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(California, Santa Cruz Sentinal) - A Westside resident called the cops to report an allegedly phallic tree. Officers responded to the Liberty Street home but found no wrongdoing. They said the 20-footer, actually an evergreen hedge of the Luma genus, is protected by its owner's right to artistic freedom. "We contacted the city attorney," said Sgt. Brad Goodwin. "It could be interpreted anywhere from being free speech to being artistic. It's really nothing we have control over." All trees can be seen as "phallic," but some would argue this eugenia is especially so. Viewed from the front, the hedge looks to have testicles, or perhaps bosoms. Eugenia is a common plant noted for white flowers and edible fruits, according to the Sunset Western Garden Book. Sunset says the plant "performs best" in well-drained soil. The owner of the tree, Gillian Greensite, said she found it peculiar the plant has been there at least 15 years and suddenly someone is mad about it. She said no one has complained to her about the plant. Greensite, director of UC Santa Cruz's rape prevention and counseling program, also questioned what the offended neighbor was really seeing in this tree. "If they want to see phallic, they see phallic, I guess. I see trees," said Greensite, an outspoken advocate of tree preservation in the city. She added the eugenia was "not trimmed for any particular purpose." A second neighbor, who asked that her name not be used, said she found the tree irksome but has grown "numb" to it over the years. But she said it's annoying to "all of a sudden hear kids screeching and laughing about the tree."

(Iowa) - The Federal Aviation Administration has denied a request to change the Sioux City airport's code to something other than SUX. Back in March, airport officials petitioned the federal agency to change the three-letter designation. Airport Director Glenn Januska said the reasons given for the rejection weren't strong, so they plan to appeal. He doesn't know how long that will take.

(Bucharest, Reuters) - Workers at a Romanian car factory have decided to donate sperm to get the debt-ridden plant out of the red, private television ProTv has reported. "Our feasibility study shows that if 1,000 workers donate their sperm for several months, we can get enough funds to pay part of the plant's debts," Ion Cotescu, trade union leader at ARO Campulung, told ProTv. He said the decision came after reports in the local media said a fertility clinic in the western city of Timisoara offered donors the equivalent of $50 a visit. The monthly average wage in Romania is around $150. The ARO Campulung plant, which makes jeep-style four-wheel-drives, has debts put at $20 million. "They always told us to come up with a solution. Now, we have found one that even the best economists have never thought of," he said.

(Berlin, Reuters) - A hungry dog ate part of his owner after the man died in his apartment and was not found for several days, police said. "It's not an unusual case," said police spokesman Robert Scholten in the former German capital Bonn. "These things happen when people live and die alone." The St. Bernard was later brought to a dog pound.

(Cairo, Reuters) - A woman set fire to her Cairo apartment after an argument with her husband over his refusal to buy dried fruit and nuts traditionally eaten in the holy month of Ramadan, Egyptian newspapers reported. The blaze started when the woman doused the flat with kerosene and caused an estimated 30,000 Egyptian pounds ($6,500) of damage before firefighters brought it under control, al-Akhbar reported. Dried apricots, figs and nuts are relatively expensive and can often be the cause of domestic strife in Egypt if a family's wage earner refuses to buy them for Ramadan. During the month, which begins on Wednesday in Egypt, Muslims fast by day and eat and drink only at night. Many Egyptians like to celebrate in the evening with special foods.

(Minnesota, AP) Pheasant season took an ugly turn for Michael Murray when he was shot by Sonny, his year-old English setter pup. The puppy knew something was very wrong when Murray dropped to the ground with blood spurting from his ankle. "Sonny just laid by my side," Murray said. "He knew something was bad." Murray, 42, was hunting in western South Dakota on the first day of the season. He said he was lining up a photo of the seven birds his hunting party shot in the first hour. A loaded 12-gauge shotgun lay on the ground near the frisky dog. "He stepped on the gun and it went off," Murray said. "At first I didn't know what happened. I got that blinding flash of pain and I sat down. Blood was pumping out of my ankle." His brother-in-law quickly tied a tourniquet above Murray's right boot. A half-hour later, an ambulance took Murray to a nearby hospital. After 15 stitches and a night in the hospital, Murray is on course for a complete recovery. "It was the most bizarre thing that has ever happened to me," he said. Murray admits there is a certain amount of notoriety that goes along with getting shot by your dog. "That's the hard part, talking to people, because you feel like such a fool," he said.

According to a recent poll, men with messy sock drawers have sex three times more per month than those who organize their socks. The poll was conducted by IKEA, the home furnishings people, as part of their "You Can't Be Too Organized" survey. Those who are disorganized don't just have more sex. According to the poll, their relationships might be better in other ways, too. Those couples that don't have closet organizers argue three times less per month than those who do. Also, men who don't own Palm Pilots are more likely to remember their wives' birthdays than men who do own them. According to the survey, married men were four times more likely to leave their pajamas on the floor in the morning than single men. Registered Republicans were three times more likely to color-code their T-shirt drawers and organize their closets than registered Democrats. However, Democrats were five times as likely to color-code their files at work than Republicans. Also, according to the survey, men spend an average of 80 minutes per week looking for the remote control. Women spend seven minutes.

(Tokyo, Wireless Flash) - A Japanese doctor is making a titillating claim: The size of a woman's breasts exposes her true character. Dr. Mitsugu Shiga tells the "Mainichi Daily News" that extensive examinations of cleavage suggest that women's personalities fall into three boob types. Flat-chested women like Debra Messing and Gwyneth Paltrow are quick thinkers but really aren't into sex except to please their man. Meanwhile, Shiga says large-breasted ladies like Dolly Parton or Pam Anderson "have the sturdiness of an ox" and a positive attitude towards life. But bigger isn't necessarily better. Shiga says the perfect breast protrudes 2.16 inches from the chest and claims women blessed with these boobs are straightforward, sexy but sometimes go off "in their own little world."

(Tennessee) Two men have been arrested on possession of marijuana charges. Chattanooga police announced two men were driving along Rossville Boulevard with two hefty sacks of marijuana. Apparently, it needed to be dried out. The men pulled into a Fast Food and Fuel convenience store because the store had a microwave oven inside. An officer's patrol car was parked outside. Police say Rudy Raines went inside, saw Officer David Ashley, spoke to him for a moment, then went right over to the microwave oven. Raines put his stash into the oven, turned up the heat, and filled the store with the aroma of marijuana. Officer Tetzel Tillery, who also came to the scene, says, "shortly afterward the clerk and officer Ashley saw the suspect quickly pull the sack out of the microwave. Officer Ashley went up to him and asked what he was doing, and saw he had a large bag of marijuana, and admitted that he was trying to dry out the marijuana." Officer Ashley went to Rain's car that was parked at a gas pump, and found more pot laying in plain view near the gearshift on the car's console. He also found a second man, William King, asleep in the passenger seat. When Ashley woke King up and questioned him about the marijuana, King said he didn't know anything about it. Both men were arrested. About a pound of marijuana was recovered in total, some of it in smaller individual sacks. Both men are charged with felony possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Rains told Officer Ashely he and Mr. King were on the way to a drug rehabilitation clinic. It's not clear whether they are patients, or were meeting with other people to sell or share the pot.

(AP) - A man who ignored a veterinarian's order to flush his cat's radioactive waste down the toilet was hit with a $2,800 bill. And Bill Jenness said he's happy to pay it. "I don't feel I was mistreated," Jenness told The Patriot Ledger of Quincy. "It's my cat, my responsibility, and I did not abide by the directions I was given." Jenness's cat, Mitzi, an 11-year-old shorthair, was treated with an injection of radioiodine after developing hyperthyroidism. The treatment makes the cat radioactive for weeks, so special care is required, including limiting snuggling time, keeping the cat away from children and pregnant women, and using protective gloves when flushing the cat litter. Jenness said he decided to throw the litter in the trash after the waste had hardened into abnormally large clumps. "I was afraid of my septic system being clogged," he said. Mitzi's mess was discovered at an incinerator in Rochester when alarms detected radioactivity. Workers traced the waste to Jenness after finding mail with his name on it nearby. The radiation treatment by Radiocat in Waltham and cost of disposing of the waste totaled about $5,000. Jenness said it was worth it because Mitzi is doing well. Radiocat's Web site says radiation from a radioiodine shot is probably less than a person receives on a long plane flight.

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Zookeepers Suspended for Eating Animals
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(Berlin, Reuters) - Two zookeepers in a small northwest German town have been suspended and put under police investigation for eating the zoo's animals, police said. A police spokesman in Recklinghausen north of Cologne said the keepers in a section of the zoo popular with small children had slaughtered and barbecued five Tibetan mountain chickens and two Cameroonian sheep. "The animals were in the petting zoo where all the children would go to stroke them," the spokesman said. Suspicious zoo managers called police after the animals went missing.

(Berlin, Reuters) - A German psychologist is touting a cure for paruresis, fear among men of using urinals, and seeking volunteers to spend time in public toilets. Philipp Hammelstein, a researcher at the Heinrich Heine University in Duesseldorf, believed, however, it was not necessarily linked to the size of the sufferer's genitals. "All healthy men should be capable of using a urinal," Hammelstein told Reuters. Though findings show six percent of men have an irrational fear of urinating next to others. Hammelstein said he had already cured several patients and was seeking 60 volunteers for clinical trials to test his cure. The therapy lasts three months and encourages patients to drink a lot, as well as spend more time in public toilets. He said men usually develop symptoms during puberty. "It arises through humiliating experiences to do with masculinity," he said.

(Sydney, Reuters) - An Australian man cut off the little finger on his right hand, then his scrotum, then his penis and finally his left hand in a drug-induced act of self-mutilation after arguing with his wife. The man, believed to be high on amphetamines, attacked himself with a carving knife recently in the town of Inverell, 400 miles north of Sydney, police said. "It is the most bizarre thing I have seen in 16 years in the police force," Inverell inspector Dave Harrington told Reuters. Harrington said the 38-year-old man cut off his little finger while arguing with his wife inside their Inverell house and then chased her outside. "He then proceeded to dismember his member," he said. Police said the man was lucky ambulance officers witnessed the attack and prevented him from bleeding to death, adding that police recovered several body parts and packed them in ice in the hope they could be reattached. The man was flown to Sydney for emergency microsurgery and is in stable condition, police said.

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