Watercooler Stories

Oct. 8, 2009 at 6:30 AM
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Lawsuit retrieves child's home run ball

MIAMI, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- The Philadelphia Phillies resolved a lawsuit by returning the landmark home run ball caught by a 12-year-old fan in Miami.

The family of Jennifer Valdivia filed a lawsuit after the Phillies refused to give her back the ball Ryan Howard had hit for his 200th career home run.

The Miami Herald said Jennifer caught the ball when it landed in the seats at Land Shark Stadium this season. A team representative supposedly fast-talked her into trading it for an autographed team ball, which the family contends is worth much less than the Howard home run ball.

The Valdivias hired an attorney and baseball memorabilia enthusiast who tried to negotiate a return of the ball and finally forced the team's hand with a lawsuit filed Monday.

The Herald said the Phillies front office declined comment on the legal tussle, saying they were busy getting ready for the playoffs.

'Jesus' banners rapidly disappearing

SYDNEY, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Australia's Bible Society campaign said dozens of banners celebrating Jesus have been stolen from outside churches and homes in several New South Wales towns.

Daniel Willis, co-founder and head of the Bible Society campaign, said posters reading "Jesus. All About Life" began disappearing from churches and homes shortly after they started going up in September while others were vandalized or damaged, The (Sydney) Daily Telegraph reported.

The banners are part of a multi-denominational ad campaign that also includes TV commercials and bus shelter advertisements.

Willis said the disappearance of the banners, which cost about $266 apiece, may not be a negative sign.

"It's are an indication of the impact the campaign is having," Willis said. "People are coming up to me and saying 'Everywhere I turn I see your sign.' There are some people who will want to souvenir one and other people might be offended by it but it gets people talking about Jesus."

Egypt conservatives want fake hymen banned

CAIRO, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Conservative Egyptian politicians are calling for a ban on a Chinese mail-order product designed to help women feign virginity.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which controls 20 percent of the seats in the Egyptian parliament, said the Artificial Virginity Hymen Kit -- which involves a pouch inserted into the vagina to release a blood-like liquid emulating the breaking of the hymen -- should be banned and anyone caught selling it should be arrested, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"Egyptian girls are normally afraid to lose their virginity before marriage," Sayed Askar, a lawmaker with the Muslim Brotherhood, said on the floor of parliament. "A product like that can make it easier and tempting for girls who don't have strong wills to commit such a sin. It will be a crying shame and a blot on the government if they allow the selling of this product in our markets."

Lina Samaan, an Egyptian accountant, said the controversy brings cultural double-standards to the forefront.

"Sex is a right for every woman but unfortunately we started turning to products like these because men -- even non-religious ones who have sex before marriage -- wouldn't marry a girl if she's not virgin," she said.

Survey: Britons lie about seeing films

LONDON, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- A survey suggests "The Godfather" and its sequels are the classic films Britons are the most likely to claim to have seen without actually watching the movies.

The survey, conducted by Orange mobile phone company, found one in five respondents admitted telling people they had seen Francis Ford Coppola's Oscar-winning 1972 film and is sequels despite having never seen them, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The phone company said its survey also found Britons often lied about seeing "Dirty Dancing," "The Shawshank Redemption," "Rocky," "Gone With the Wind" and "Citizen Kane."

"People want to claim to have seen the weighty and intelligent films that they actually haven't," Helen O' Hara of Empire Magazine said. "'The Godfather' tends to top most critics' lists, so it is the film people most feel they should have seen. It is a generalization, but men are more likely to see having opinions on films as a status symbol, whereas women don't have such a tick-list approach."

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