Erica Deramous and her prom dress. Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star

Southern oddities and entities:

Oxford High School in Calhoun County, Alabama, disciplined 25 students for the way they dressed for this year’s prom.  Some were suspended; some were spanked.  Erica Deramous told the Anniston Star that she was not trying to make a statement, disobey school policy or flaunt herself but just wanted to enjoy her senior prom.  She was suspended for three days anyway. Her mother said Erica was told her dress was too short and cut too low in front.

“We’re a high school and our community has certain expectations of what is appropriate.” Oxford principal Trey Holladay told the Star.  Saks High, another Calhoun County school, tries to avoid fashion liberties by having  the family consumer science teacher approve all prom dresses beforehand.

In other prom cruelties, Constance McMillen, the Itawamba County, Mississippi, teen whose desire to take a same-sex date to the prom resulted in school officials canceling the event, apparently was punk’d when she attended a private prom over the weekend. reported that only five other students showed up for that prom, along with the school principal and some teachers acting as chaperones.  Meanwhile, many other students went to another private prom sponsored by Itawamba parents that Constance was not invited to.

  • When being rich is not enough: Participants say they didn’t mean to offend when they donned “white trash” outfits for the Gentlemen of the Garden’s Cracker Ball in Palm Beach, Florida.  “I can promise you there was nothing demeaning going on,” Maribel Alvarez, a PR maven who attended the party, told Palm Beach Post columnist Jose Lambiet.  Not that we’re offended, but one guest wore a fake pregnant belly under a shirt that read: “Sleeps with Dogs.” Another sported a fake black eye.
  • But she didn’t have a fake black eye: Limestone County, Alabama, authorities have accused a woman of operating a puppy mill and keeping dead dogs in her freezer.
  • He may have slept with dogs: Erick Erickson, temporary talk-show host at WMAC-AM in Macon, Georgia, as well as a CNN contributor and managing editor of, is drawing national attention for saying he’d pull his wife’s shotgun on any U.S. Census Bureau “twerp” who tried to get him to fill out a survey.
  • Slipping with dogs: A Poquoson, Virginia, man who said he fell after stepping in dog feces at a PetSmart store has filed a $1 million negligence lawsuit against the company.
  • Some stranger photographs you naked through a keyhole, then what happens? The Norfolk, Virginia, office of the FBI is investigating death threats against ESPN sportscaster and “Dancing With the Stars” contestant Erin Andrews.
  • Biscuit Lady dies: Carol Fay Ellison, who became known as the Biscuit Lady at Nashville’s Loveless Cafe’ and cooked up biscuits on the Food Network and with Martha Stewart and Conan O’Brien, died after a 3½-week hospitalization at the age of 48.
  • The Bingong Show: The raids are temporarily suspended, but the wackiness surrounding electronic bingo in Alabama now has two state senators claiming they were offered money to vote for a bingo referendum but were too upright to vote that way.  Then, there’s poor state Sen. Bobby Denton, a Muscle Shoals Democrat, who says he was interviewed by four FBI agents after he voted for a gambling bill for the first time in his 32-year legislative career.  He says he had no idea what they were talking about and had never before had his integrity attacked.

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Ron Taylor

Ron Taylor

Ron Taylor was born and raised in Georgia and worked more than 40 years at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a reporter and editor and as an online producer for and AccessAtlanta. He served for a time as the newspaper's regional editor, overseeing coverage of the South. He is co-author, with Dr. Leonard Ray Teel, of Into the Newsroom:  An Introduction to Journalism and has conducted workshops in the Middle East on feature writing.