February 11, 2009

Discretion of the Beard

The Tennessean has a report on a certain Dr. Visuvalingam Vilvarajah, who was convicted for the 1986 shooting murders of his wife and mother-in-law. Vilvarajah subsequently served five years in prison, and was released on parole. (BTW, that’s not the bad doctor pictured. It’s the Great Burke Kenny; more on him momentarily.)

Astoundingly, Dr. Vilvarajah got his medical license reinstated in 1993, and he joined a family practice in 1997. How is that possible? According to Tennessee Department of Health spokeswoman Andrea Turner:
“There is nothing in the law that would prevent a medical professional's ability to practice medicine from being reinstated. It really comes down to the nature of the conviction, the specifics of the case and the discretion of the board.”
The board’s judgment has subsequently been called into question as Vilvarajah was recently arrested on charges of drug-related organized crimes. Moving from the discretion of the board to the discretion of the beard, let me remind you that there are only 100 days until the next World Beard and Moustache Championships. (Great Burke Kenny took first place in its “full beard, styled moustache” category in 2007.)

The championships have six categories for moustaches (including the Dali and Imperial), seven categories for partial beards (including the Alaskan Whaler and Fu Manchu), and five for full beards. Hey, if I stop shaving now, I can grow a good Garibaldi by contest time!

Last two beard photos by Sheri Manson. (Bottom right: Franz "Schani" Mitterhauser of the East Bavarian Beard Club. Above left: Willi Chevalier Sigmaringen, Lord Master of the freestyle partial-beard category.) Oh, and thank you to Amy Faust for the hot tip!

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