Here, you handle it

"Things like this do happen," Secaucus, N.J., animal warden Kevin Kessler said in explaining why no criminal charges would be filed against a family who sent their new DVD player back to the manufacturer for an overhaul. What does an animal control officer have to do with electronics? Normally, nothing. But Kessler was called in when the carton shipped by Sheila Himmerick of Jefferson City, Mo., arrived at the Samsung Corp. repair center ... because it held more than the defective unit. Also among the styrofoam packing chips was the Himmericks' three-foot-long pet python, which had slithered in while they weren't looking. No harm done, but imagine the surprise of whoever opened the box. The snake will be returned. As for the repair people, they had just one question: Couldn't some other way have been found to show dissatisfaction with the product?

Hot ticket: Women's hoops a powerful draw for fans

No other women's sport attracts larger crowds - at the collegiate level - than basketball. And no other team is busier at the ticket window than the University of Tennes-see, where the average home attendance last season top-ped 14,000 per game. The University of Connecticut, the three-time defending NCAA women's championship team, was second. Probably the most unexpected school among attendance leaders is New Mexico, which has been coming on as a basketball power. Last year, the Lady Lobos reached the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament for the first time. The universities with the largest home crowds and their average attendance in 2003-2004:

1. Tennessee 14,403
2. Connecticut 13,435
3. Texas Tech 12,577
4. New Mexico 11,865
5. Purdue 10,105
6. Minnesota 9,703
7. Penn State 9,670
8. Kansas State 9,365
9. Iowa State 8,021
10. Texas 7,191
- Official 2005 NCAA Women's Basketball Guide

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