Watercooler Stories

Feb. 22, 2008 at 6:30 AM
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Artists irked by Sweden's neutered lion

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Heraldists at Sweden's National Archives said the Nordic Battlegroup's decision to remove the penis from a lion depicted on its coat of arms violates copyright.

State heraldist Henrik Klackenberg said he and his colleagues want an apology from the Swedish armed forces and the reinstatement of the emasculated lion's male organ, The Local reported Thursday.

"They stepped over the line when they made alterations to the badge without consulting us. It was a clear breach of copyright," Klackenberg said.

Heraldic artist Vladimir Sagerlund said the removal of the lion's private parts shows an ignorance of history, since coats of arms featuring neutered lions have traditionally been given to people accused of betraying the Swedish monarch.

Karl Engelbrektsson, commander of the Nordic Battlegroup, said he decided to remove the lion's genitalia after he determined that the depiction of the organ sends the wrong message at a time when women are being sexually abused in war zones around the world.

Homeowner fights mailbox wound lawsuit

LONDON, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- A British homeowner said he will fight a lawsuit filed against him by a woman who claims his mailbox injured her while she was delivering junk mail.

Paul O'Brien, 44, said he thought it was an early April Fool's Day joke when he received a solicitor's letter asking that he pay compensation to Joy Goodman for wounds she acquired while putting mail into his mailbox in January, the Daily Mail reported.

Goodman, who is a cake decorator, is seeking compensation for personal injury and loss of earnings, claiming she severed her index finger and cannot execute her job properly.

"Just cannot believe someone who came on to my property uninvited, to put junk mail through my door that I didn't want, can now sue me because they hurt themselves," O'Brien said.

O'Brien reportedly said his mailbox is perfectly normal and no different from the other mailboxes in his neighborhood.

"It seems like we're becoming more and more like America. Everyone wants compensation," O'Brien told the Daily Mail.

Flatulent Briton loses suit against bosses

LEEDS, England, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- A British tribunal has rejected a discrimination claim brought by a woman who claimed she was mocked by coworkers for her chronic flatulence.

The woman claimed disability and racial discrimination, as well as constructive dismissal, in her suit against Leeds Metropolitan University, Sky News reported.

She told the Leeds Employment Tribunal that colleagues would regularly make sniffing noises and "bowel jokes" while in her company.

However, school officials told the tribunal she was the subject of disciplinary proceedings after concerns were raised about the quality of her work and frequent absences due to illness.

A Leeds Employment Tribunal spokesman said the panel's three judges dismissed all three claims in the suit.

'O!' in anthem riles D.C. baseball fans

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- In Baltimore it's practically a ritual but some Washington baseball fans can do without the yelling when they get to 'O!' while singing the national anthem.

There is wide agreement the practice began in Baltimore during the 1970s, when Orioles fans yelled out the 'O!' in the line from the Star-Spangled Banner that goes, "O, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave." Super-fan "Wild Bill" Hagy used his body to spell out the letters in Orioles and get fans worked up -- and when that line of the anthem came around everyone in the stadium yelled 'O,' for Orioles, more or less in unison.

They do it at Baltimore Ravens' NFL games too.

Longtime Washington Capitals fan Mike Rucki, a co-founder of the hockey Web site OnFrozeBlog.com, told The Washington Times the practice -- which has spilled over into D.C. sporting events -- has been "bugging" him for a long time.

"Just because it's a tradition doesn't mean it's a good tradition," he said.

Those who would like to see the end of the tradition include Capitals fans as well as fans of the NBA Wizards, the NFL Redskins and the MLB Nationals, the newspaper said.

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