Watercooler Stories

Dec. 27, 2012 at 6:30 AM
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Revelers invited to shred bad memories

NEW YORK, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- The organizers of New York's Times Square New Year's Eve said bad memories will be destroyed in the city for the sixth annual Good Riddance Day.

The Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment said a giant Cintas shredder, a rubber mallet and a dumpster will be made available from noon to 1 p.m. Friday in Times Square for people to dispose of their unpleasant memories of 2012.

The organizers said Adam Ingber of Long Beach, N.Y., was chosen to be the first to destroy his memories of the year Friday after his family's home sustained major damage during Hurricane Sandy.

The event will also feature volunteers shredding pieces of paper bearing the bad memories of people who submit their memories online, the organizers said.

Man restores couple's Sandy-ravaged photos

NEW YORK, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- A New York couple said a kind stranger restored an album of photos destroyed by the waters of Hurricane Sandy.

Mary and Lenny Buongiorno said the waterlogged photo album, which included family wedding pictures from the 1950s, had to be thrown out after the October storm ravaged their home in the Midland Beach neighborhood of Staten Island -- so it was left in their yard during cleanup efforts, the New York Post reported Wednesday.

"Everything was floating," Mary Buongiorno said. "We were looking at the pictures -- with bacteria and water, you don't know what to do. I figured it was gone forever."

However, the album was retrieved from the roadside by bus driver Mike Valente, who said he spent a few hours each day for five weeks cleaning, drying, rescanning and restoring the photos on his computer.

"When the album came to my house, it smelled terrible," Valente said. "It was sitting underwater for two weeks, the leather and cardboard absorbed the water and there was also sewage there."

Valente brought the restored album to the Buongiorno home last week.

"I never expected anything," Mary said. "When I opened it up, the pictures were just overwhelming!"

Valente said he performed the unexpected restoration because he knows the value of photographs.

"We have traditions and we have things that we do in my family; I'm all about memories," he said.

Stolen 800-pound gorilla statue found

ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Police in Florida said they have recovered an 800-pound bronze gorilla statue stolen last month from a hotel.

Orlando police said the statue, valued at between $5,000 and $8,000, was stolen before Thanksgiving from The Metropolitan Express hotel and was discovered on the doorstep of Giovani Alba, who lives about 4 miles from the hotel at The Towns Of Southgate Complex, WKMG-TV, Orlando, reported Wednesday.

"I came home it scared me, the gorilla on my doorstep" Alba said.

Alba said a friend discovered the gorilla under some brush while walking his dog in the complex and hauled it to his doorstep with help from another friend and a dolly.

Alba said he discovered the state had been stolen when he did an online search for "bronze gorilla" on Christmas Day and found a news article about the theft.

Police said no charges have been filed in the case. They said it will be up to hotel officials to figure out how to transport the gorilla back to the facility.

Hotel officials could not be reached for comment due to the holiday, WKMG said.

Fishing poles common target of thieves

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Fishing poles are among the most commonly stolen items in Corpus Christi, Texas, police reported.

It is easy to understand why, Corpus Christi Police Department Capt. Jason Brady said. They are lightweight, easy to spot in pickup truck beds and garages, and portable, and since fishermen typically have multiple lines, a dozen rods could be taken in a single robbery, he said.

Although it is possible to spend thousands of dollars on fishing equipment, many anglers are reckless with their equipment's care, the Corpus Christi Caller Times said Wednesday, noting many people leave rods and reels overnight in the back of trucks.

"If you go fishing just a few times a year, a lot of times the day to go to use it (the rods) is going to be the first time you notice it's gone. At that point it's really difficult for us to work a robbery that happened at an unknown time in the last six months," Brady said.

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