Watercooler Stories

July 17, 2008 at 6:30 AM
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German card game features Hitler, Stalin

BERLIN, July 16 (UPI) -- A Berlin-based publisher has raised eyebrows with a card game that includes images and information on famous dictators, including Adolf Hitler.

Das Fuehrer Quartett, a card game based on a popular children's game, includes cards representing 32 tyrants including Hitler, Francisco Franco and Joseph Stalin, Deutsch Welle reported Wednesday.

The game's publisher, Onkel & Onkel, said that while the cards include historical facts about the dictators, they also mock the tyrants -- for example, the card for Chilean tyrant Augusto Pinochet describes him as "somehow stupid."

"We didn't really have a clear political idea in mind with the game," said Volker Oppmann of Onkel & Onkel. "But we did want to take away some of the power that these figures still have. When you can laugh at them, you don't fear them as much."

The cards have proved popular with the public but some say using tyrannical dictators in a card game is no laughing matter.

Berlin Senator Ehrhart Korting, 66, said the game is tasteless while historian Arnulf Baring argued that the game downplays the heinous crimes committed by the historical figures in question.

"The further back the Third Reich recedes in history, the more bizarre the way it is dealt with becomes," he said.

Catfish stroll on land through Fla. town

PINELLAS PARK, Fla., July 16 (UPI) -- Residents of Pinellas Park, Fla., said they were shocked to see a group of about 30 fish "walking" on land through the town.

The walking catfish, a species that can "walk" using their pectoral muscles and survive on land so long as they remain moist, perplexed residents when they began strutting through the neighborhood, WKMG-TV, Orlando, Fla., reported Wednesday.

"I was like, 'No way there's fish in the street,'" homeowner Dianna Fernandez said. "And I kept going further and further and seeing fish everywhere -- in driveways. I've never seen anything like it."

Neighbors said they were equally boggled by the sight.

"We thought it was a prank at first," resident Hannah Cline said. "(We thought) that maybe somebody dumped some fish but then we realized that it was coming up from the sewer that we had so much rain last night."

Students walk out after cheat plan fails

MURANG'A, Kenya, July 16 (UPI) -- Officials at a Kenyan secondary school say four students refused to take their mock examinations after their plan to cheat fell through.

The officials said the students, Form Four candidates at Kiru Mixed Secondary School in Murang'a North district, walked out of the school after a student who had promised to get them a copy of the exam failed to follow through on the agreement, The Nation reported Wednesday.

"Our investigations revealed that they had contributed money and given it to one of them who had promised to bring them the exam papers," school Principal Chege Kariuki said.

Meanwhile, Embakasi Girls Secondary School in Nairobi, Kenya, was closed and all 400 students were sent home after nearly a gallon of gasoline was found on the premises and eight students were arrested on suspicion of arson. The students have since been released by police.

Man promoting anti-Democratic Party song

ORLANDO, Fla., July 16 (UPI) -- A Florida man's billboards using images of the 2001 terrorist attacks to promote an anti-Democratic Party CD have provoked bi-partisan disapproval.

Mike Meehan, of St. Cloud, Fla., has put his message on three billboards in the Orlando, Fla., area, ABC News reports. The signs have a picture of the World Trade Center towers in flames and the words "Please Don't Vote for a Democrat."

The Orange County Republican Executive Committee told WFTV, the ABC affiliate in Orlando, that the signs are "inappropriate." Bill Robinson, chairman of the Democratic Party of Orange County, called them "despicable, ignorant and juvenile."

Meehan is promoting a CD of a song carrying his claim that Democrats have forgotten the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"No we can't afford to have another attack/and that's why we can't vote for a Democrat," the lyrics say.

Meehan claims that most of the response he has heard has been positive, the ABC report said.

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