Watercooler Stories

Aug. 5, 2009 at 6:30 AM
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World's largest soap bubble made in London

LONDON, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- A 'bubbleologist" has created what he says is the world's largest free-floating soap bubble in a London park.

Samsam Bubbleman, 37 -- a professional bubble-maker who has performed for the Dubai royal family and numerous celebrities -- said he created the giant bubble, which stretched to 20 feet by 5 feet by 5 feet at its largest, using a secret formula he developed during the past 20 years, the Daily Mail reported Tuesday.

"It's all about having the right bubble solution," the self-described "bubbleologist" said. "If you have the right mixture, then your tools don't matter."

Bubbleman said he believes his bubble will replace the current Guinness World Record holder, a 105.4-square-foot bubble created in Minnesota in 2005.

"I'm confident it has obliterated the former record," he said. "This one dwarfs the American effort."

Obama, Helen Thomas celebrate birthdays

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama and Helen Thomas, dean of the White House press corps, celebrated their birthdays Tuesday in the White House press room.

Thomas, a columnist for Hearst Newspapers, was born Aug. 4, 1920. Obama arrived 41 years later when Thomas was already covering the White House for United Press International.

Reporters sang "Happy Birthday," cupcakes were passed around and Obama gave Thomas a birthday kiss on the cheek, The Christian Science Monitor reported. Obama stepped in when Thomas was asked about her birthday wish.

"She and I share a common birthday wish," he said. "She said she hopes for a real healthcare reform bill."

Obama got a happy-birthday phone call from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev but their conversation also dealt with more serious matters, including the situation in Georgia and the need to decrease tensions in the region.

Human remains in birthday gift?

TALLMADGE, Ohio, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- An Ohio woman said a keepsake box she bought as a birthday present for her daughter turned out to contain what appears to be cremated remains.

Jan Stansberry of Tallmadge said she bought the wooden Willow Tree Keepsake Box, which bears an image of a mother and daughter carved into the lid, at Carlton Cards as a 33rd birthday present for her daughter, Erin Lemasters, the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal reported.

"I just brought it home and put it in a gift bag," Stansberry said.

However, she said Lemasters opened the gift at her birthday party and discovered a plastic baggy containing what appears to be cremated ashes inside the wooden box.

"You can see there are shards of bones and everything," Erin Lemasters said.

The women said they were investigating the origins of the ashes. They said a message written in ink on the box's cardboard package, "Jen 8 oz," might be a clue.

"I wish this didn't happen, but I want to make sure it gets back to the person it belongs to. Maybe I got this for a reason," Stansberry said.

Quote on Cobain memorial riles officials

ABERDEEN, Wash., Aug. 5 (UPI) -- A Kurt Cobain quote on a memorial for the deceased rock star at an Aberdeen, Wash., park is drawing criticism for its inclusion of the notorious F-word.

Aberdeen City Councilman Jerry Mills said the Nirvana singer's quote -- which informs readers that drugs "are bad for you" and "will (expletive) you up," with the expletive in question a four-letter euphemism for copulation -- should be removed from the KC Riverfront Park memorial, the Aberdeen Daily World reported.

"That is a word that should be done away with," Mills said. "We paint over it every time it's on graffiti. It's inappropriate."

The quote is one of eight adorning the granite memorial to Cobain, who was born and raised in Aberdeen.

Aberdeen Mayor Bill Simpson said the city's Parks Board will decide the ultimate fate of the quote.

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