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CANDIDATES ARE FULL OF HOT AIR ... LITERALLY

POLITICS AS USUAL

Why would two political candidates ever even consider debating when they could just don big inflatable sumo suits and enter the ceremonial circle of battle? Welcome to Lansdale, Pa., population 17,000. Mayor Andy Szekely is up for re-election, running against his pal Ben Gross. The truth is, the two don't disagree on a lot, and their families vacation together. "I love him like a brother, even though he snores like a chainsaw," Gross told the Philadelphia Inquirer, in as close as we're going to get to political scandal. Candidates in three City Council races were the undercard ahead of the Szekely-Gross main event. Gross won, as Democrats went 3-0-1 in the matches. "This shows we've got a sense of humor, we're a little quirky," Szekely said. After the matches, the victorious Gross invited the assembled crowd of a couple dozen to his place for beer.

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MATERNITY WARD

Oh, baby, this birth has a lot of 911s

TaMara Sheppard of Tacoma, Wash., went into labor about noon on Friday and went to the hospital. The emergency dispatcher was taken into the delivery room, and a little after 9 p.m., delivered Nina Morgan. So, why is this interesting? Even Sheppard had to have it pointed out to her. "It never crossed my mind until my husband said, "You're a 911 dispatcher, you had a baby on 9/11 at 9:11,'" she told the Tacoma News Tribune. Freaky. The baby did not weigh 9 pounds, 11 ounces. If she had, this item probably would have made the top of the column.

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WASTE IN SPACE

No reason to bring that back to Earth

After those photos taken by Hubble were released last week, we just expect really cool and beautiful scenes from space. So dedicated space watchers who knew where and when to look to the heavens for a glimpse of the space shuttle Discovery on Wednesday were treated to a bright, sparkling, curving trail behind the craft, according to Space.com. By all accounts, it was beautiful. But what was it? Well, before coming in for a landing, shuttles dump waste water, so it was ... ewww! They used to let it go while docked at the space station, but a new science platform could be in the line of fire, so they wait until they are in orbit. Since they had been docked for 10 days, estimates are it dropped 150 pounds of waste. NASA said it is not unusual for it to be visible from Earth.

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THAT'S MINE!

Gardener makes explosive discovery

Paul Davis was doing a little gardening in his back yard in Exeter, England, when he uncovered something. He thought it was an old lawn mower part. He posed for photos. Then he looked it up on the Internet, and, huh, whaddya know, it was an antitank grenade. Police came over, evacuated the neighborhood and blew it up. "I'm glad I didn't hit it with my spade," Davis told the Mail. "It could have been kaboom."

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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