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Setting new belly flop mark will likely leave one

Attempted flop

Setting new mark will also leave one

Darren Taylor, also known as Professor Splash, above, will attempt to break his own record, and that might not be the least of what he'll break. He is the holder of the shallow diving record, having set the mark by diving 35 feet, 5 inches into a foot of water. On Friday night, he will attempt to improve that mark to 40 feet. Taylor uses a technique known in professional diving circuits at the "belly flop." "For your life's sake, jump straight up, jump out, and make sure you land flat enough to blacken your chest and legs," said the stunt man. "I never forget what could happen if this dive goes bad." Taylor, 47, will make his jump on Jimmy Kimmel's show.

Higher learning

Replace Webster's with logic? LOL

John Wells thinks that spelling is overrated. Which is a little surprising, since he is the emeritus professor of phonetics at University College London and president of the Spelling Society. He says that the informal language evolving with texting and the Internet are the "way forward." "With English it's not phonetic, and there are just so many irregularities," he told the Times of London. "It seems to be a great pity that English-speaking countries are holding back children in this way. Let's allow people greater freedom to spell logically." Ah, logic. You knew there would be a catch. Also, Wells hates apostrophes. "Have we really nothing better to do with our lives than fret about the apostrophe?" he asked.

Freshman gets dorm of dear ol' dad

Mike Robell got his room assignment for his first semester at Michigan State. It was room B310 in Emmons Hall. Which brought his dad, Rich, a sense of deja vu. Especially when he saw the wall color, and the floor and the broken window latch. It was the same room he had in 1978. It even had the same phone number. A university archivist confirmed that it was the same room Rich had. "I guess it was meant to be," said dad.


Missing gorilla

The 8-foot mechanical gorilla stolen from outside a Maine store has been found. Owners of Sandy's Sales couldn't figure out how the big ape was taken without them knowing, then were pretty upset to see a hooded person on YouTube demand $1-million ransom, then say, "I didn't know it'd be such a big deal." Then it turned up in a corn field in Vermont, almost 400 miles away, which is not at all what police profilers had expected. (They said it would be in a college student's apartment.) The owners, who intend to press charges if a suspect is caught, say their old truck can't make the trip to pick it up, but offers of help have come in.

Compiled from Times wire services and other sources by staff writer Jim Webster, who can be reached at

Setting new belly flop mark will likely leave one 09/09/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 4:24pm]
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