Watercooler Stories

By United Press International  |  June 23, 2006 at 6:30 AM
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Clarinet holds musician's ashes

WINONA, Minn., June 23 (UPI) -- The ashes of a lifelong musician are resting inside his clarinet in a Minnesota cemetery.

Roger Busdicker was cremated after his death last week at the age of 88. His brother decided that Busdicker's clarinet and its case would make the most suitable container for the ashes, which were buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Winona, the Winona Daily News reported.

Busdicker and his friends -- brothers Harold "Hal" and Everett "Leonard" Edstrom -- formed the Hal Leonard Band in the 1930s, adopting the name because the Edstroms' father did not want them using the family name. They toured for about 10 years.

In 1947, after the band broke up, Busdicker and Hal Edstrom were directing high school bands while Everett Edstrom opened a music store. The friends found that their arrangements of popular music were in demand across the country, so they started the Hal Leonard Corp. -- which became the world's largest publisher of sheet music and instructional materials.

N.Y. kitty remains homeless in reality show

NEW YORK, June 23 (UPI) -- Poor Bambi, who was transferred like Cinderella from a New York shelter to the Meow Mix cat house, has yet to be adopted.

"Maybe it's the New York thing," Keith Fernbach, a publicist who helped develop the show, told the New York Post. "She's not the most social one in the group."

Meow Mix selected 10 cats from shelters across the country and brought them to a house in Manhattan. In addition to online Webcam coverage, a show will air this summer on Animal Planet.

Bambi has shown signs of hostility -- a bit of hissing and an occasional swipe with a paw. She also has a tendency to sit and stare instead of doing cute kitty tricks.

Gleanna Doyle, an animal behaviorist involved with the show, suggested Bambi would do well in a home without a lot of stimulation.

"I see her with an older man or a woman who sits in their rocking chair and reads and stokes the fire and goes for the three-times-a-day walk and prepares dinner and talks to the cat like my grandmother, when my grandmother was still alive," Doyle said.

Misguided tourists killing Budapest fawns

BUDAPEST, Hungary, June 23 (UPI) -- Wildlife officials in Budapest have appealed for tourists and hikers to leave fawns in city forests alone, as handling them is a near-certain death sentence.

An estimated 160 deer live in the rolling forested hills around the Buda part of the city, separated from the more urbanized Pest by the Danube River, the Budapest Sun reported Thursday.

The first fawns of the season are being born now, and officials issued an appeal to leave the frail animals alone, as humans are their only natural enemy.

"Last year only one of the fawns (of those moved) survived and, as always, we lost 15 percent of all deer living in Buda," wildlife official Gergo Lomniczi told the newspaper.

The fawns are too weak to run when humans approach, and Lomniczi said they either die of the stress of being handled or because "their mothers won't accept the young animal again due to the smell people leave on them."

FAA says sheriff needs permit to fly drone

LOS ANGELES, June 23 (UPI) -- Federal regulators say the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department should have sought takeoff clearance before showing off a new drone for the press.

"I wouldn't want to term us as peeved, but we were definitely surprised," Laura Brown, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, told The Los Angeles Times.

The SkySeer, a large remote-controlled model airplane, has been in development for seven years. Sheriff Lee Baca said the drones can provide aerial views needed for crowd control, chases, hostage situations and other information, more cheaply than a helicopter -- and without the noise and risk.

The Sheriff's Department is a bit miffed by the FAA attitude.

"A private citizen can go to the store and buy one of those model airplanes and fly them around," said Commander Sid Head. "But because we're doing it as a public service, we have to deal with the FAA?"

The SkySeer is still being tested. If the craft proves airworthy, the department plans to buy 20 drones at a cost of $20,000 to $30,000 each. The drones are 3 feet long and have a 6 ½-foot wingspan -- basically large high-tech model airplanes, the newspaper said.

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