Moviegoer Wants Out of the Closet

One "Chronicles of Narnia" fan just needed a little storage help.

Dedicated British "Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" fan Milton Soskin wrote letters to several theaters asking for permission to watch the film dressed up as a wardrobe, according to The Daily Telegraph.

The 25-year-old's letter to the Dendy, Greater Union and Hoyts theaters, written in January, never received a serious answer.

The man who would be furniture explained that he knew his bulky costume would cause problems for other moviegoers, but said he required a seat "in the middle, close to the front." in his letter to the cinemas.

"Even though I will be sitting in your cinema dressed like a bedroom ornament, I promise not to draw any unwitting attention to myself," Soskin wrote.

"I will not talk during the film ... my mobile phone will most definitely be turned off ... In short I will be the perfect cinema patron. It's just that I will be wearing a wardrobe," he wrote.

The Daily Telegraph posted a pic of the wardrobe wannabe's costume on their Web site.

"I never heard back from Hoyts. The Dendy told me they weren't screening it but if I wanted to come out of the closet I could come and watch 'Brokeback Mountain,'" Soskin told The Daily Telegraph on Sunday.

The Greater Union Megaplex in North Ryde told The Daily Telegraph Soskin could watch a Sunday screening sporting his outfit made of IKEA door handles plywood and gaffer tape free of charge.

The man who would be furniture said he absolutely had to make the wardrobe run alone.

"My friends said they wouldn't be in it. They were pretty emphatic," Soskin told The Daily Telegraph.

"I chose the wardrobe because ... when you first see it there is a real sense of wonder about what is on the other side," he said.

— Thanks to Out There reader Alex K.

I Say, But Aren't You a Dirty Little Yank?

A Napeague, N.Y., boat captain who put a message in a bottle out to sea says he got a nasty reply from Britain accusing him of littering, according to the East Hampton Star.

"I kind of felt like no good deed goes unpunished," Harvey Bennett, 55, told the paper.

In August, Bannett had placed five such plastic bottles in the ocean off Long Island.

He excitedly opened his reply from England last month — and was shocked by the contents:

"I recently found your bottle while taking a scenic walk on the beach by Poole Harbour. While you may consider this some profound experiment on the path and speed" of "oceanic currents, I have another name for it, litter.

"You Americans don't seem to be happy unless you are mucking about somewhere," said the letter, signed by one Henry Biggelsworth of Bournemouth, in Dorset County.

My Hero! No, You're MY Hero!

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A teenager recently got the chance to thank the woman who saved his life — by saving hers.

The 17-year-old successfully performed the Heimlich maneuver on the choking woman in the restaurant where he was washing dishes. Then his mother recognized the woman as the nurse who performed CPR on him in 1999 after he was struck in the chest by a baseball bat.

More than a week after the Jan. 27 incident, Kevin Stephan and Penny Brown are still surprised by the coincidence.

"It was meant to happen," said Stephan, now a volunteer firefighter. "I'm Catholic, and I believe the Lord kind of set things up."

As for Brown, she says, "One good turn deserves another."

The intensive-care nurse at Buffalo General Hospital says she can't think too much about the situation "without being freaked" by it.

On Saturday, the two met again at the Bowmansville Fire Hall where Stephan is a junior firefighter. He presented her with a bouquet of flowers, and his parents were also there to greet Brown.

— Thanks to Out There readers Jeremy L., Jessica L. and Kathi C.

What Part of Police Did You Not Understand?

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Deputy Ed Johnson was in uniform. He was also sitting in his marked patrol car. So he was a bit surprised when a man approached Friday and allegedly offered to sell him some cocaine.

Michael Garibay walked up to Johnson's car at a Mobil gas station and asked the Orange County deputy if he was "straight," according to arrest records.

When Johnson replied he was, Garibay responded, "Do you know what that means? .... It means do you want to buy some cocaine."

When Johnson said "yes," Garibay pulled out a plastic bag containing "several pieces of flat white rocks substances" and asked for cash, records show.

The deputy took the bag and arrested Garibay after the contents tested positive for cocaine, the Orlando Sentinel reported on its Web site.

Garibay was being held Friday in the Orange County Jail on $7,500 bail for alleged possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

— Thanks to Out There readers Derek H. and Michael A.

How do You Like Facing the Claw!

SCARBOROUGH, Maine (AP) — You don't have to be a fisherman to catch lobsters anymore. At a neighborhood store in this Portland suburb — and at restaurants and bars in more than a dozen states — customers can plunk down $2 for a chance to catch their very own lobster using a mechanical claw in an arcade-style game.

The apparatus is a new version of the old-style amusement game where players put in a quarter or two in hopes of grabbing a stuffed animal.

But instead of plush toys, the Love Maine Lobster Claw game has a water-filled tank full of lobsters.

When a lobster is caught, the restaurants cook it for free and serve it with side dishes.

"He looks like a keeper," said Frank Margel of Westbrook, eyeing a mottled-green crustacean at Eight Corners Market before giving the game a try.

It's easier said than done, however.

Unlike stationary stuffed animals, the lobsters flap their tails, flail their claws and squirm this way and that, making them elusive prey.

"Those lobsters are lively. They're ready for competition," Margel said a minute later — and $2 poorer — after the crustacean slipped away.

Marine Ecological Habitats in Biddeford has been making the Love Maine Lobster game for just over a year and sold a couple of dozen, said Joe Zucchero, the company president.

The Maine-made machines can be found in restaurants and bars in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Maine, Zucchero said. A Florida company, The Lobster Zone Inc., makes a similar machine that it says can be found in more than 20 states.

The game has its critics. Animal rights activists contend it's cruel to toss a lobster into a boiling pot of water. And playing with the creatures before sending them to their deaths rubs some people the wrong way.

"Turning animal cruelty into a game is absolutely hideous," said Karin Robertson of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

A restaurant in Pittsburgh removed its lobster game last week in response to PETA's campaign against the machines.

Paul Carrozzi, owner of Roland's Seafood Grill, said he doesn't agree the machine is inhumane, but removed it after receiving threatening e-mails and calls. "It just wasn't worth it," he said.

Zucchero maintains that the machine has a gentle claw that won't hurt the animals.

"If it did," he said, "we'd have problems because then it would be destroying our inventory."

— Click in the photo box above to see a pic of diving for lobsters.

Milk: The Secret to Eternal Life?

BRIGHTON, N.Y. (AP) — Maybe there's something to those "Got Milk?" ads.

Helen Barth celebrated her 108th birthday Wednesday at a suburban Rochester, N.Y., nursing home.

The former substitute teacher doesn't credit any one thing to her longevity. But she said she consumed plenty of milk and treated herself to ice cream at bedtime.

And she stayed active all her life, volunteering for various civic groups in the Rochester area. She swam frequently until she was older than 100, and lived on her own until she was 107.

When asked what wisdom she has gained from living so long, Barth said the key to old age is to "mingle, be friendly — and take things as they come."

— Thanks to Out There reader Greg M.

Ew! Run for It, Girls! It's a Man!

BLUE MOUNTAIN, Miss. (AP) — Blue Mountain College has opened its doors to a new type of student: men.

Eleven men have enrolled at the historically all-female school.

Brian Zemek, 19, decided to attend Blue Mountain because it was close to his home. He said that the experience has not been too strange — except for his Wednesday lunch hour, when he is usually the only male in the school's dining hall.

"I'm the odd man out," he said.

Blue Mountain, located about 35 miles northwest of Tupelo, first welcomed men in 1956 for religious vocations, but this is the first semester male students have been admitted to the school's regular 400-student undergraduate program.

Kelly Gates, 20, is another of the 11 men to newly enroll at the 133-year-old school. Both he and his wife attend Blue Mountain.

The English education major would have had to drive more than an hour each way to attend the University of Mississippi, if the college had not changed its policy.

"I feel really lucky," he said. "I'm saving a lot of money in gas."

Compiled by's Andrew Hard.

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