Watercooler Stories – May 31, 2012 – UPI.com

No naked kite-surfing for B.C. premier

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 31 (UPI) — British Columbia Premier Christy Clark says billionaire Richard Branson‘s suggestion she take part in some naked kite-surfing was not “very respectful.”

Last week, when Branson was in town to promote Virgin Atlantic’s first London to Vancouver flight, Clark offered to take the British businessman kite-surfing on Vancouver Island on his next visit.

Branson then posted a blog Monday that he had offered to go up with her on his back, CTV News reported Wednesday.

“One thing though — I forgot to tell her about the dress code! Well, here it is,” he wrote under a photo of him kite-surfing with a naked model clinging to his back.

“The offer still stands Christy!” he added.

Clark told reporters Tuesday she was put off by the nature of Branson invitation.

“I just don’t think it’s very respectful,” she said. “The thing is, lots of young women, I hope, want to run for politics. I think when you meet with the CEO of a billion-dollar company, who wants to do business with your province, you can get a little more respectful treatment than that.”

Still, the premier injected a little humor with this zinger: “If that’s his best pickup line then maybe there’s a reason he called his company Virgin,” she said.


Girl, 8, gets ‘award’ for homework excuses

TUCSON, May 31 (UPI) — An Arizona woman said her 8-year-old daughter was humiliated to receive the “Catastrophe Award” from her teacher for giving the most homework excuses.

Christina Valdez said her daughter, Cassandra Garcia, received the colorful card from her teacher May 18 at Desert Springs Academy in Tucson, ABC News reported Wednesday.

“You’re Tops! Catastrophe Award. Awarded to Cassandra Garcia. For Most Excuses for Not Having Homework,” the award reads.

The card was signed “Ms. Plowman” with the date and a smiley face.

“I think it’s cruel and no child should be given an award like this. It’s disturbing,” Valdez said.

She said she called the school to complain, but the principal “blew me off.”

“She said it was a joke that was played and that the teachers joke around with the children,” she said.

The school’s principal declined to comment.


Parking meters don’t cater to short people

LOUISVILLE, Ky., May 31 (UPI) — Vertically challenged residents of Louisville, Ky., said the new parking meters installed around the Hall of Justice are too tall for them to reach.

Rick Lombardo, who stands at 5 feet, 1 inch, said the new meters, which are 5 feet, 5 inches tall, have upward-angled screens that do not allow shorter motorists to see the screens on the meters, WAVE-TV, Louisville, reported Wednesday.

Tiffany Smith, assistant director of the Parking Authority of River City, said the meters were designed to allow motorists to pay with credit cards as well as coins.

“If they are well received by our citizens and visitors PARC will consider a purchase to install them permanently,” Smith said of the meters, which were installed in mid-May.

She said the meters were put atop existing poles that will be shortened by workers if they become permanent. Officials said they may consider cutting the poles sooner to allow shorter motorists to see the displays.


Elephants escape in Swedish park

GOTHENBURG, Sweden, May 31 (UPI) — A trio of elephants from a traveling circus escaped in a Swedish city and were seen eating vegetation in a public park, witnesses said.

Christer Johansson, who witnessed the incident at the Slottsskogen park in Gothenburg, said the elephants appeared calm when they wandered away from the circus and grazed on the park’s plants, The Local.se reported Wednesday.

“First, the staff of the circus had the elephants within the fences, but suddenly the gates were open and they walked out,” he said. “Now they’re free in the woods.”

The Aftonbladet newspaper said the elephants were safely back within the circus’ fence by late afternoon.

Jonas Wahlstrom of the Skansen Open Air museum in Stockholm said he suspects the incident was a publicity stunt.

“It’s clear that this is a PR stunt. The elephants have certainly had a push in the backside as they escaped,” he said. “Circus elephants are very tame and have been trained to do exactly what you want. If elephants panic, they can obviously run people down, but it would surprise me if this happened with circus elephants.”

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