Watercooler Stories

Jan. 21, 2009 at 6:30 AM
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Ice cream causes positive alcohol test

FRANKSTON, Australia, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- An Australian man challenged to prove his claim that ice cream gave him a blood alcohol reading demonstrated his defense in court.

The man, whose name was not given, had asked Frankston Magistrates' Court to remove the breath testing alcohol interlock device from his car, the (Melbourne, Australia) Daily Sun reported Tuesday.

Prosecutors inquired why the machine had registered a "fail," which prevents the car from starting, despite the man's claims that he had not been drinking.

The man claimed the alcohol reading was the result of eating a Bubble O' Bill ice cream treat and Magistrate Rod Crisp ordered a test to be performed to back up the claim. Police recorded the man's blood alcohol content as 0.00 and performed the test a second time after he took a few bites of Bubble O' Bill, yielding a 0.018 reading.

Crisp granted the man's request to remove the breath testing device from his car.

Experts said consuming some foods or drinks before breath tests can cause a false positive reading. It is recommended that that test subjects wait at least 15 minutes in between eating and blowing into the machine.

Austin artist fashions junk-mail sculpture

AUSTIN, Texas, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Texas artist Annette Lawrence says her junk-mail sculpture is a statement on the amount of paper that makes up bulk mail in the United States.

Lawrence told the KXAN-TV in Austin that her latest work on display at the city's Flatbread Press consists of all of the junk mail that was delivered to her home during a single year.

"It is a year's worth of junk mail torn into 2-inch wide strips and stacked and bound," said Lawrence. "It is intended to show how much junk mail comes into a one-person household in one year."

While such unsolicited correspondence is a revenue stream for the U.S. Postal Service, Lawrence said it translates to tons of paper that is hauled in by letter carriers and hauled out in the trash or recycling bin.

"I hope they (viewers) take away a sense of, 'Wow, that is a lot of paper,'" said Lawrence.

Lawrence has no plans to throw out her creation when the time comes. Each Texas-sized stack, which represents a month of mail, is for sale for $10,000 a piece.

Villages feud over whale bones

COURTMACSHERRY, Ireland, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Officials in two Irish villages said the local governments are feuding over the skeleton of a whale that died in a bay between the towns.

Leaders in the villages of Courtmacsherry and Kilbrittain have both drawn up plans to put the fin whale's jawbone and ribcage on display to attract tourists and serve as an educational tool, Sky News reported Tuesday.

The whale was found stranded Thursday in Courtmacsherry Bay and soon died despite rescue attempts. Kilbrittain residents retrieved the jawbones, saying the water mammal died in an area of the harbor under their village's jurisdiction. They said the bones are being kept in a "secret location."

"I would describe this as a friendly argument between the villages," said Kevin Murphy, a county council member representing Kilbrittain. "But the people of Kilbrittain have gone to a lot of trouble and expense to salvage the mammal's bone structure so I would hope that it will stay in Kilbrittain."

John Young, the chairman of Courtmacsherry Development Association, said officials in his village want to display the whale bones in its town hall.

"We don't want to fight with Kilbrittain over this, we are neighbors but let's try to come to a compromise on it," he said.

Would-be robber trapped in bank doors

DAYTON, Ohio, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Witnesses said an attempted bank robber in Ohio was foiled after he became trapped between security doors while trying to flee the scene.

Bystanders said the man entered the National City Bank branch Tuesday morning in Dayton and handed a note to a teller demanding money, the Dayton Daily News reported Tuesday.

However, bank employees activated a security system as the man attempted to leave the bank and he became trapped in between the interior and exterior doors of the bank, witnesses said. He attempted to break through the exterior door but was interrupted by the arrival of a Dayton police officer, who took the man into custody.

Investigators said the suspect was taken to police headquarters for questioning.

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