Watercooler Stories

Oct. 21, 2008 at 6:30 AM
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Applicants' parents resort to sabotage

CHICAGO, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- A high school guidance counselor in New York says sabotaging competitors has become one of the newest tools for gaining entrance to college.

Sue Moller of Long Island received dozens of replies when she asked whether parents were writing letters about the bad conduct of other high school students to boost the admission chances of their child, the Chicago Tribune reported Monday.

"This is a lot deeper than I thought it was when I posted this silly question," Moller said. "I can't believe how widespread it is."

The sabotage letters mailed to college admissions offices typically arrive without a signature and accuse rival applicants of such things as cheating on exams or underage drinking.

"People think if they disadvantage one student, it may advantage theirs," said Stacey Kostell, director of undergraduate admission for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

At Northwestern University, one sabotage letter received by the admissions office was written in crayon so it couldn't be traced.


Priest resigns after porn surfing revealed

STRANGNAS, Sweden, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- A Swedish priest has resigned after allegedly downloading a computer virus picked up from pornography Web sites, officials said.

The Church of Sweden clergyman from Strangnas admitted to surfing porn sites and has resigned from his post because of the virus, which disabled his church's computer network, the Swedish Web site The Local reported Monday.

"He recently decided to resign," Charlotta Novosel, a legal spokeswoman for the church, told the newspaper Metro, adding that church authorities haven't decided if the clergyman should be defrocked.

"Priests are people too," Archbishop Anders Wejryd told the newspaper. "But I have no understanding at all for someone sitting and surfing for porn on the parish computers."


240 couples renew vows in R.I. mass

PROVIDENCE, R.I., Oct. 21 (UPI) -- An offer to renew their wedding vows in the setting of a Roman Catholic church attracted 240 couples to a Providence, R.I., cathedral Sunday, observers said.

Among the couples there to renew their nuptial vows were 88-year-old Mathias Young and his wife, Evangeline, 85. The pair grew up as neighbors in Burrillville, R.I., and married 68 years ago, The Providence Journal reported.

The Youngs were the oldest couple at the special mass, the second-annual wedding anniversary celebration offered by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence at the city's Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul.

Bishop Thomas Tobin presided over the ceremony, the Journal said, leading the mostly elderly couples in reciting their vows.


Men say they do too stop to ask directions

TORONTO, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- A survey of Canadian drivers about stresses while on road trips contradicts the widespread claim that most men are too stubborn to stop and ask for directions.

The survey conducted by the Ipsos Reid agency for Microsoft's new Streets & Trips 2009 system found 71 percent of men reported a willingness to stop when lost, compared with 44 percent of women.

Road trips into unfamiliar territory were full of stressors that even affected couples' relationships, the poll found. Nearly 20 percent of the unpublished number of respondents said they had argued with their spouses during road trips over such things as running out of gas or too many washroom stops.

Arriving late for a meeting or gathering was cited as stressful for 83 percent of drivers, while 73 percent said being lost on the road in the dark is stressful. Driving in an unfamiliar city was a stressor for 63 percent.

Despite the findings, only 31 percent of drivers said they took time to map and plan their road trips, the release said.

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