The amazing world of you could try a little harder

Mediocre rapper, amazing lawyer
The lawyer for rapper C-Murder, who angered authorities by recording parts of his upcoming music video and compact disc behind bars, has agreed to take only a pencil into jailhouse meetings.

The rapper, whose real name is Corey Miller, has been inside the Jefferson Parish jail for more than three years on a second-degree murder charge in the killing of a 16-year-old inside a nightclub.

During that time, a music video for his new album’s single showed Miller in an orange prison outfit in jail complaining that he and other poor blacks must endure racial profiling.

Ron Rakosky, Miller’s attorney, was barred from bringing anything but a pencil and pad into jail. Rakosky objected, saying Sheriff Harry Lee was "illegally intruding on the right of counsel" by barring documents related to Miller’s criminal defense.

Under a March 16 agreement, Rakosky can bring legal documents into the jail, but he can only use a pencil. Lee’s attorney said pens were barred because they are hollow and can be used to carry song lyrics.

Rakosky has also asked the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal to reconsider its March 10 decision upholding the rapper’s conviction.

If the conviction stands, Miller would spend the rest of his life in prison.

Mediocre childhood, amazing play title
Richard Pryor’s daughter is offering a peek at what it was like to grow up with her famous father.

In her show "Fried Chicken and Latkes," Rain Pryor discusses seeing cocaine, prostitutes and affluence while visiting her dad. She narrates her story, acts out the parts of other people and sings a few songs.

"My dad has always been one to put his life right out there for you to look at. I took that approach because I saw how well audiences respond to it. I try to make you laugh at life," she told the Philadelphia Inquirer in Sunday’s editions.

Rain Pryor is the child of a brief marriage between the comedian and a Jewish woman, Shelley Bonus, who was an aspiring actress working as a go-go dancer when she met Pryor in the late 1960s.

Her mother struggled to give her daughter a traditional middle-class upbringing in a modest Beverly Hills apartment. But when she visited her well-off father on the other side of town, she was exposed to a dysfunctional lifestyle in a servant-staffed house.

But even though Pryor mimics her father, she has no intention of trying to imitate his comedic path. "I decided I’m going to fill my own shoes," she said. "I’m not going to do his comedy."

Mediocre escape plan, amazing digestive system
A jail inmate swallowed what could have been his key to freedom.

During a sweep of the high-security wing of Santa Cruz County Jail, deputies discovered that inmate Jose Angel Juarez had swallowed a handcuff key. Lt. Craig Wilson said Juarez set off the metal detector during a walkthrough screening.

At first, deputies weren’t sure what set off the metal detector, but they knew it was in Juarez’s midsection, so he was taken for an X-ray. A 1 1/2-inch handcuff key could be seen in Juarez’s belly.

"It’s our belief that the inmate would be using this to escape from custody," Wilson said.

Juarez, 29, is awaiting trial on felony charges of conspiracy, assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, robbery and carjacking, stemming from a Dec. 18, 2003, robbery of Farm Fresh Produce.

His alleged partner in the robbery, Francisco Antonio Alvarado, 25, pleaded guilty in October to robbery, conspiracy, assault and receiving stolen property and was sentenced to 10 years, four months in prison.

It wasn’t known where Juarez got the handcuff key.

Deputies waited for the key to eventually emerge.

Mediocre criminal, brilliant tiny puppy
While there’s nothing special about U.S. Postal Service workers being terrorized by dogs, the size of one here is raising eyebrows.

Mail carriers said they were recently unable to deliver mail to homes along a section of Guyer Street in the northwestern Indiana city of Hobart because of a 4.5-pound Chihuahua named Bobo.

"The little Chihuahua was 10-foot tall when he was on the street," said Florence Page of the Hobart Humane Society, which picked up the dog twice for running loose. "It’s kind of comical, you know, but after a while it’s not any more."

She said there were no reports of the dog actually hurting anyone, however.

Police have nonetheless ticketed the dog’s owner, Vicki Seber, twice in recent weeks for violating a city ordinance requiring pet owners to keep their animals restrained.

Hobart police officer Ron Schalk said he had no option but to cite Seber for allowing the dog to run loose.

"The biggest thing I was concerned with is there were a lot of residents that week who couldn’t get their mail," he said. "The little Chihuahua was running around being aggressive and trying to bite people’s ankles."

Mediocre president, amazing tradition
Amid a sea of umbrellas, hundreds of children in brightly colored raincoats rolled Easter eggs Monday on the soggy South Lawn of the White House in a rainy version of the annual celebration that dates to the 19th century.

Standing in for President Bush, who was traveling to Washington from his Texas ranch, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings and Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt co-hosted the event, which was closed four hours early because of the weather.

Besides the egg roll there was face painting, music, magicians and storytelling by various authors and Bush administration officials. People dressed up as storybook characters, including an Easter bunny and "Patchy Panda," strolled around the South Lawn.

The activities were open to the public again this year, and about 16,000 tickets were distributed. Two years ago the event was closed to the public and limited to only about 12,000 people.

There were 7,200 dyed eggs for the egg roll, another 4,000 for the egg hunt, and an additional 4,000 were ready for children to dye on the Lawn.

The White House egg roll has been a tradition since the mid-19th century. It took place on the Capitol grounds until 1878, when it was moved to the White House.

Mediocre celebrities, amazing attempt at rejuvenating careers
Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean, former members of the Fugees, reunited onstage in an adrenaline-charged charity concert for tsunami victims.

An enthusiastic crowd of 15,000 people attended Friday’s seven-hour "Force of Nature" show at Stadium Putra in Kuala Lumpur, which raised more than $2.6 million to rebuild tsunami-devastated communities in Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and India.

"This is history in the making," Jean said, kneeling in front of Hill. "Do you all understand what’s happening on this stage? I’m too emotional right now."

Jean also delivered the night’s most poignant moment. While gently chanting "We’ll never forget the tsunami victims," he instructed the stadium lights to be turned off while the audience waved lighted cell phones in the darkness.

Hill and Jean sang "Killing Me Softly With His Song," "Ready or Not" and "Fu-Gee-La" from the Fugees’ 1996 album, The Score.

Hong Kong action film star Jackie Chan sang a tender Mandarin-language love ballad. Other performers included the Backstreet Boys, Black Eyed Peas and Boyz II Men.

Force of Nature, the organization that staged the concert, is spearheaded by former Malaysian diplomat Razali Ismail, the country’s tsunami envoy, who said the money will be used to rebuild schools and infrastructure.