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MESSAGE FOR BOTTLE: RETURN TO SENDER

MOTHER NATURE

While on a cruise near Bermuda, Meagan Bilodeau, 8, wrote a message, stuck it in a bottle and threw it into the ocean. Which is littering, but we're going to look past that for a minute. Ten days later, the bottle was found by Teddy Herrick, 11, in Massachusetts' Vineyard Sound. The crazy part of that is that Meagan lives about 20 miles away, in Falmouth, Mass. "I thought that it followed me home," she told CNN. Her mother had a much more scientific explanation: "It was almost as if the bottle had been equipped with a homing device," said Denise Acquaviva. Okay, that's not scientific at all.

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BUNNIES!

'Friend' returns stolen magazine

Call off the alerts, the Fifty/50 sports bar in Chicago has gotten its missing Playboy magazine back. The restroom in the bar features framed copies of the magazine, and last week, someone made off with the May 1970 issue, featuring the lovely Phyllis Babila, who once lived nearby. Initial suspects were friends, ex-boyfriends, family or ex-family. "That's the only thing I would think of," said co-owner Scott Weiner, which we swear we didn't make up. But a call to Babila, who lives in Los Angeles now, said none of her exes are in Chicago and she had no suspects. But Weiner reports that after reports of the theft, a man came in and gave it back, reporting that it had been taken by a "friend," and that "friend" had been really drunk. "The Playboys have always been kind of a sacred thing," Weiner told the Chicago Tribune. "No one's really messed with them before."

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PARENTING

Birthdays made easy to remember

There were a lot of babies born Wednesday, and all live with the trivial assignation of being born on 9-9-09. But Molly Reid Miller of Fayetteville, Ark., may be the only 9-9-09 baby who has a sibling that was one year, one month and one day old on Wednesday. That's right, Campbell Miller was born on 8-8-08. Andy and Alison Miller - mostly Alison - say they are not inclined to go for a 10-10-10 baby, but if they aren't answering the phone in early January, all bets are off.

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POLICE REPORTS

Check house twice, fire tear gas once

Police in Butler County, Pa., were called to Bredin Street to investigate a situation involving a disruptive man. The visit became a standoff, and in an effort to defuse it, police decided to fire tear gas into the house. Huge problem: They fired the tear gas into the wrong house, which is specifically against policy. "The whole house is just pungent with the odor of the pepper spray or the gas, whatever they used," homeowner John Spinetti told WTAE-TV. "It's burning your eyes, it burns your throat." Police have promised to pay for whatever damage the insurance company doesn't cover. Cleanup is expected to take four days.

Compiled from Times wire services and other sources by staff writer Jim Webster, who can be reached at jwebster@sptimes.com.

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