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Watercooler Stories

Nov. 11, 2011 at 6:30 AM   |   Comments

Stephen Fry challenges world in spelling

LONDON, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- British TV host Stephen Fry said he is challenging spellers the world over to test their skills against him to raise money for charity.

Fry, host of quiz show "QI," said the contest at Spellathon.net challenges users who obtain at least $24 in sponsorships by Feb. 1 to correctly spell 50 words backward using the site's games, the Coventry Telegraph reported Thursday.

Qualifying players will then have 15 minutes to spell the longest run of words with the letters in reverse order.

"I'm greatly looking forward to competing against the world in this extremely tricky challenge," Fry said. "This is just about the best integration of imagination, education, technology inclusiveness and fun that I've ever encountered. Very proud to have been involved in it."

Fry said the event will raise money for the learning disability charity Mencap as well as the schools and universities of participating students.


Museum rejects Saddam's toilet

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo., Nov. 11 (UPI) -- A Missouri museum receiving the door from Saddam Hussein's prison cell said it is declining to display the Iraqi dictator's toilet.

The U.S. Army Military Police Museum at Fort Wood said it will display Saddam's 500-pound cell door, steel signs from the Victory Base Complex and some official documents, but it declined an offer for the toilet from the executed despot's cell, ABC News reported Thursday.

Tiffany Wood, deputy public affairs officer at Fort Wood, said there was no major reason behind the decision.

"We don't have a reason, really when it comes down to it. We're going to display the artifacts that we're receiving," Wood said


Thanksgiving turkey prices go up

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Researchers at Indiana's Purdue University said Thanksgiving revelers may be unhappy to find the price of turkey has risen 3-7 cents per pound.

Purdue University agricultural economist Corinne Alexander said wholesale prices for turkey during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday are expected to be between $1.07 and $1.11, 3-7 cents higher than the prices at the same time last year.

Alexander said the turkey price hike is part of an overall increase in food prices.

"Looking at overall food price inflation, consumers are probably going to be paying about 5-6 percent more for Thanksgiving dinner than last year, which is an above-average increase in food costs," Alexander said. "We consider normal food price inflation at somewhere around 2.5 percent."


Millionaire allegedly walked nude in hotel

NEW YORK, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Police in New York said a millionaire spice importer was taken to a psychiatric ward after drunkenly parading nude through an upscale hotel's workout facility.

Investigators said the Four Seasons hotel received several complaints from guests about Dhiraj Arora running nude through the workout facility around 11 a.m. Sept. 23. He refused to emerge from his room until officers threatened to break down the door, the New York Post reported Thursday.

Police escorted Arora to a nearby hospital psych ward, and he was released about 2 hours later. No charges were filed against the wholesaler, who provides imported spices to stores including Whole Foods.

Arora said he was neither drunk nor nude in the workout area, but he did disrobe in the steam room.

"I don't run around places naked, and I sure as hell was not running around naked at the Four Seasons hotel," he said.

"All I can tell you is there must have been some guests at the hotel who must have been uncomfortable with my North Indian heritage," Arora said. "The way I carry myself, the way I roll. I don't cut my hair. I don't shave every day."

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