University Faces Jell-O Wrestling Suit

New York University has found itself in a slippery situation — facing a $1 million lawsuit over Jell-O wrestling.

Student Avram Wisnia says he broke his hip when he got shoved into a kiddie pool filled with the red goo at his dorm's May 1, 2004, "Beach Bash," according to The New York Post.

The shallow kiddie pool was sitting on a concrete courtyard with just a small athletic mat cushioning it from underneath, Wisnia's lawyer said.

"This really was an accident waiting to happen," the lawyer, Joel Kaplan, told The Post. "It's high jinks for high minds, I guess ... Everybody loves red Jell-O."

NYU not only OK'd the goofy gelatin smackdown — food services even provided garbage pails filled with Jell-O for the event, the lawsuit claims.

The University "failed to prevent the Jell-O wrestling event" and "disregarded its duty to maintain its premises in a safe condition and carelessly created an unsafe condition," the Pennsylvania native's suit claims.

NYU officials told The Post they had not yet seen the lawsuit.

Farmer Unearths 11-Foot Python

GERMANTOWN, Iowa (AP) — This year's harvest will be memorable for Fred Schuknecht, not so much for his crop of corn, but what he found in it — an 11-foot python.

"It was coiled up in a roll between two rows of corn. I thought it was a tire laying in the field," he said Wednesday.

Schuknecht, 49, of Paullina, said he poked it with his combine and it didn't move. He got out to investigate and realized it was a snake.

"I thought, 'Holy cripe!' It was big," he said. "I thought maybe it was dead, and then it started moving really slow."

He grabbed its tail to pull it out of the way.

"Then it started to unroll ... and it was huge," he said.

He and his father took the snake to town in a cardboard box and had it weighed at the grain elevator — 45 pounds. They measured it at 11.5 feet.

Schuknecht didn't know what kind of snake it was but said "it was really pretty, with black and gold markings on it."

The Department of Natural Resources took the snake to a reptile nature center in Ames. Schuknecht said he since has learned that it belongs to a man near Germantown.

"He'd been missing it since the first part of July," Schuknecht said.

— Thanks to Out There reader Ben F.

Polly Wanna Serenade Some Senators?

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A yellow-naped Amazon parrot sang "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?" and "Alouette" to surprised senators.

The parrot, named Groucho, sat on a perch in a Senate visitors' balcony and sang in a warbling, croaking voice for several minutes after Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll formally recognized the bird from the National Aviary in Pittsburgh and an aviary staff member with it.

Immediately afterward, Sen. Robert C. Jubelirer, the chamber's president pro tempore, was seen scolding Knoll on the Senate floor.

Knoll's spokeswoman Johnna A. Pro said Knoll was simply recognizing the bird after Jubelirer approved the gesture.

The parrot's visit to Harrisburg with aviary staff was intended to raise awareness for World Rainforest Week and how destruction of the rainforest affects endangered species, according to a letter from Sen. Wayne Fontana to Knoll.

Fontana, Senate secretary Mark Corrigan and Pro said they were not aware of arrangements or approval for the bird to sing.

"I think there was some miscommunication," Corrigan said. "I think they were going to be introduced, and somehow they got to the point where the parrot was singing this song. I don't think there was any intention to have the parrot singing. ... I think it came as a surprise to everyone on the floor."

— Thanks to Out There reader Scott M.

Grooming Your Pet Rat

LA VERNE, Calif. (AP) — Karri Garrison is getting rid of that cliche about dirty rats — one rodent at a time. Grooming isn't just for dogs anymore, and many pet owners are bringing in their rats to groomers like Garrison, who uses waterless shampoo to make their coats shine and smell sweet.

Customers at Katie's Pet Depot in La Verne, about 30 miles east of Los Angeles, began requesting rat grooming soon after the store opened nearly two years ago. Employees began researching rats and even adopted some.

"We need to be there for all our clients," Garrison said. "I think we might be the only place around that grooms rats."

One of the clients was named Jewel, a half-pound, white-and-yellow-hooded rat owned by a local high school student. The $10 treatment included clipping her claws, spraying her with the waterless shampoo and using a product that kills fleas and mites.

Garrison and two other employees, Laurie Torres and Gloria Ferguson, also groom guinea pigs, mice and rabbits.

They said small pets can bring big challenges.

"The most difficult part of grooming rats is trimming their nails," Garrison said. "They have very small feet."

Ferguson recommends pet owners get their animals groomed at least once a month to protect them from parasites.

"I love rats," she said. "It's an obsession to me. Sometimes when they get nervous they [urinate] but they don't usually bite. We know how to handle them because that's what we do."

— Thanks to Out There reader Beth M.

Woman Says Cat Saved Her From Fire

NORA SPRINGS, Iowa (AP) — Linda Froning's cat may have shared one of its nine lives. Froning said she was asleep on a couch last Thursday morning when her cat jumped on her, waking her up to a house full of smoke.

Froning said she called her son, Jamie, a Nora Springs volunteer firefighter who works for Mason City.

Jamie Froning said he told his mom to get out of the house and then called the fire department.

The house was full of smoke when he showed up, he said.

"I was standing on the deck, taking care of my mom, when the couch burst into flames," he said.

He said he went into the house and pulled the couch outside.

Assistant Fire Chief Dean Kock said there was a little damage to the family room.

"There is mostly smoke damage," he said.

Linda Froning was treated at a Mason City hospital for smoke inhalation and released, her son said.

Man Trying to Shoot Cow Hits Motorist

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — A man attempting to shoot a friend's cow missed the animal twice and one of the bullets hit and injured a woman who was driving past in her car, a court heard Monday.

Rudolf Stadler, 51, from Mooloolaba on Australia's east coast, appeared in Brisbane District Court on charges of conducting a negligent act causing bodily harm. He pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutor Matt Nathan said that on April 17 last year Stadler was trying to kill a cow for his friend Paul Tyson.

After luring the animal to a shed, he shot twice but missed. The second bullet hit Carrie Tunning, who was driving along a road next to Tyson's farm, Nathan said.

"I heard this enormous noise like a rock hitting the car but much louder," Tunning told the court. "I looked down and there was blood everywhere on my leg."

Tunning has made a full recovery.

Nathan told the jury they should find Stadler guilty of negligence because he failed to take "simple and reasonable precautions."

The trial is continuing. Stadler faces a maximum sentence of two years' imprisonment if convicted.

Goat's Rotten Week Ends With Eviction

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) — First she was assaulted with spray paint, then kidnapped. Now, Sharon the goat faces eviction.

The 7-month-old animal has been the mascot for the Sigma Chi fraternity at Southeast Missouri State University. On Oct. 21, someone got inside a security fence at the frat house and spray-painted the goat.

Then early Sunday, the fraternity reported Sharon missing. She turned up unharmed a day later inside fencing at an animal hospital.

No arrests were made in the theft. But the fraternity learned it's also a city ordinance violation to keep barnyard animals inside city limits.

The fraternity has a week to find a new home for the goat, which roams freely on Sigma Chi's two-acre plot and is allowed indoors.

Compiled by's Andrew Hard.

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