German Company Says Nein to Grumpiness

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You vill be happy in the office — and you von't vhine anymore at vork!

After one female employee refused to smile all day at work, a German IT company banned grumpiness in an effort to promote a more congenial atmosphere, according to The Australian.

The new policy requires employees at Nuzwerk (search), in the German town of Leipzig (search), to sign a contract requiring them to remain in a good mood all day at the office and leave complaints and gripes about co-workers and work conditions at home.

"We made the ban on moaning and grumpiness at work official after one female employee refused to subscribe to the company's philosophy of always smiling," office manager Thomas Kuwatsch told The Australian.

"She used to moan so much that other employees complained about her complaining. Once it was part of the contract, however, our employees really started to think positively," he told the paper.

"Mood is an important factor in productivity and everyone here works hard and is happy," Kuwatsch told The Australian.

— Thanks to Out There reader Greg M.

Luke ... I'm Going to Give You Fat Thighs

Darth Vader (search) has grown more powerful than any dark lord of the Sith — obtaining the ability to single-handedly drive your cholesterol through the roof.

The master of the Force was sculpted in butter this year at the Tulsa State Fair in Oklahoma, according to The New York Post.

The fair commissions enormous butter sculptures every year in true Midwest style, and one sculptor apparently turned to the dark side.

I Also Have a Bridge to Sell You

ANOKA, Minn. (AP) — A 22-year-old Savage, Minn., man faces charges of theft by swindling after allegedly claiming he had a chemical potion that could transform plain white paper into U.S. currency.

Franklin T. Forlemu was scheduled to appear in Anoka County District Court on Monday for a hearing.

Police said Forlemu used a sleight-of-hand trick to make it look like blank pieces of white paper were turned into $20 bills. A Coon Rapids grocery store owner fell for the trick and gave Forlemu about $70,000 in $100 bills, in hopes the money would be multiplied.

Instead, the store owner got only white paper, and his money was gone, according to the criminal complaint.

Police said they found the cash in Forlemu's apartment.

Bryan Lindberg, an Anoka County prosecutor for 20 years, said the scam "is the most creative one I have seen."

The chemical potion Forlemu used was actually water, said Coon Rapids Detective Dave Westberg.

Forlemu, an illegal immigrant from Africa, had no prior felony convictions and was released on personal recognizance. His public defender, Bryan Leary, said he needs to review the charges before commenting.

Westberg said the U.S. Secret Service did not file counterfeiting charges, but officials are watching the case.

— Thanks to Out There reader Wade N.

Bomb Squad Robot Rescues Tweety Bird

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) — A robot designed to disarm bombs was sent Friday to rescue a pet bird from a Sydney apartment building crumbling because of a tunnel collapse.

The cockatiel, Tweety, was stranded in an apartment directly above a section of the building that partially collapsed when a giant hole opened up near the site of a new tunnel earlier this week.

Tweety's owner, Karen Bruce, was barred from entering the building to get her pet after she and about 60 other residents were awoken early Wednesday and ordered to flee.

When the robot emerged from the building with Tweety on Friday, Bruce held the bird up triumphantly.

"Tweety is a hand-reared cockatiel who likes daily contact," she explained.

Asked about her feathered friend's condition, she said: "I don't know. I'm not a vet, but she's had a bit of [water and] seed left and stuff, so she is quite content."

But, she added, "It might be a quick rush to the vet."

— Thanks to Out There reader Aimee H.

Well ... at Least They Weren't Shut Out

EARLSBORO, Okla. (AP) — The Hanna High School basketball team can take some consolation: It didn't get shut out.

It did, however, lose 112-2 on Friday night to Earlsboro.

"It was embarrassing to watch," Earlsboro coach Jim Walling told The Oklahoman. "But you can't just tell your kids not to score. I've been coaching 27 years and have never been involved in something like this."

The Wildcats led 42-0 after one quarter and 73-2 at halftime. Walling pulled his starters in the second half, and game officials kept a running clock, stopping it only for free throws.

Each player on Earlsboro's 10-man boys' roster scored. Seven players finished in double figures.

Vote for Me! Here's a Cow

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A wealthy Sri Lankan presidential candidate said he will use his personal fortune to buy a cow for every home if he is elected.

"Every Sri Lankan home will be gifted with a high milk-yielding cow from [the Indian state of] Kerala which could be expected to yield 10 liters [2.5 gallons] to 16 liters [four gallons] of milk every day," Victor Hettigoda was quoted as saying by The Island newspaper on Friday.

"Even families who live in flats, who could make suitable arrangements to look after a cow, will receive a gift of cow," he was quoted as saying.

Anusha Vitanapathirana, a spokesman for Hettigoda, confirmed the report.

Hettigoda is one of 13 candidates vying for the tropical island's top executive post in the Nov. 17 presidential election. The leading candidates are Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Hettigoda said his plan was a sure way to fight malnutrition and make people prosper, and suggested that excess milk could be converted into cheese and butter or even exported.

Sri Lanka's indigenous cattle are poor dairy animals. They are small, with an average adult weight of 350 pounds, and low milk yields.

Hettigoda owns an herbal medicine empire, the Siddalepa Group of Companies, with 3,500 employees.

— Thanks to Out There reader Aimee H.

Compiled by's Andrew Hard.

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