Watercooler Stories

Aug. 22, 2007 at 6:30 AM
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Lifeguard swims from Catalina to mainland

PALOS VERDES, Calif., Aug. 21 (UPI) -- A Southern California lifeguard has become the 135th person to swim the 21 miles of the Catalina Channel.

John Graass started his grueling swim at 11:30 p.m. Sunday on Catalina Island, finishing at Point Vicente in Palos Verdes 10 hours, 31 minutes and 22 seconds later on Monday, The Orange County Register reported.

He was accompanied by a friend who kayaked alongside him and by relatives and friends in another boat.

Graass told the newspaper that six hours into the swim he felt the warning signs of hypothermia.

"You're in the water for so long," he said. "It got to a point where I just couldn't stay warm anymore. I just had to suck it up."

Graass, a life guard in Newport Beach, began planning the swim about a year ago.

When he reached his goal, he pulled himself out of the water and then “just collapsed on the rocks.”

The channel was first conquered in 1927 when more than 100 people showed up to compete for a $25,000 prize. Only one, George Young, went the whole distance.

Young Russian surfer found alive

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- A teenage surfer, missing in the Sea of Azov for three days, has turned up alive, having made his way to an abandoned barge.

Rodion Kadyrov, 14, of Elista, the capital of Kalmyki, had gone out into the sea on his surfboard Saturday from a recreation area at Yeisk, Itar-Tass reported Tuesday. He was found miles away Monday following an extensive boat and helicopter search, the news agency said.

Kadyrov was taken to a hospital to be checked out and doctors deemed his health was not in danger.

Lawyer buys 8 Rolls-Royces at auction

SALINAS, Calif., Aug. 21 (UPI) -- A Houston trial lawyer successfully bid on eight of 13 Rolls-Royce automobiles auctioned off by their owner in California for charity.

Billionaire John O'Quinn purchased the cars Sunday at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance auction, the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reported Tuesday.

Richard Solove raised $14.3 million by selling the Rolls-Royces and two other automobiles. The money, minus auction expenses, will go to the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, in addition to Ohio State University's Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The most expensive car in the auction, a 1912 Rolls-Royce SG limousine, sold for $2.97 million.

O'Quinn, who says he plans to open a Houston car museum in 2009, already owns a 1903 Ford Model A, a Batmobile, President Franklin Roosevelt's 1941 Packard limousine and the 1975 Ford Escort used by Pope John Paul II.

Satellite photos lead to pot bust

GENOA, Italy, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Italian police arrested a man in Rocchetta di Vara after satellite photos found suspicious plants in his back yard that allegedly turned out to be cannabis.

Police said the arrest of Alfredo Salvini, 48, marked the first operation to result from use of the satellite technique, ANSA reported Tuesday.

Fifty-seven vases of cannabis plants were found along with a large quantity of dried plants that were apparently meant for sale.

The arrest is the second major Italian pot bust in as many months.

In July, a 60-year-old retired librarian was arrested after nearly 700 cannabis plants were found growing on her terrace near Venice. She told police her cannabis was "the best to be had" in her neighborhood because she spent nearly all of her time caring for the plants.

"It's a real passion," she told them.

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