Taking a leak could be less of a crime
ST. LOUIS, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- A St. Louis alderman who moonlights as a bar owner has introduced a bill that could mean lower penalties for public urinators who try to be discreet.
Ken Ortmann's measure would separate taking a leak outdoors from indecent exposure. He hopes it will become law in time for the city's Mardi Gras celebration, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
"There's a difference between going in the middle of the street, in front of God and country, and somebody who is behind a Dumpster," Ortmann said.
Ortmann owns the Cat's Meow Bar in Soulard, the neighborhood that is the center of Mardi Gras festivities. His district also includes part of the neighborhood.
Soulard residents are less enthusiastic. One woman told the newspaper that many of her neighbors turn on their sprinklers during Mardi Gras in hopes of keeping merrymakers from using their lawns as public toilets.
Asian with rude-sounding name changes it
CHICAGO, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- A Chinese immigrant from Hong Kong has legally changed his name to Andy Kwok because everyone laughed saying his real name -- Fuk King Kwok.
Kwok said that in China, his name translates to "a very good meaning" and nothing at all like the vulgar English pronunciation. The first name is pronounced in Cantonese with a long "o" sound, rather than a short "u," the Chicago Sun-Times said.
"And my middle name is terrible, too," Kwok acknowledged. "That combination becomes very terrible."
Monica Pinas, 21, made the same decision as Kwok. She tired of hearing her name pronounced like "penis" instead of the Spanish "peen-yas," and paid $328 in Chicago to have her name changed to Monica Star.
Similarly, April Showers became Denise Moore last year, the newspaper said.
Students unmask fake duke
OAK PARK HEIGHTS, Minn., Jan. 17 (UPI) -- A young man convicted of having sex with his underage girlfriend is in trouble for passing himself off as British nobility at a Minnesota high school.
Joshua Adam Gardner, 22, aka Caspian James Crichton-Stuart IV, the Fifth Duke of Cleveland, was unmasked by student reporters at the Stillwater Area High School.
The fake duke told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that he was not trying to hurt anyone. He said he felt more comfortable with his fake identity.
Gardner faces possible prison time for failing to keep authorities posted on his address and other probation violations. He was convicted when he was 18 of having sex with a 14-year-old.
Officials at the high school said that Gardner never had any unsupervised contact with students and did not cause any problems. But the student reporters say he could be touchy about his rank.
"He was demanding that we call him 'Your Grace,"' said Chantel Leonhart, one of the paper's managing editors. "He even demanded that the principal call him 'Your Grace.'"
Thief gets sample of moon rock
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., Jan. 17 (UPI) -- A thief who broke into a car in Virginia Beach, Va., made off with the world's most valuable rocks, ones with extraterrestrial origins.
The car belonged to a National Aeronautics and Space Administration instructor who had the samples of lunar and meteorite rock for teaching purposes, the Virginian-Pilot newspaper reported. While the rocks may not look like much, they are worth about 10 times as much as the equivalent quantity of high-quality diamonds.
The samples were in a silver-colored metal briefcase and were sealed in plastic discs labeled "meteorite sample" and "lunar sample," a police spokeswoman said.
None of the samples of rock retrieved from the moon by the flights there has ever been sold or given away.
Rubik's cube record set at 11.13 seconds
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- A 20-year-old California student has set a world record of 11.13 seconds for finishing a Rubik's cube at an international competition in San Francisco.
Leyan Lo beat last year's record of 11.75 seconds, set in the Netherlands.
"It was a lucky solve," he said. "It was kind of cool. You get good cases and bad cases all the time."
There were other competitions at the event Saturday, Cnetnews.com reported, including the standard 3x3x3, the 3x3x3 blindfolded, the 3x3x3 one-handed and the 4x4x4.
In the blindfolded contest, the trick to solving a Rubik's cube without being able to see is that competitors examine the cube before putting on their blindfolds and memorize all the layers and then, once blindfolded, apply algorithms they've learned to finish the puzzle.