Users Are Losers ... and So Are Their Dads

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Was it tough love, or cruel and unusual punishment?

A father says he wasn't trying to shame his 14-year-old son when he made the boy wear a large sandwich-board sign saying, "I abused and sold drugs."

"I'm not out here doing this to humiliate my son," the Knoxville, Tenn., father told WATE-TV as the teenager walked up and down the sidewalk Wednesday in front of Cedar Bluff Middle School, according to the Associated Press.

"I'm doing this because I love him," he said. "We do have an extreme drug problem in America, and maybe it's time for extreme measures that parents need to take to monitor this problem that we have."

The man wasn't identified by the station to protect the confidentiality of the son, but he appeared on camera. The son's face was not shown.

The father said he recently learned after reading the boy's MySpace page that his son was involved with marijuana and OxyContin. That's when he decided to act, and the boy agreed to the punishment.

After a short time, the school's principal soon came out and asked the father to call it off, which he did.

By then the boy said he'd learned his lesson.

"This is embarrassing. I ain't going to be doing it again," the boy said. "Drugs are for losers. That's all I can say."

Winnie the Pooh Goes Postal

WRIGHT CITY, Mo. (AP) — Telephones typically ring, not tick, so a man who went to the post office to pick up a novelty phone he ordered over the Internet was alarmed that the package was ticking.

It turned out that the phone — shaped like Winnie the Pooh — had a feature the customer didn't know about: An incoming call causes Winnie's head to spin, and the feature apparently had been activated during shipping.

The ticking that prompted evacuation of the Wright City post office Thursday morning was Winnie's head repeatedly hitting the side of the package, said Cpl. Julie Scerine, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Highway Patrol.

Police and members of the bomb squad were called about 6:45 a.m. when the man retrieving the package noticed the unexpected sound. Wright City is about 45 miles west of St. Louis.

"It was pretty distinctly ticking," Police Chief Don Wickenhauser said. "And he didn't want to pick it up."

When authorities contacted the sender, he verified that it was nothing sinister.

Scerine said authorities were both amused and relieved when they opened the package.

"I guess the moral of the story is before you send electronics, take the batteries out," she said.

Donkey Represents Himself in Court

DALLAS (AP) — The first witness in a lawsuit Wednesday between two neighbors was Buddy the donkey, who walked to the bench and stared at the jury, the picture of a gentle, well-mannered creature and not the loud, aggressive animal he had been accused of being.

The donkey was at the center of a dispute between oilman John Cantrell and attorney Gregory Shamoun that began after Cantrell complained about a storage shed Shamoun was building in his backyard in Dallas.

He said Shamoun retaliated by bringing Buddy from his ranch in Midlothian and putting him in the backyard.

Cantrell complained of donkey noise and manure piles.

"They bray a lot any time day or night. You never know when they're going to cut loose," he testified.

Shamoun said Buddy was there to serve as a surrogate mother for a calf named Lucy that needed to be bottle-fed.

Neither jurors nor Buddy had the last say.

The neighbors settled their dispute while jurors deliberated.

Shamoun agreed to buy some of Cantrell's land and Cantrell agreed to withdraw his complaint with the city.

Drinking ... a Lot ... and Driving

REDMOND, Wash. (AP) — A woman arrested following two car crashes last week registered a .47 blood-alcohol content on a breath test — nearly six times the legal intoxication threshold and possibly a state record.

Deana F. Jarrett, 54, was taken to Evergreen Hospital as a precaution following her arrest April 11, the Washington State Patrol said Wednesday. No one was injured in the accidents.

Jarrett blew the .47 on a portable breath tester after she collided with two other vehicles in quick succession, the patrol said. A check of all 356,000 breath tests administered since 1998 in Washington turned up only 35 above .40 — and none of those was higher than .45.

The legal intoxication threshold in Washington is .08.

Jarrett did not appear to have a listed phone number, and it was not clear if she had obtained a lawyer.

Hole Lot of Trouble

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — A semi driver whose truck rolled on its side, dumping a load of specialty sunflower seeds, says it happened when he tried to check on a couple of doughnuts.

Merv Bontrager of Milo said he looked away briefly from an off-ramp on which he was driving Tuesday morning and ended up rolling his rig on the southeast edge of Minot.

It seemed to happen in slow motion, he said.

"I just looked down briefly on the floor where I had thrown a couple of doughnuts I was going to eat later, to see where they had landed," Bontrager said.

"It was too late. I couldn't bring it [the truck] back, and started going over. That's all it took," he said.

Bontrager suffered minor cuts on his knuckles, though he said his ego was bruised.

He was hauling the specialty sunflowers from a farm near Newburg to an elevator in Pingree, in south central North Dakota, when the crash happened.

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