Watercooler Stories

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Crow says TP comment a swipe at humor

WASHINGTON, April 24 (UPI) -- Singer and environmental activist Sheryl Crow wants the American people to think about conservation, even about everyday things such as toilet paper.


Turns out her comments about limiting how much TP could be used at one sitting was a stab at humor, she said on her blog on the Huffington Post.

"And by the way guys, the toilet paper thing ... it was a JOKE!!" Crow wrote.

Earlier, Crow posted, "I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting."

Crow's conservation note came as she was wrapping up a U.S. tour, traveling in a biodiesel-powered bus promoting efforts to curb global warming, the Times of London reported Tuesday. It also came just a couple of days after her run-in with Republican political strategist Karl Rove, who reportedly snapped "Don't touch me!" when she touched his arm as she tried to talk to him.


Laurie David, who produced Al Gore's environmental documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," was with Crow at the time.

"I've never had anyone be so rude," David said of Rove's behavior.

Rove said David "came over to insult me and she succeeded."

Teacher in trouble for secret filming

BIRMINGHAM, England, April 24 (UPI) -- A British substitute teacher who used a mini-camera disguised as a button to film students behaving badly for a documentary could be banned from teaching.

The General Teaching Council began a hearing Tuesday in Birmingham on Angela Mason, The Times of London reported.

Mason reportedly filmed students in 18 classes in London and northern England in 2004 and 2005 for "Classroom Chaos," which was shown on television. She recorded examples of students throwing furniture, looking for pornography on the Internet, swearing, fighting and making false complaints against teachers. The students' identities were hidden in the documentary.

Mason is accused of unprofessional conduct and of failing to manage the behavior of her students.

"All of her attention should have been directed at the education of the children," said Bradley Albuery, who presented the case at the council. "That she took a camera into the classroom shows that her agenda was not . . . focused wholly on the needs of the children."


Mason left teaching in the 1970s to work in television. Her lawyer argues that she performed a public service by contributing to the debate on classroom discipline.

Fla. boy bitten by shark while bodysurfing

WESTON, Fla., April 24 (UPI) -- A 12-year-old Florida boy survived a shark bite, needing only seven stitches in his leg to repair the wound.

Matthew Honyak was bitten on the ankle as he bodysurfed during a friend's birthday celebration Sunday at Hutchinson Island in St. Lucie County, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. The attack occurred 10 minutes before the group was supposed to head home.

The sheriff's office said the shark that left three rows of tooth marks on Matthew's left ankle was a small one. His doctors told the boy they believe it was a bull shark.

Matthew was back in class Monday at Falcon Cove Middle School with a new nickname -- Shark Bait. He must use crutches for a while but expects no lasting damage.

He plans to get back in the water as soon as he can.

"Most pros who surf every single day never get bit," he said.

The attack was the seventh reported so far this year in Florida. Experts say that spring is the busiest time of year for shark attacks because the sharks are moving north and more people are on the beach and in the water.


Ham steak called hate crime

LEWISTON, Maine, April 24 (UPI) -- A ham steak tossed onto a school lunchroom table has a Maine community struggling with what constitutes a hate crime and bruised race relations.

After the April 11 incident in Lewiston Middle School, a public forum held by the city's Sun Journal newspaper had to be halted because of the overt hostility on display.

"A lot of anger and hate has been flying around," said Steve Wessler of the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence, who has received hate e-mail and two threatening phone messages, the newspaper reported Tuesday.

School Superintendent Leon Levesque said last week one student was suspended and more disciplinary action was possible as police investigated the incident in which a white student placed a ham steak in a bag on a lunch table where Somali students were eating. Muslims consider pork a dietary taboo.

"We need to take a look at this and review how a careless act is degrading and causes hurt to other people," Levesque said.

A 14-year-old Somali boy, who was with four other Somali students at the table, said he "felt angered, offended."

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