Etc...

Hand me that towel, OK?

There are people who enjoy a long, relaxing soak in a hot tub. But even the greatest spa enthusiast has nothing on the seven young people who wobbled out of showers last Sunday in the Victoria Hotel in Hoevelhof, Germany. They'd been standing under continuously running water since the previous Wednesday - 101 hours - except for brief meal breaks and to rub in liberal handfuls of skin cream. Yes, they were aiming for a new listing in the Guinness Book of World Records, and it would appear they succeeded: The previous mark, set five years ago, was an even 100 hours. The five guys and two women each wore a swimsuit and tried to take an occasional stand-up nap. The last to leave, a teenager, was awarded a $2,500 prize. Said a hotel spokeswoman: "The participants are in good health, but very tired."

'Demolition derbies,' road rage: Not in Cedar Rapids

Judging from a two-year study of claims and accident data collected by researchers with the Allstate Insurance Co., there is a correlation between the size of a city and what happens on its streets. Take Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for example. One of the smallest of 196 cities studied, it emerged as the safest in the nation for driving. On average, motorists there are involved in a fender-bender once in 15 years, compared to the national average of once in 10 years. A more relaxed Midwestern pace, a straightforward street grid, a well-engineered crosstown thoroughfare, and a good knowledge of traffic laws were cited as factors in the city's notable safety record. The safest cities in which to drive, according to Allstate's research:

1. Cedar Rapids, Iowa
2. Sioux Falls, S.D.
3. Chattanooga, Tenn.
4. Huntsville, Ala.
5. Knoxville, Tenn.
6. Des Moines, Iowa
7. Topeka, Kan.
8. Lakewood, Colo.
9. Fort Collins, Colo.
10. Birmingham, Ala.

- Associated Press

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