Minnesota couple nears 74th anniversary
ST. CLOUD, Minn., Feb. 13 (UPI) -- After nearly 74 years of marriage, Tony and Rose Ament of St. Cloud, Minn., say they still tell each other "I love you" every night at bedtime.
The Aments, who the Worldwide Marriage Encounter says have the longest marriage in Minnesota, "are an inspiration to all couples," their daughter-in-law, Karen, Ament, told the St. Cloud Times.
"They always put family and community first, and it's good for young people to see," she said.
The Aments, who have four children, 11 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren, will mark their 74th wedding anniversary in April at the care center where they live, the Times reported Sunday.
Rose says life with Tony, who turns 100 in July, has been easy because "things ... just fit."
"He liked me when he saw me. I liked him when I saw him," Rose said. "I think he still enjoys me and loves me."
"Ehhhh, well," Tony replied with a smile, prompting laughter from both of them.
He even still calls her "sweetie" and "honey" from time to time and says "we shake hands when we go to bed and say 'I love you.'"
If the Aments have any advice for young lovers just setting out on a lifetime together, it might be to work hard and be financially prudent -- they never had a mortgage.
"We see all these young people eating out and drinking and Lord knows that's costing them a mint," Rose said.
Two beer-belly contestants share crown
LAKESIDE, Calif., Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Two men -- one of whom said he plays Santa Claus every year -- were crowned Mr. Beer Belly 2011 in a California huge-gut contest, observers said.
Mike Perine, 65, of Lakeside, who plays the jolly red-suited fellow at Christmas time, and Dallas Glover, 30, of Santee, were the co-winners of Saturday's contest at the Eastbound Bar & Grill in Lakeside in San Diego County, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Approximately 100 people watched the hourlong event as the contestants -- six men and one woman -- strutted their stuff before three judges, the Union-Tribune reported.
Staci Colia, 24, of Lakeside got booted out early -- her tummy just wasn't all that big, the newspaper said.
"I'm a little bummed," Colia said.
Contestant Dan Deaton, 59, of Santee, said his motorcycle club cohorts call him "Bellyman Dan."
"I drink lots of beer -- Coor's Light," said hopeful Cody Alves, 22, of Lakeside.
Contestants were judged on "overall aesthetics, overall presentation and overall circumference."
'Weird' mouse taxidermy a revived art rage
NEW YORK, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- A New York City gallery taxidermy class in which dead mice are used to create human-like figurines sold out in 4 hours, the teacher said.
Observatory Art Space in the trendy Gowanus neighborhood of New York's Brooklyn borough offered the $45, 3-hour, "anthropomorphic taxidermy" class, and has had to add three more sessions to meet the demand, the New York Post reported Sunday.
The art form is a "bizarre Victorian hobby that featured mice, squirrels and cats in various forms of dress, the Post reported.
Once popular in high Victorian society, such stuffed animals were sometimes set up in tableaux and were featured in Scudder's American Museum in scenes of weddings and banquets, the Post reported.
Mouse taxidermy was featured in the 2010 movie "Dinner for Schmucks," in which actor Steve Carell removed dead mice from the street to stuff and arrange them as humanized figures, the Post said.
The Post did not speculate as to whether the movie influenced the renewed interest in the art form.
The gallery will have a Hamlet mouse dressed in a cape and a green-haired punk-rocker mouse to inspire the students in the class.
"It looks less like an animal and more like a weird art project," said the teacher, taxidermist Susan Jeiven, 39, who also is a tattoo artist.
Jeiven said she procures the frozen mice from snake-feed shops, thaws them out and draws out their blood with a syringe.
Students will scrape out the animals' entrails with razors and remove the bones. Borox and strong chemicals are use to preserve their coats. Students will then create clay mold and sew the skins on, using wire to set the vermin in the desired pose, Jeiven said.
Kinkajou returned to owner
FORT WORTH, Texas, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- A missing kinkajou suffering from frostbite to one paw has been reunited with its owner in Texas, sheriff's officials said.
A kinkajou is a small mammal related to the raccoon, and it is normally found in Central and South America, but this animal belonged to a little girl, said the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram.
The animal turned up in a Johnson County home after escaping from its owner, and apparently ran into another house to get out of the cold.
"At first they thought he might lose his foot to frostbite," said Detective Steve Shaw of the Johnson County Sheriff's Department. "But now it looks like it might just be a toe or two."
The animals don't normally make great pets, but having one isn't uncommon, said KXAS-TV, Dallas/Fort Worth.
The animals can be friendly, but can turn vicious and aggressive if they're scared.
Veterinarians caring for the animal feared it could lose a paw to frostbite, but later determined it might lose only a toe.
Being native to South and Central America, the kinkajou doesn't like cold temperatures, the report said.