Etc...

I've got lots of time

When you're out of work, just getting up off your duff sometimes isn't easy to do. Case in point: Daniel Baraniuk. It took him 6-1/2 months. But in the end, it turned out to be quite profitable. The unemployed 20-something from Poland collected $22,800 last week at an amusement park in Soltau, Germany, after outlasting nine other contestants in the World Pole-Sitting Championship. Their perches were 24 inches by 16 inches and 8 feet off the ground, and the runner-up dropped out back in October. Baraniuk said he'd have stayed on longer, but the number of visitors to the park had dwindled because of the cold weather, and he was bored.

Oh, it's you again

Meanwhile, in Hamburg, Germany, a repeat offender has been arrested and fined once more for driving without a license. What's so unusual about that, you ask? Only that he was caught by the same policeman who'd just testified against him at the trial that resulted in an eight-month jail term. But, as it wasn't set to begin for almost a month, he left the courtroom, promptly climbed behind the wheel of a borrowed car, and took off.

Let's call him McDonald's!

Roadside trash usually consists of paper or plastic flung from a passing vehicle. So two women driving through Hutchinson, Kan. were understandably startled when the small item pitched from a fast-moving pickup had four legs, fur and a sweet disposition.

The puppy that Juliet Raya and her sister rescued last week remained in the care of the Hutchinson Humane Society on Monday, having recovered from an injured leg.

Still at large was the driver who flung the small, pointy-eared mutt out the window of a maroon Ford F-150 pickup truck, police said.

The saga started on Thanksgiving Day as Raya, and her sister, both of Wichita, drove into Hutchinson to have dinner at their grandmother's house.

As they neared an intersection, the pickup passed their car and sped ahead of them.

"He cut us off, jumped in front of us," Raya said. "And then a little ways on we saw a dog flying out the window."

Raya said her sister slammed on the brakes.

"We didn't know whether to chase the truck or get the dog," Raya said.

They opted to pull over and retrieve the puppy, which was bleeding from its leg injury.

Quote of the day

'It freaked me out. I didn't sign up to support the military effort.'

- Daniel Alterman, a New York City resident whose son, a high-school junior, received a

letter promoting enlistment in the armed forces under a provision of the new federal education law.

'Black Friday' ... and where shoppers spent their money

Retailers across the US are breathing a sigh of relief after taking in a reported $7.4 billion over the first weekend of the traditional holiday gift-buying season, a 12 percent rise over last year. A survey of almost 7,000 people found 75 percent went shopping on or after "Black Friday" - so named because the day after Thanksgiving is when many stores begin operating in the black. Apparel was the top buy for women, at 45 percent. Men favored CDs, DVDs, videos, videogames, and books by a margin of 38 percent. Where consumers did their shopping (by percentage), according to the poll by the National Retail Federation:

1. Discount stores 49.0%
2. Via the Internet 33.2%
3. Department stores 30.6%
4. Specialty stores 27.2%
5. Catalogues 16.0% - PR Newswire

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