes," and has photo and video posts from around the world, including the United States, Australia and Britain.
The trend has also taken over Twitter and YouTube.
Owling comes after another odd activity, "planking," in which people take pictures of themselves in random places lying rigidly face down and post them on the Internet.
Owlers list themselves as a professional sports team, and have created their own online community called "Owl Posts," a place just for owlers.
NASCAR invocation thanks God for engines
GLADEVILLE, Tenn., July 25 (UPI) -- A Tennessee preacher injected some humor into his invocation at a NASCAR race by thanking God for engine manufacturers, fuel and tires.
The Rev. Joe Nelms of the Family Baptist Church in Gladeville gave the invocation before Saturday's Nationwide Federated Auto Parts 300 in the city and thanked God for engine makers Roush and Yates "partnering to give us the power that we see before us tonight," The (Nashville) Tennessean reported Monday.
The pastor also thanked the Lord for "Sonoco racing fuel and Goodyear tires that bring performance and power to the track."
Nelms also referenced Will Ferrell's character Ricky Bobby from "Talladega Nights" by thanking God for his "smokin' hot wife."
"In Jesus' name, Boogity Boogity Boogity, amen," Nelms said, quoting NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip.
Race winner Carl Edwards said he enjoyed the humor in the prayer.
"I turned to Jack (Roush) after that. I said, 'If anything happens, I want him to be at my funeral.' That was one of the best invocations I have ever heard," Edwards said.
Man fights for yard cross
LIVINGSTON, N.J., July 25 (UPI) -- A New Jersey man who put a cross in his yard to mark Lent said he will fight back against township officials who forced him to take it down.
Patrick Racaniello of Livingston said he initially put a small cross on a tree in his yard to mark the Christian season from Ash Wednesday to Easter and replaced it with a larger cross when township officials informed him of an ordinance banning postings on structures -- trees included -- "calculated to attract the attention of the public," The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger reported Monday.
Racaniello said he replaced the item with a larger, free-standing cross in his yard, but officials threatened him with fines and he took it down.
Racaniello contacted the Christian lawyer group Alliance Defense Fund, which said it will take the case to court if the township does not allow Racaniello to display his cross.
"We believe this is private property, and therefore he has a right to engage in this expression," alliance lawyer Jonathan Scruggs said. "We believe that either cross is protected by the First Amendment."
Sharon Weiner, an attorney for the township, said the township is "very sensitive" to Racaniello's First Amendment rights.
"They're making it out that, because it's a cross, we're not allowing it. That's not so. It's a content-neutral regulation," Weiner said.
American has world's best beard
OLYPMIA, Wash., July 25 (UPI) -- A 26-year-old Olympia, Wash., man took first place in the 2011 World Beard and Mustache Championships "full beard with styled mustache" category, officials say.
Burke Kenny's win in Trondheim, Norway, was the second time he took first place in the same category, The Olympian in Olympia, Wash., reported. He first won the "full beard with styled mustache" category in England four years ago, where he also became the youngest international facial-hair champion.
"I don't take it extremely seriously," Kenny told The Olympian. "I like to be an honorable gentleman and present myself honorably."
Kenny began growing his winning beard and mustache combo when he was about 20 while attending Evergreen State College; his biggest facial hair influence is his father.
"My dad is definitely my No. 1 inspiration," Kenny said. "He's had a mustache for 30 years."
Kenny is one of six Beard Team USA members to take home gold medals from this year's championship, four of whom are from Washington state.
The gold medalist says he uses his facial hair to promote understand and acceptance for big beard wears.
"I encourage men to grow quality facial hair, if they can," Kenny said. "And wear it humbly."