Man Telephones Own Funeral

Dane Squires' friends and family all gathered at a Toronto funeral home Thursday to say goodbye to the retired welder.

As they were loading the body into the hearse to be taken to the crematorium, his daughter Trina was told there was an important phone call waiting for her.

Her father was on the other end, bewildered that he was missing his own funeral.

"She totally, totally lost it," Squires' brother Gilbert said. "She said, 'There's a ghost talking to me on the phone. Please somebody try to make sense out of this because I'm losing my mind.'"

After a homeless man was hit by a commuter train the previous Friday, Squires' sister Diana Branton identified him as her brother.

"The body was badly mutilated," Gilbert Squires told the Canadian Broadcasting Company. "We've been mourning in Newfoundland and in Toronto, everywhere. We're in total shock."

Dane Squires, 48, grew up in Newfoundland (search), moved to Toronto in the early '90s and had become a drifter in recent years.

"He went to my sister's house and whoever answered the door fainted," said Gilbert Squires, noting his brother didn't become aware of the confusion until he read his own obituary in the newspaper.

Branton, too upset about her brother's death to attend the funeral, explained to him what had happened.

"He wanted to sign the guest book," his sister told the Toronto Globe and Mail. But the pair called the funeral home instead.

"I screamed," Trina Squires told the Globe and Mail. "I felt the weight of shock. I said to my mom, 'Please explain to me what's going on here.'"

The priest calmed her down with the words, "There's been a mistake, but it's a good mistake."

Back at his sister's house, Squires got busy preparing his own wake.

"Well, if I'm the guest of honor at this party," he reasoned, "I might as well crack the first bottle."

— Thanks to Out There readers Fred L. and Doug M.

Sprayed Sewage Spurs Suit

A lawsuit filed by a resident against Rhinebeck, N.Y., could put the town in deep doo-doo. After all, that's where she's been.

Tracy Krawitt came home June 16 to find the interior of her house covered in raw sewage, reports the Poughkeepsie Journal.

The town had hired a company to do a high-pressure cleaning of the municipal sewage system, with the result that lime-green gunk sprayed out of Krawitt's toilets and onto the floors and walls.

"She's been damaged," Krawitt's attorney told the newspaper. "She had an explosion of sewage at her home and she's had the water and soil around her property contaminated."

Krawitt, who claimed to have spent about $40,000 in repairs and cleaning, said the town had been unresponsive to her complaints.

"They've treated me no better than the stuff that was on my walls," she observed.

Seriously Corny Marriage Proposal

NAPOLEON, Ohio (AP) — Corey Cook didn't heed warnings from his girlfriend not to do anything corny if he proposed to her. In fact, he did just the opposite.

Cook paid a northwest Ohio farmer to carve the words, "Michelle, will you marry me?" into his cornfield. A heart surrounded the message, which covered about seven acres.

It was large enough for Michelle See to spot it from a small plane the couple took from Columbus to a family cabin in northeast Indiana.

She laughed after she said yes.

"She just started giggling like a little girl on Christmas morning," said Cook, who gave her a ring in the air above his cornfield message.

Cook hired Brad Leaders to put the message in his family's cornfield.

Leaders drew the message on graph paper and used it as a guide to hand-pull corn plants to make the design in the field.

Each letter was about 5 feet wide.

"We hoped it looked right," Leaders said. "You don't know until you see it from the air."

School Hands Out Shot Glasses at Homecoming

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Officials at Rio Grande High School (search) aren't getting a buzz from the school's homecoming memento.

Nearly 100 shot glasses etched with "Dreams Will Come True 2004" were handed out in advance of the celebration last week — until the principal got word of it.

"It's not an appropriate message to send out," Principal Al Sanchez said Thursday after putting a stop to the giveaway. "We'll never do that again."

School activities director James Chavez took the blame — saying the cheapest glass was a $1.32 shot glass. He said he thought they could be used to hold candles or toothpicks, not alcohol.

"We emphasized this is not for drinking," Chavez said.

The school had distributed about 100 of the shot glasses before a teacher questioned the giveaway.

Student Lawrence Chavez said the glasses were "better than a key chain," but knew they would raise eyebrows.

"I didn't think of it as a toothpick holder," he said.

Naked People Make Beach Look Better

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) — The weekend cleanup of a popular stretch of beach netted the usual garbage: clothing, beer bottles and rusty nails.

What made the effort at Bonny Doon Beach (search) different from cleanups elsewhere on the California coast were the volunteers: Many were nude.

Members of the Bay Area Naturists (search) club were among those who collected 600 pounds of garbage at one of Northern California's most popular clothing-optional beaches, seven miles north of Santa Cruz.

"The real purpose is not the nakedness, but clearing up the trash," said Jurek Zarzycki, 54, as he scanned for refuse in the buff. "Every piece of garbage we find out here is testimony to somebody being a sloppy jerk."

His group has been helping clean trash from the beach for 17 years. The effort Saturday was part of the 20th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day, during which volunteers removed 750,000 pounds of trash from 700 locations on the state's shorelines.

The nippy weekend weather — it was 60 degrees at Bonny Doons — persuaded some of the naturists to keep their clothes on.

"Too cold," said Bill Todd, 64, a former San Mateo resident who flew out from his home in New York state on business and decided to join old friends in the naturist club. "You don't want the wind going where the wind shouldn't go."

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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