Watercooler Stories

March 17, 2008 at 6:30 AM
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Brain surgeon uses handyman drill

LONDON, March 17 (UPI) -- A renowned British neurosurgeon reportedly has been performing surgeries using a common cordless power drill at a clinic in Ukraine.

Dr. Henry Marsh, a senior consultant at St. George's hospital in south London, has used a Bosch 9.6 volt battery-operated drill to open up the skulls of his patients to remove life-threatening tumors while doing charity work in the Eastern European nation, The Sunday Times of London reported.

Marsh, 58, travels to Ukraine twice a year to perform free operations at a clinic run by a fellow surgeon.

"It's exactly the drill that you could have in your garden shed," Marsh said of the drill, noting the clinic cannot afford state of the art surgical equipment.

The newspaper reported the procedures are performed using local anesthesia with the patients fully awake, a surgical technique no longer widely used. He said Ukrainians could withstand such a practice because they were "very tough."

Animals to have their day in court

RALEIGH, N.C., March 17 (UPI) -- Animals throughout the United States are increasingly becoming tied up in litigation as the study of animal law increases nationwide.

The (Raleigh, N.C.) News & Observer reported Sunday that 92 of the 196 American Bar Association-approved law schools currently offer their students courses in animal law, indicating the legal practice is growing dramatically.

Included among these law schools are prestigious learning institutions such as Duke University and Harvard University.

Lawyer Calley Gerber, who practices animal law in North Carolina, says while many are skeptical regarding the new legal branch, she is confident it will gain acceptance.

"Everyone says you can't make a living doing it," Gerber said. "But I decided, well, I'm going to try."

The News & Observer said the growth of animal law is due to a growing number of legal cases involving animal abuse, animal-based litigation and pets becoming the controversial beneficiaries in owners' wills.

Artist: Lettuce make some art

LONDON, March 17 (UPI) -- An upcoming show at London's Tate Modern museum will feature a U.S. experimental artist who will create a giant salad for hundreds of visitors.

Event curator Kathy Noble says by turning the salad preparation into an art show, artist Alison Knowles hopes to mix everyday activities with the creativity of the art world, The Times of London reported Sunday.

"It's a participatory event in every sense," Noble said. "The work of the chefs, the observation of the audience and then their chance to eat what they have seen put together."

The Tate Modern show will mark the most recent performance of "Make a Salad," which first broached the art scene in 1962.

The May 24 event will begin with the performance of a classical concerto and then Knowles will lead five museum employees in creating the salad. Once completed, the 300 people in attendance get a taste of performance art.

Housewares: Not such a serious business

CHICAGO, March 17 (UPI) -- Walk through the aisles of the International Housewares Association show in Chicago and one might get the impression a comedy routine is developing.

There was the blow-up Santa riding a blow-up John Deere tractor -- just the thing for Christmas decorations.

Then there's the Frozen Smiles ice cube trays from Fred & Friends. These are the folks who also are bringing you the two-carat cup, which comes in both platinum and gold. The cup has an ear on the side shaped like a wedding band on which a two-carat crystal has been mounted.

The Byrd Cookie Co. is offering Democratic Snacks and GOP Cookies, not to mention American Apple Pie Cookies for the undecided.

"We're not telling people how to vote, just telling them to vote with taste," a spokesman said.

The topper though might be the It Sucks bucket. Bob Gray said he was really fed up with the way garbage bags balloon up when a fresh one is put into a waste basket. So he adapted a piston to solve the problem. Pushing the top piece of the two-piece unit up and down sucks out the air and flattens the sides against the garbage can.

The show runs through Tuesday and is not open to the public.

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