Watercooler Stories

July 14, 2009 at 6:30 AM
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Amtrak mooning draws crowd of 1,000

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif., July 14 (UPI) -- Officials in Laguna Niguel, Calif., said increased law enforcement did not stop about 1,000 people from participating in the city's annual Mooning of Amtrak.

Police Chief Lt. Andy Ferguson said Saturday's event was far calmer than last year's, when police witnessed public intoxication, urination and defecation among the crowd of 8,000 to 10,000 people showing their rear ends to passing trains, the Orange County (Calif.) Register reported.

Jim Amormino, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department, said three vehicles were towed during the Amtrak mooning but no arrests were made. City officials had earlier announced enforcement of laws -- including those banning public drunkenness and parking ordinances -- would be stepped up during this year's event.

"The crowds have been very mellow. I didn't see any major violations -- public drunkenness or anything," Amormino said. "It's nothing like last year."

Mayor Robert Ming hailed the increased law enforcement during the event as a success.

"Locals who wanted to do their thing, did their thing, and the people from out of town didn't come. This is exactly what we were hoping for," Ming said.

NYPD typewriter bill nearly $1 million

NEW YORK, July 14 (UPI) -- New York Police Department officials said the city is spending nearly $1 million to purchase and maintain typewriters for the police force.

City officials signed a $982,269 contract last year with New Jersey typewriter manufacturer Swintec for the purchase of manual and electric typewriters during the next three years. Last month the city inked a $99,570 deal with New York's Afax Business Machines for maintenance on the typing machines, the New York Post reported.

NYPD sources said the vast majority of the typewriters are for use by police.

Most of the city's arrest forms have been computerized, but property and evidence vouchers printed on carbon-paper forms still require the use of typewriters.

"It just doesn't make sense that we can't enter these (vouchers) on computer," a police officer told the newspaper.

Dr. Edith Linn, a retired New York police officer and professor of criminal justice at the city's Berkeley College, said many of the 500 police officers she interviewed for a study told her the outdated equipment makes them less likely to perform arrests for minor offenses.

An NYPD representative told the Post officials are working on software that would eliminate the need for the typewriters.

Disliked Canadian sculpture disappears

CARAQUET, New Brunswick, July 14 (UPI) -- No one really loved the fiberglass sculpture in front of the hospital in Caraquet, New Brunswick, and now it's disappeared, the Canadian town's mayor says.

The artwork, which resembled a starfish lying on its side, actually represented a fetus. It been displayed outside the hospital for 15 years until it vanished last week, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

The town's mayor says he has asked officials at Hopital de l'Enfant Jesus whether they had ordered the sculpture be taken down.

"Well, nobody loved it," Caraquet Mayor Antoine Landry said. "Unfortunately, nobody liked this type of sculpture in front of the hospital."

Apparently not all the locals hated "l'etoile de mer," or the starfish, as residents nicknamed it.

"I think it's a work that deserves to be seen again and should be displayed somewhere else in Caraquet," said one man who did not give his name, the CBC reported.

Scuba shop to offer underwater weddings

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., July 14 (UPI) -- A Florida scuba shop says it is seeking pastors, priests, rabbis and other religious officials for its latest promotion -- underwater weddings.

Pro Dive International of Fort Lauderdale said it is recruiting clergy members for its first underwater weddings to be conducted within the next few months, The Miami Herald reported.

Debbi Ballard, 47, a Jewish cantor, said her training with the scuba shop involved use of a mask with a microphone that would allow her to communicate with a bride and groom while guests listen and watch a video link from a boat.

Reform Rabbi Barry Silver of L'Dor Va-Dor congregation in Boynton Beach, Fla., said the ceremonies could be legal under Jewish law provided certain traditions are kept intact.

Ballard said the company has a system that would allow the groom to smash a light bulb -- a common substitute for the traditional wrapped glass -- with his flipper and special cups give the bride and groom the opportunity to sip wine during the ceremony.

Pro Dive owner Doug Huberman said underwater wedding packages start at about $1,500. Huberman said he and his wife will be among the first to renew their vows under water.

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