Originally created 05/11/05

Odds and Ends



WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. - Professor Eva Grudin was about to lead her students in a discussion of whether an abstract painting was meant to invoke a certain part of the male anatomy when her class was interrupted by the real thing.

With no warning, two naked students barged into her Williams College lecture hall, struck a quick pose for the 150 students there, and ran out.

Nothing abstract here. Grudin and her students had just been streaked.

But this was no one-time prank by some drunken college students. It was yet another performance by two members of the Springstreakers, the latest unofficial student activity club at this elite liberal arts college.

"It's hard to get your bearings back and continue with your lecture after that," said Grudin, who let out a shriek that was followed by her students' laughter, then applause when the streakers stole everyone's attention Monday from a slide projection of Robert Motherwell's vaguely phallic depiction of a bull.

With two weeks before the end of final exams, Grudin and many of the students on the prim 2,000-student campus in the Berkshires say the Springstreakers are offering just the kind of stress relief that so many need right now.

The Springstreakers - the name is a riff on Spring Street, which cuts through campus - boast nine active members, all men except for one, and they're always looking to recruit new ones.

Membership requires a willingness to shed clothing and an ability to run quickly. "A big part of our protocol is streaking while sober," said Andy "Tex" Whinery, one of the founders.

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BARROW, Alaska - Say goodbye to darkness - at least for a while.

When the sun rose Tuesday over the continent's northernmost community, it began a nearly three month stay. The last sunset of the season occurred at 1:50 a.m. Tuesday and the sun rose again at 2:56 a.m.

"Then it will stay above the horizon until Aug. 2, when the first sunset will take place," said Gina Sturm of the National Weather Service office in Barrow.

Barrow is about 330 miles above the Arctic Circle. In winter, the sun sets in mid-November and the region is dark until late January.

Many in this town of about 4,500 welcome the transition to the midnight sun.

"It's almost like coming out of hibernation," resident Diane Martin said. "It brings us back to getting out and about."

Ron Boynton, who's been in Barrow 23 years, has had to figure out how to get enough sleep during the unrelenting daylight.

"So we all learn to adapt during the years, and each develop our own little tricks," he said.

"Put foil on your bedroom windows, etcetera, but then if you have to get up during the night to go to the bathroom or something... you get the full sunlight coming in, and it can be hard to get back to sleep."

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WEBSTER CITY, Iowa - A 20-year-old man learned the hard way that Santa is a tough act to follow.

Javier Torrez, 20, was charged with trespassing after he got stuck in a chimney while trying to break into a house, police said.

Authorities received a call early Sunday from a neighbor who heard someone calling for help near a vacant home, police said.

When officers arrived, they kicked in the front door of the home and followed the sound of Torrez's voice until they found him in the chimney in the basement of the home.

All they could see was Torrez's legs and feet sticking out; firefighters were called to help free the would-be robber.

Police said Torrez had climbed onto the roof and slid down the chimney before getting stuck. The investigation was continuing and further charges were possible.

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - Dozens of people turned out at Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo to celebrate the birthday of one of the oldest Andean condors in captivity.

But instead of birthday cake, Thaao was given a "road kill pinata" filled with his favorite treats including whole rodents and horse meat.

The 75-year-old condor's big day was celebrated Sunday with singing and a scavenger hunt as more than 70 people turned out for the event.

Reaching more than seven decades for a bird is remarkable, zookeepers said, and the 25-pound Thaao shows no sign of slowing down.

"He couldn't wait to pull the rat out of it," Mike Elliott, a zoo employee who helps take care of Thaao said. "And the horse meat was a real treat."