Watercooler Stories

Feb. 10, 2012 at 6:30 AM
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Man charged for throwing pennies at car

ASHLAND, Mass., Feb. 9 (UPI) -- An Ashland, Mass., driver was arrested and charged for throwing a handful of pennies at another car, police said.

Paul P. Castelli, 42, was angry at a driver who honked at him Tuesday and retaliated by throwing a handful of pennies, MetroWest Daily News, Framingham, Mass., reported.

Police said the driver of the car that was showered with pennies honked when Castelli, in a GMC pickup, pulled out of a side street.

"At the next light, the pickup beeped its horn and the driver leaned out and threw a handful of coins at the car," said police spokesman Lt. Richard Briggs. "The coins went through the open window and the open sunroof."

A passenger in the car was hit in the face with a penny and the car was scratched by pennies, a police report of the incident said.

The driver of the car wrote down Castelli's license number and called police, who tracked him to his home, where he was arrested.

Castelli was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon -- the coins -- and malicious destruction of property worth more than $250.

Castelli pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released without bail. He is due back in court March 12.

Martha Washington's dress fabric for sale

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Officials with the Philadelphia-based Raab collection said they are selling a piece of fabric from one of Martha Washington's dresses.

Nathan Raab, vice president of the Raab Collection, said the 5-inch-by-9-inch swatch of fabric from a dress belonging to President George Washington's wife can be purchased for $40,000, the Philadelphia Daily News reported Thursday.

In our experience, this is unique," Raab said of the item, which might be the only piece of Martha Washington's wardrobe to be sold to collectors.

Raab said the swatch comes with a letter written from one-time owner Alden Freeman when he gave the fabric in 1932 to Nan Britton, a woman who claimed to have had an affair with President Warren G. Harding and alleged he was the father of her daughter.

Freeman said in his letter he was giving the fabric to Britton for her "efforts to secure justice not only for President Harding's daughter but for all other wronged and disinherited children of unmarried mothers."

Mixer heist gets mix of probation, service

HAWTHORNE, Calif., Feb. 9 (UPI) -- An ex-mayor of Hawthorne, Calif., got probation and community service for lifting an industrial-strength mixer he said he needs for his industrial-sized bashes.

Larry Guidi pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of grand theft and was sentenced to a year's probation and 100 hours of community service for the theft of the commercial-grade food mixer from the Hawthorne School District, where he worked, the Los Angeles Times reported.

When he was arrested in 2010, Guidi allegedly told police that he wanted the appliance for mixing pizza dough for the large weekend backyard parties he would host for friends and family.

A surveillance camera apparently filmed Guidi maneuvering the mixer into a pickup truck and driving away.

The mixer was valued at $1,300.

'Survivor' invades Northwestern classroom

EVANSTON, Ill., Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Students at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., are learning about reality TV in a class set up like the CBS show "Survivor."

The class, titled "The Tribe Has Spoken: Surviving TV's New Reality," was offered for the first time this semester by radio, television and film professor Max Dawson, a university release said.

"College courses on contemporary TV programs are not a new phenomenon," Dawson said.

The 55 undergraduate students in the class are divided into four "tribes" that compete against one another in weekly quizzes, the release said. The group with the highest score at the end of five weeks is granted "immunity" from the midterm exam.

In recent years, Harvard, Berkeley and Middlebury have taught classes on HBO's "The Wire" and a class was offered at University of North Florida devoted to the supernatural thriller "Lost," the release said.

"'Survivor' was America's first hit reality show and it is no exaggeration to say that it changed how audiences think about TV, celebrity and media in general," Dawson said. "To better understand the state of American TV in the 2000s, there's no better place to start than with 'Survivor.'"

A visit from former "Survivor" cast members was scheduled for the class Thursday. Those visiting were to include John Cochran, from "Survivor: South Pacific," Stephen Fishbach from "Survivor: Tocantins" and Jenny Guzon-Bae of "Survivor: Cook Islands."

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