Watercooler Stories

Feb. 1, 2010 at 6:30 AM
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Alleged robber calls cops when punched

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- An alleged California robber called police when a man punched him in the face in a bid to stop the crime, police say.

San Diego police say they responded to the scene Saturday near a trolley station when a 43-year-old man called them to report he had been assaulted, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

San Diego police Officer David Stafford said, however, that when they got there, they determined the caller had been punched because a bystander had moved to break up an alleged attempt by the complainant to rob an 83-year-old victim.

The newspaper said the 43-year-old was arrested on suspicion of elder abuse and robbery.

Shopping carts abound in annual Idiotarod

NEW YORK, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- New York's Idiotarod competition draws all sorts of people to the annual shopping cart race, participants in the 400-strong, off-beat event say.

Idiotarod participant David Harrison donned a hot dog outfit for Saturday's race, but the 36-year-old admitted being shocked by several fellow racers who donned only leotards despite frigid temperatures, the New York Daily News reported Sunday. It was about 15 degrees at race time.

"Those guys have to be crazy; it's so cold out," said Harrison, whose Idiotarod teammates dressed as condiments.

Among the teams taking part in the sixth-annual shopping cart race, organized by a group known only as Corporation X, was a team dressed as ninjas prepared to use smoke bombs.

Also on hand was a team dressed in the theme of the movie "300," whose members used onions as weapons against other teams.

Idiotarod participant Adrienne Hudspeth, 28, of New York told the Daily News while some teams vie for first place, hers was happy to simply take part.

"We're not in it to win it. You won't see us sprinting," Hudspeth offered.

Appearance a weighty matter for candidates

NEW YORK, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Americans consider heavy male political candidates more honest and reliable than thin ones, but thin still wins for female candidates, a study shows.

"A candidate's physical appearance plays a greater role in evaluation than we have thought in the past," Dr. Elizabeth Miller, the study's co-author, told the New York Daily News. "We assume voters only pay attention to things like issue position, but to think that they don't pay attention to physical appearance is a bit naive," added Miller, a political scientist at the University of Missouri.

For her study, Miller divided 120 volunteers into four groups. Each group got photos and descriptions of four phony candidates who had the same gender and body type: obese male, skinny male, obese female, skinny female.

Each candidate's views differed within each group. The subjects rated candidates based on criteria including ability to perform and honesty.

Skinny males were viewed 6 percent less positively than overweight males while skinny women were viewed 5 percent more positively than overweight women, the study found.

Overall, obese female candidates were viewed 10 percent less favorably than obese males.

Light switches have $792,000 price tag

CLEVELAND, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- City officials in Cleveland say installing light switches in the city's nine-story police headquarters will likely cost $792,000.

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported Friday the city council's Public Safety Committee voted this week to have light switches installed throughout the downtown police headquarters, built in 1976.

The $792,000 price tag will be paid with federal grants, city officials said.

Safety Director Martin Flask said the proposal, which still needs to be approved by the full city council, would finally allow the lights in the building to be turned off when not needed.

"I don't think there's 15 light switches in that building," said Flask, who is in the dark about why builders didn't install light switches.

"I don't know the logic," he told The Plain Dealer.

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