Weird Crimes: Pringles Wine and Face-Licking Edition

In a world full of horrible, violent crimes, I find myself seeking out and clinging to the weird crime stories. Luckily, this past month has given us two excellent examples to ponder. Even better, they both involve women perpetrators (#whorunstheworld #girlcrimebosses).

First, a woman in Wichita Falls, Texas was banned from the local Walmart. Her crime? Driving an electric shopping cart in the parking lot while drinking wine from a Pringles can between the hours of 6:30 to 9 in the morning.

There’s a lot to unpack there. First off, wait a hot second….you can drink wine out of Pringles can???? How did I not know this?

Writer Matt Pomanz at Food & Wine had the same thought, so he got scientific about it, and Pomanz conducted an experiment “testing the viability of Pringles’ packaging as a wine vessel.” He found that, if you can get past the chip smell, a Pringles can is actually a pretty inspired drinking vessel. It’s waterproof, the plastic top does a good job containing liquid inside and it can accommodate 750 milliliters of liquid, the equivalent of a whole bottle of wine.

That durability and adaptability might also be why Pringles cans seem to be the vessel of choice for smuggling things like Californian coral to Mexico or king cobras from Hong Kong or a live bird from Malaysia or the can inventors remains, or yes, even something as pedestrian and expected as drugs or money. It really is a surprisingly useful and ingenious container.

I actually agree with VICE’s take, which declared the incident as indicative of the national mood of 2019. I can actually relate to this. The idea of just riding around in circles in a parking lot drinking wine out of a Pringles can while watching the sun come up before heading off down the road for breakfast at a restaurant actually sounds sort of meditative—a form of self-care. Vice stated that the mystery wine drinker “is truly the hero that we, as a country, deserve right now.”

For true enlightenment, scratch out “cup” and replace with “Pringles container.”

And, unlike our next weird crime, nobody got hurt. (Besides, there are certainly much worse things that have happened in Walmart parking lots in Texas recently.)

The other story involved the resignation of a Florida city commissioner who was accused of sexually harassing a fellow city official by licking his face back in 2012.

You read that right: she licked his face.

Words fail. Unlike our previous weird crime story, I cannot relate. I cannot imagine the circumstances that would drive someone to lick a relative stranger’s face and neck. And I do not understand how one would derive sexual pleasure from performing such an act. But I will say, it is certainly invasive and would be incredibly off-putting for the victim.

The Washington Post had a very thorough, 1,144-word story on Madeira Beach City Commissioner Nancy Oakley’s assault on then-City Manager Shawn Crawford.

“…after the otherwise low-key meeting concluded, Oakley walked up to Crawford again. She allegedly licked his neck and the side of his face, slowly working her way up from his Adam’s apple, and groped him by grabbing at his crotch and buttocks.”

And apparently, it wasn’t the first time she had used her tongue as an assault weapon, according to at least three other men who testified before the Florida Commission on Ethics that Oakley had also licked their faces in public without their consent.

The Crawford face-licking incident occurred at a commission meeting that occurred at the King of the Beach fishing tournament, and at the time, I honestly thought that there might not be anything is more Florida redneck than a city commission meeting held on the beach with alcohol at a fishing tournament.

Then I read about one of the other incidents involving another male former Madeira Beach city employee, who

“told investigators that Oakley had licked him during the opening of a Bubba Gump’s restaurant. Maxemow said that Oakley had been intoxicated at the time, and licked his face and neck in the presence of her husband, who quickly escorted her from the building.”

Yup, an incident at a ribbon cutting for a Bubba Gump’s restaurant in front of her own husband. Not to get all Jeff Foxworthy, but Nancy, you might be a redneck.  

For the record, Oakley, who has resigned as city commissioner, admits she had been drinking the day of the King of the Beach fishing tournament (“some beer and possibly a cocktail,” according to Oakley. “A Tervis tumbler filled with alcohol,” according to another witness. To which I say, as one does.)

Nevertheless, the woman nicknamed “Nasty Nancy” maintains her innocence against all complaints and charges, and says she’s looking into avenues to clear her good name.

My favorite quote is towards the bottom of the Washington Post story, where one co-worker is being asked by the state ethics commission investigating the complaint if she ever told anyone else about the licking assault she had witnessed. “I mean, she licked a lot of people, sir. So everyone kind of talked about the fact that she licked people. That’s what she did when she got drunk.”

Somebody needs to get Nancy this $57 Face Licker lollipop. 

At least she wasn’t operating an electric shopping cart.

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Places I Never Thought I’d Go (or, be let into): Walt Disney World

I have tried several times now to sit down and write about our March trip to Cambodia, but I struggle with it each time.

Basically, Cambodia broke my heart.

A sign at tuol sleng prison reminding you that visiting a prison is not a laughing matter.
A sign at Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum reminding you that laughter is not appropriate when visiting a former prison/torture/execution site.

It’s not just the fact that its people are desperately poor. I’ve been to plenty of economically disadvantaged places. My personal-travel-arranger-for-life XFE pointed out that many parts of Peru were very, very poor, and yet, I had hardly mentioned it when we visited in 2013. In hindsight, I suppose I was distracted by the intestinal parasites that were slam dancing through my bowels like it was an Anthrax concert to notice or comment on anything that was going on around me.

And, it wasn’t just the fact that Cambodia and its people had gone through a horrific genocide in the late 1970s. Again, pointing to Peru, which had its own history of internal terrorism. Or Croatia, which we visited in 2013 (dang, 2013 was a good travel year!) and had its own very recent, very violent ethnic wars. Or even Bali, which we visited just last year. That peaceful oasis lost roughly five percent of the island’s population as part of a hysterical anti-Communist purge during the Indonesian killings of 1965-1966. And well, we also went to South Africa last year (again, another damn good year for travel!), and we all know about South Africa’s long and tortured history.

(I swear, we’re not thanatourists. It’s just that every country seems to have some seriously messed up period in their history.)

Anyway, Cambodia’s recent history and continuing struggle to overcome its past moved me deeply and just made me very, very sad.

So, let’s switch gears abruptly and talk about the happiest place on Earth, shall we?

If you can't tell, I'm a bit creeped out.
If you can’t tell, I’m a bit creeped out.

I’ve been working on a freelance project involving the travel industry for the last five months. Thanks to that work, I was able to attend a major industry conference in Orlando recently. It was amazing. Seriously impressive. And one of the most impressive events was a private evening for conference attendees at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Now, I had never been to any Disney properties. Not for any political reasons or anything. It’s just that when you grow up in a trailer park, trips to magical pixie theme parks in far off California or Florida aren’t really a part of your childhood reality. Sure, we visited the Alamo once and the beach in Galveston, but definitely not anywhere out of state. My experiences with amusement parks involved a couple of trips to Six Flags and El Paso’s now defunct Magic Landing, which was a lot less magical than the name might suggest (lots of maimings and accidents during its four-year run).

To be truthful, I had built up a hardened adult shell towards all things Disney. I figured it was just a big scam to fill children’s brains with fantasy and drive them so mad with consumerist desire that they make their parents crazy until they fling their hard-earned money at every colorfully-clad mermaid or cricket or talking candlestick that approached them holding a t-shirt or snow cone.

I’m still not completely convinced that that’s not the primary objective, but I gotta say, Walt Disney Resort was pretty freaking magical. A group of about 6,000 of us arrived at dusk and were greeted by rows and rows of very friendly workers who were waving and smiling. This immediately aroused my suspicions. Working late for a private party? And you’re all happy with this? I figured they must be getting paid some serious overtime.

Minnie, one of our overlords....I mean, gracious hosts. (Photo Kerry Tice)
Minnie, one of our overlords….I mean, gracious hosts. (Photo by Kerry)

Next up, hitting some rides. I was totally unfamiliar with the different lands that were open to us (Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Magic Kingdom, Boardwalk, Downtown), or their offerings. But, I had two experienced travel writers with me and they were Disney experts. They knew what rides were new and where they were, and they prioritized appropriately.

The rides were fun, nothing too scary or jarring. I was awestruck by the incredible attention to detail. When you flew over London in the Peter Pan or glided past Ursula in the Under the Sea ride, you really felt like you were there, inside the movie. But best of all, because it was a private event, there were no lines. No lines on anything, which is, I believe, unheard of.

Practically all to ourselves (Photo borrowed from Kerry Tice)
Practically all to ourselves (Photo borrowed from Kerry)

Since it was a party, there were free drinks (not even a tip jar, y’all) and some seriously great food that just kept being replenished without anyone seemingly bringing it out. I mean, I know they did and must have, but it seemed like there was just a ton of staff keeping an eye on things and making sure everything went smoothly. Again, they were all incredibly nice and patient, which then caused me to ask a few of them if Disney maybe gave them some special “happy vitamins” before their shift every day. I also urged one employee to blink three times if he was being held against his will. He just nicely asked me if I’d like some more lobster mac and cheese. (To which I obviously said, “hell yeah.”)

Photo borrowed from Kerry Tice.
Photo borrowed from Kerry. Those are some LeFeu Brew wenches in the background.

There were plenty of trash cans everywhere, but they were all painted to blend in with their surroundings and none of them were full or overflowing with discarded LeFeu Brews (a delicious nonalcoholic frozen drink that was being handed out at Gaston’s Pub.)

Photo: Kerry Tice
Photo: Kerry

It was fantastic. I used to think that these kinds of things (or, “experiences” to use travel industry parlance) were a rip off, but at Disney, you totally see where the money goes. And I’ve got to think a big part of the budget (besides the special “happy vitamins,” but I’m sure they get a discount) has got to be the fireworks. Those fireworks were amazing. I worried that it was all some trick and they were now going to burn the entire place down. They even run sprinklers on the roofs of the nearby buildings so that a random spark won’t catch on fire.

Then, when we were leaving, another parade of characters no doubt sweating in their elaborate costumes and heavy makeup. Including some of the characters from “Frozen,” who might have had it the worst of all, swathed in furs that were not at all weather appropriate for Florida.

I went in to Disney’s Magic Kingdom a skeptical adult and came out three hours later as a grinning……well, still an adult, but I did get into the spirit of things. I even put on a pair of free mouse ears to take pictures before passing off said free mouse ears to someone else who had children.

(Oh, one creepy side note about those “free” mouse ears….they lit up. And not only did they light up, they were synchronized with the rest of the 6,000 attendees free mouse ears. Which means we all lit up at the same time, in the same color and same pattern. So, yeah. Cult-like brainwashing isn’t totally off the table.)

With my two Disney experts.
With my two Disney experts.