In the Blue Corner…

“People all have a conception in their head of what a pillow fight is all about,” says Don “The Mouth” Lovranski, Case’s co-investor and the big-voiced announcer for the shows.

“When they come to it, though, they see it’s not hot blonds in negligees; the fights are real, and there’s some fun to it. I think that’s what the appeal is.”

Case himself is league commissioner, a role that becomes part caricature once the ring lights brighten and the pillows come out. As the boss, he has to play the heel. Another cohort, Matt Harsant, becomes Matt Patterson, a throwback-style referee complete with a bow-tie and limited patience.

But it’s the fighters that make the show, and they come in all shapes and sizes, with names like Sarah Bellum, the smart one, and Boozy Suzie, who enters the ring with a beer that referee Patterson confiscates with a stern wave of his finger.

Lynn Somnia staggers to the ring in a hospital gown with electrodes dangling, apparently released from her sleep-deprivation chamber.

Top contenders include Betty Clock’er — by day a financial editor and by night a cushion-swinging housewife who brings a plate of cookies to ringside — and Polly Esther, billed as the waitress from hell (“And somebody’s gonna get served!,” The Mouth bellows as she struts toward the ring).

While the personas are all good fun, the action in the ring is real, and as Case is quick to point out, unscripted.

The rules are simple: women only, no lewd behavior, and moves such as leg drops or submission holds are allowed as long as a pillow is used. After that, it’s up to the combatants.

For the fighters, there’s a small stipend, and a chance of fame if the popularity of the league continues to grow. But it’s also a hobby, and maybe even has a therapeutic appeal for players like Polly Esther, who got her snarky waitress persona the hard way, during 20 years of waiting tables.

“All the people I’ve served over the years, the bad customers, the bad tips, Polly doesn’t take it.” she says. “She lashes out. She hates everybody, but she’s not going to leave her job.”

This past weekend, Polly didn’t disappoint, torquing her long arms to deliver punishing pillow blows to Betty Clock’er in a fight to decide who will travel to New York this week to face PFL title holder Champain, an event Case is hoping will give an adrenaline shot to the league’s profile.

The bigger picture involves a TV deal. Case says he has already turned down bids that didn’t offer the mix of attention to the action and characters that he says makes the league more of a draw to the arts community than the mud-wrestling crowd.

The scene this past Friday would seem to bear him out, as the nearly 500 screaming fans looked more like an art-house movie crowd than a boxing audience.

The cheers reach a crescendo as Betty Clock’er fights off Polly Esther’s roundhouse hits, then unleashes a well executed pillow-leg takedown and pins Esther for the three-count. I gotta check this out!

Hard to find a doctor in Perth

Daphne is 78 years old, a widow, a grandmother, doesn’t have a car, doesn’t have a doctor after hers of 20 years suddenly closed his practice three weeks ago for personal reasons, and Daphne decided, why not?

She took out the following personal ad Jan. 5 in the Perth Courier newspaper to attempt to resolve this situation:

78-year-old lady looking for a medical doctor in Perth. Blood pressure and RLS under control. Last major illness in 1958, an appendectomy. Not planning any major illness for the next 10 years. I make muffins to share!! Help! Phone 613-267-4408 and leave a message.

There are 14 doctors listed in Perth, population 6,000. None has answered her ad offering to take her on as a patient. Not even with her offer of muffins.

“I bake muffins,” she says. “Blueberry and apricot. I took some into a doctor’s office because someone told me he had taken on a new patient. I got up at 5:30 a.m. to start making my muffins. I didn’t get to see him. His secretary said he wasn’t taking any more patients. It was the same with two other doctors’ offices I phoned. I knew one of them quite well, and the other by reputation.”

Daphne, who before she and her late aeronautical-engineer husband moved to Perth 20 years ago, was mortgage manager for a bank in Ottawa, knows doctors are overburdened and often stressed out, and she sympathizes. “I guess doctors worry about taking on older patients because they think they’ll be a big burden.” She adds: “But, I’m very low maintenance. I haven’t had what you’d call a real illness for about nine years.”

She visited her past doctor four times in the past year, but only to get her prescriptions filled, and although she’s on medications for her high blood pressure and Restless Leg Syndrome, and has enough pills to last her a little while longer, and her overall health is good, and she’s physically active in the Kiwanis Club, and as a volunteer at the Salvation Army thrift shop, and goes for a vigorous two-kilometre walk every day, she is 78 and no one that age should be without a doctor.

This story makes me think of the Seinfeld episode where Ellain was getting bad remarks placed in her medical history.

Snakes….I mean scorpions on planes…

A Vermont man on a flight home from Chicago was stung twice on the leg by a scorpion – the second such incident to take place in a week.

David Sullivan, 46, was aboard the United Airlines flight on the second leg of his Jan. 3 trip home from San Francisco, where he and his wife Helena had been visiting their sons. He awoke from a nap shortly before landing and noticed something strange.

“My right leg felt like it was asleep, but that was isolated to one spot, and it felt like it was being jabbed with a sharp piece of plastic or something.”

The second sting came after the plane landed and the Sullivans were waiting for their bags at the luggage carousel. Sullivan rolled up his cuff to investigate, and the scorpion fell out.

“It felt like a shock, a tingly thing. Someone screamed, ‘It’s a scorpion,’ ” Sullivan recalled. Another passenger stepped on the five-centimetre-long arachnid, and someone suggested Sullivan seek medical help.

He scooped up the scorpion and headed to the hospital in Burlington. His wife stopped at the United counter and was told the plane they were on had flown from Houston to Chicago. The Sullivans surmised the scorpion boarded in Texas. 

United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said the incident “is something that we will investigate and look into. We’re very sorry for what happened. Our customer safety and security is our No. 1 priority.”

It was the second scorpion-related airline incident to take place this week. On Sunday a scorpion stung a man on board a Toronto-bound flight, causing an hour-long delay at Pearson airport.

The arachnid apparently got through security in Costa Rica in the man’s carry-on knapsack, said airline officials.

The man, who is expected to make a full recovery, was preparing to return to Canada from a Costa Rican camping trip with his brother when the scorpion crawled into his bag undetected.

Scorpion stings are rarely fatal, except to babies or older people with health problems, said Dr. Stephen Leffler, director of emergency services at Burlington’s Fletcher Allen Health Care hospital.

For a healthy adult, a scorpion sting can mean numbness or shooting pain extending out from the site of the strike, or flu-like symptoms, which Sullivan said he had the next day.

Is this a new type of terrorism?