Playing with toys pays off

Playing with toys really paid off for Ian Culhane, he won $10,000 for designing a seven-foot-tall toy roller-coaster. Not bad for a 10-year-old.  Ian’s creation was on display at the Toys “R” Us store in Times Square, where he accepted the prize from the president of K’NEX Brands, a building toy company in Hatfield, Pa.

The boy, who first started playing with building sets when he was four, was one of thousands of children ages 6 to 12 who entered the annual contest.  Ian began the project last summer, using 6,000 plastic parts from his collection of 15,000 to assemble the roller-coaster, which runs through the body of a dragon.  Two months ago, his parents packed it up and shipped it off for the contest. Just recently, his parents told him he won.

A panel of judges comprised of K’NEX employees selected semifinalists based on the creativity, uniqueness and detail of the projects. It had to be made exclusively from K’NEX parts.  An online vote determined 10 winners and Joel Glickman, an inventor with the toy company, chose Ian as the grand prize winner. The nine others each won $1,000 savings bonds.

In New York for the first time, Ian, his 14-year-old sister and their parents stayed at a hotel he called “pretty fancy for us. We always stay at a Motel 6.”  While he was disappointed he couldn’t spend any of the prize money, his father, a hydrogeologist, gave him $100 to spend at a toy store.

What will he buy?   Beer and wings?  No more toys of course!

God made me do IT?

A former U.S. navy chaplain plans to plead guilty to allegations that include forcible sodomy and failing to tell a sex partner he was HIV-positive, his lawyer said.

Lt.-Cmdr. John Thomas Matthew Lee will enter the plea Thursday at his court martial at Marine Corps Base Quantico in northern Virginia, his lawyer, David Sheldon, said.  He is expected to be asking for leniency because the lord made him do it and HIV is the lords way of cleansing the earth.

Lee, 42, plans to plead guilty to forcible sodomy, aggravated assault and other charges, Sheldon said. Military law defines failing to inform a partner of a person’s HIV status as aggravated assault, he said.

“He’s extremely apologetic and remorseful, both as a chaplain and as a naval officer,” Sheldon said.

Lee was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1993 and began serving as a military chaplain in 1996, said Julia Rota, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of the Military Services, which oversees priests in the military. His faculties to function as a priest were revoked in June, after an accuser came forward, Rota said.

Military officials have not said whether any accusers were infected with HIV.  Lee served at the U.S. Naval Academy from September 2003 until November 2006, when he was reassigned to Quantico. He was relieved of his duties in June.  Now he will likely spend the rest of his life in the looney bin!

Cat vs. Peanut Butter Jar

Tabitha Cain fed feral cat she calls Wild Oats for several years, but now she’s thinking the cat’s name should be Survivor.  That’s because she says the cat survived for 19 days with a peanut butter jar stuck on its head.  “We tried to get her, but being the type of cat you can’t catch, she kept running and hiding,” said Doretha Cain, Tabitha’s mother.

The family saw the cat several times with the jar on its head and tried in vain to catch it. But after not seeing the cat for a week, the Cains feared the worst.  “I thought she was going to die with that jar on her head,” said Tabitha Cain, 25.

They found the once chubby cat Wednesday, too thin and weak to flee. They caught her with a fishing net and used some oil to get the jar off her head.  They gave her water and treated her wounds and Friday she began to eat again.  “I’ve heard of cats having nine lives but I think this one has 19 because she survived 19 days,” Doretha Cain said.

Memphis veterinarian Gerald Blackburn said he’s heard similar stories of pets getting trapped for days or even weeks at a time and surviving. Blackburn said the cat may have lived off of its excess fat.  I am not sure I believe this one because I don’t see how the cat could have recieved liquids?