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THE SKINNY

call him underdog

dachshundtakes it beyondthe dog paddle

A Russian man has taught his dog to scuba dive. Sergei Gorbunov, a professional diver in Vladivostok, had a diving suit complete with helmet made for his pet dachshund Boniface. During a recent demonstration, Boniface barked eagerly as Gorbunov readied the equipment. Once underwater, he seemed to have a different outlook, emitting some high-pitched whines. But Gorbunov insisted: "Underwater, I don't think he experiences any stress."

class prank

This time, it's snakes in a locker

A custodian cleaning out lockers at Newton (Mass.) North High School was so shocked when a 3-foot-long snake fell at his feet that he didn't think it was real. Ed Reardon told the Daily News Tribune that at first he thought it was a change purse. Then he thought it was a rubber snake. Then it coiled into attack mode. Reardon didn't panic. He grabbed it behind the head as he had seen on nature TV shows. When he got off work, he brought it to a local pet store, where workers identified it as a ball python. Reardon thinks a student left the snake in the locker at the end of school as a prank. He found a notebook in the same locker with a student's name on it, and turned it over to the principal.

double time

A shark-inspiredRubik's record

A Rubik's Cube expert has pulled off his most amazing feat yet - solving two of the puzzles inside a shark tank. David Calvo, 24, solved both cubes one-handed simultaneously while sharing the tank with six sharks. He completed the puzzles in just 76 seconds as he sat on the bottom of the tank at the Terra Natura Park in Benidorm, Spain. The former national Rubik's Cube champ for Spain managed to beat his record set in April when he solved two cubes underwater, but without any sharks. "I found I was very focused on getting it done as quickly as possible - I wasn't very keen on hanging around," he said.

convicted at 93

From godfatherto nod father

An elderly gangster who struggled to stay awake while son John Franzese Jr., 50, a former Colombo associate-turned-paid informant, testified against him at his racketeering trial, was convicted Wednesday of charges that he shook down New York strip clubs and a pizzeria. A jury in Brooklyn federal court found 93-year-old John "Sonny" Franzese, the reputed underboss of the Colombo organized crime family, guilty on its fifth day of deliberations. Prosecutors say he faces up to 20 years in prison. Frazese, convicted in 1967 in a bank robbery and paroled in the late 1970s, told reporters outside court he was unfazed by the prospect of returning to prison. "Who cares?" he said. "I gotta die someplace."

Compiled from Times wiresand other news sources.

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