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The skinny

There was a parking space when she parked there

Parking ticket

There was a parking space when she parked

Ruth Ducker of London parked her car where she always does, around the corner from her house. Then one day she went to get her car and found that not only was her car not there any more, but her space was now a no-parking zone. It took her three weeks to find out what happened, and probably longer to believe that it was possible: Contractors brought in a crane to lift her Volkswagen Golf up so they could repaint the lines on the road, designating it a no-parking area, and replaced the car. Then parking officials came and towed it away. It took three weeks before she was notified that her car was impounded and it would cost $1,300 to get it back. The fine grew to $3,600 before Ducker got her parliament member involved. Then she got her car back, and $240 for her trouble.

World records

NOW he realizes maggots are gross

Charlie Bell of London spent an hour of his weekend transferring 37.5 pounds of live maggots from one container to another. He did this with his mouth. And he can never get that hour back. "I didn't realize that they would smell so revolting," he said without explaining why he wouldn't realize this. "It was like putting my head down a filthy public toilet." Who is shocked? Yeah, no one. Bell tells the Sun that he trained to set the record with rice, but never had a maggot in his mouth until the big day. The previous record was 33 pounds, but Bell said that if some young punk comes along and breaks his record, they can have it.

Alert Gargamel! Smurfs gathering!

Only slightly less mortifying is a record that students at Swansea University in Wales will attempt to break next week. The Daily Telegraph reports that more than 3,000 people will paint themselves blue and wear white hats at a nightclub in an attempt to break the record for most people dressed like Smurfs in one place. The rules are that no "natural" skin can be visible. That and the uniform of a mutated troll. The previous record was set last summer in Northern Ireland at 1,253. The Swansea group is planning its event for June 8, but announcing such an event is fraught with danger: Four other groups have begun plans to top the effort.

History lesson

Newfound flag to regain old glory

As workers sorted through debris after a fire at Martin Luther King Jr. School in Milwaukee they stumbled upon a defective U.S. flag. It only had 45 stars. Then everyone realized that it wasn't defective, it was just really, really old. The flag dates to 1897, when 45 was right. School officials suspect it sat in the attic for 112 years. They intend to restore and display the flag.

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

There was a parking space when she parked there 05/29/09 [Last modified: Saturday, May 30, 2009 7:36am]
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