Watercooler Stories

By United Press International  |  Aug. 6, 2004 at 6:26 AM
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British youngsters ignorant of history

LONDON, England, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- A BBC poll finds many British young people have trouble distinguishing fiction from history.

The Daily Telegraph reports fewer than half of the youngsters surveyed could identify Sir Francis Drake, the 16th century buccaneer who defeated the Spanish Armada. A number of respondents gave the victory to Gandalf, the fictional wizard of "Lord of the Rings" or to Horatio Hornblower, who was at least a naval officer, albeit one who spent his entire career in a series of novels on the Napoleonic Wars.

Almost a third, 31 percent, did not remember the Battle of Britain, the epic air war against German bombers, was part of World War II.

And an overwhelming majority did not realize the annual celebrations by Protestants in Northern Ireland mark the anniversary of the defeat of the Catholic James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1689. Fifteen percent said the marches and bonfires each July celebrate victory at Helm's Deep, a battle in "The Lord of the Rings."

Radio station set to sacrifice Republican

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- A Los Angeles radio station asked listeners to identify one Republican candidate soft on immigration issues for an on-air campaign to defeat the politician.

John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou, hosts of "The John & Ken Show" on KFI-AM, Los Angeles, plan to name a California Republican congressman or congresswoman to be the "political human sacrifice" in a promotion meant as a wake-up call to Republican leaders who allegedly ignore their constituents' pleas for stronger immigration laws for fear of offending Hispanic voters or the agriculture industry, the Washington Times reported Thursday.

"We're overwhelmed by illegal immigration in Southern California. The Republican Party just doesn't understand the level of anger out here. They just say (to conservatives), 'Who else are you going to vote for?'" Kobylt said.

The target finalists have been narrowed to California Republican Reps. Mary Bono, Christopher Cox, David Dreier, Darrell Issa and Dana Rohrabacher.

All but Dreier have appeared on the afternoon radio show to defend their political records; Dreier is negotiating an appearance.

The winning -- or losing -- candidate will be named after Labor Day, at which time "The John & Ken Show" will begin plotting the candidate's demise in the November election.

Man saves wife in 150-foot alpine fall

INNSBRUCK, Austria, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- A British man's heroic actions saved his wife's life after she fell and dangled 150-feet into an Austrian alpine abyss, The Times of London said Thursday.

Christine Colley, 56, was walking with her husband, Cedric, in the Austrian Tyrol Tuesday when she plunged through a layer of ice covering a hidden crevasse on a giant glacier.

The couple were attached by mountaineering rope, which broke her fall. However, the man was unable to pull her back up, so he began hammering spikes into the ice to anchor the rope.

He then raced for help, which took three hours to arrive. In the meantime, the woman had gone into hypothermia and suffered a heart attack.

"By the time she arrived here her core body temperature had plunged to 75 degrees and severe hypothermia had set in," said Gunther Sumann at Innsbruck University Hospital. "She was lucky because the hospital has special equipment to gradually warm the blood and it saved her."

The woman is expected to make a full recovery upon the couple's return to Birmingham.

Laura to Jenna: Keep the tongue in

NEW YORK, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- First daughter Jenna Bush received a minor public reprimand from her mother, first lady Laura Bush, for having stuck her tongue out at photographers.

Jenna, 22, was caught on film sticking her tongue out at reporters and photographers from the back of the presidential limousine in St. Louis July 20.

"Everyone does things they're sorry they did. I think I had a little girl who stuck her tongue out at the press last week," Laura Bush told CBS' "The Early Show."

"I didn't actually know about it. I was hiking in Glacier National Park. There was no news, no telephones. When I got off my hike, I called her and she just sort of went on about it like she was sure I knew about it, which I didn't.

"Maybe you should work on your issues of impulsiveness or something," Bush said she told her daughter.

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