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Odd News Archive - June 2006

formerly Revelations from the Webjockey

Note: Stories from some news services expire after a few weeks. If you click on a link to the original story it is possible that you will be re-directed to an archives page with the option to access the news item for a small fee.

June 17th, 2006

Art gallery puts non-art on exhibition: One of Britain's most prestigious art galleries put a lump of stone on display, topped by a twig, in the mistaken belief it was a work of art.

The Royal Academy included the stone and the stick in its summer exhibition in London. The stone was actually the base for a sculpture and the stick was to prop up the sculpture. The sculpture itself had been rejected after it was deemed unworthy of inclusion in the exhibition (this ought to pave the way for some interesting entries in next summer's exhibit).

The academy explained the error by saying the base and the head were sent to the exhibitors separately. "Given their separate submission, the two parts were judged independently," it said in a statement. "The head was rejected. The base was thought to have merit and accepted"....full story from theHerald Sun (AU)

White House Chief of Staff rock and rolls at picnic: President George W. Bush's chief of staff on Thursday showed the Washington political world he can rock 'n roll.

Josh Bolten entertained a congressional picnic on the White House lawn by playing bass guitar in a band called "The Compassionates." In black pants, white shirts, skinny black ties and sunglasses, they performed songs including "Born to be Wild."

Bolten, who became chief of staff in March, told reporters as the band made its way to the stage that they had played a few times while he was previously at the Office of Management and Budget and quipped: "We were attention disordered at the time"....full story from Reuters UK

June 16th, 2006

iPod clogs college sewer system for months: A pink iPod Mini, just four inches long, caused a huge headache for maintenance workers at the Santa Clara University (California) for the last few months.

It all started a few months back when a female student accidentally dropped an iPod in a toilet in the College of Arts and Sciences building.

Maintenance crews tried to dislodge the iPod repeatedly, once by trying to breaking it into pieces, which failed. One maintenance worker called the device "indestructible".

In order to get the iPod out from under that building, crews simultaneously flushed as many toilets as they could and they turned on every sink. That caused a water surge which pushed the iPod into a larger more accessible pipe.

Next, a water company was hired to blast water into the pipe in yet another attempt to get the iPod out of the pipe. That effort worked, but at the same time, the blast of water along with a build-up of air caused geysers to burst from the second floor toilets.

The iPod was finally retrieved from a nearby sewage disposal point outside of the building by using a piece of rebar....full story w/slideshow from

June 15th, 2006

Million dollar car turns out to be "lemon": Mark Johnston bought a Mercedes-Benz AMG CLK-GTR roadster, one of only five produced and the only one in North America, for US$1.7 million in 2003 thinking it would be a great investment. Johnston expected to resell the car for a tidy profit. The Guinness Book of World Records lists the car as the most expensive production vehicle ever.

Johnston, who owns "Grand Prix Motors" in Los Angeles, took it out for a test drive with a potential buyer. During the test Johnston claimed the oil gauge lit up and the transmission failed. The car promptly broke down on a Beverly Hills street and was towed back to the showroom.

He is now suing Mercedes for a $US1.7 million refund on "the world's most expensive lemon"....full story w/pic from The Australian

Gold fever in California: 63 year-old Norm Enrique's gold detector reported a positive hit in his front yard and the digging began. Authorities in Montclair, CA shut him down 10 days, 60 feet and two hired hands later.

"We told him, 'You're done,'" said Montclair Fire Capt. Rich Baldwin. "It's amazing no one got killed."

Local authorities, who plan to call out the state Occupational Safety and Health Administration, fenced off the property for safety (guess poor Norm's at Motel 6).

Meanwhile, filling in a hole in California is a highly regulated affair and Norm while be required to hire an engineer to do the job....full story from Fox News

June 14th, 2006

Stay healthy: drink lots of beer and coffee: According to an AP article in MSN Health & Fitness an ingredient in beer seems to help prevent prostate cancer if you drink at least 17 a day.

Researchers at Oregon State University say that the compound xanthohumol, found in hops, inhibits a protein in the cells along the surface of the prostate gland. The protein acts like a switch that turns on a variety cancers, including prostate cancer.

But my poor liver you say?

Then there's another AP article in the New York Post about how coffee may counteract alcohol's poisonous effects on the liver and help prevent cirrhosis.

In a study of more than 125,000 people, one cup of coffee per day cut the risk of alcoholic cirrhosis by 20 percent. Four cups per day reduced the risk by 80 percent. The coffee effect held true for women and men of various ethnic backgrounds.

It is unclear whether it is the caffeine or some other ingredient in coffee that provides the protection, said study co-author Dr. Arthur Klatsky of the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif.

June 13th, 2006

Russian police mistake rugby match for brawl: Nearly 100 amateur rugby players and onlookers were arrested when police in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don received a call about a fight involving a lot of people on some waste ground just outside town.

Everyone involved in the "brawl" was released without charge when officers realized they had been playing rugby....full story from

June 12th, 2006

New pub crawl record set: Thousands of drinkers crammed into 16 different pubs across Maryborough in Queensland, Australia, yesterday for another crack at the quirky title, which was set in the Fraser Coast city in a world first attempt last June.

Maryborough councillor Anne Noia today said the city might have toppled its own record, with a preliminary count showing 2332 people had participated in the latest event.

Drinkers are required to visit 10 pubs in six hours and sink at least one drink - alcoholic or not - at each venue to qualify.

Ms Noia said after yesterday's effort, Maryborough may have also qualified for the world's biggest hangover....full story from Herald Sun (AU)

First hovercraft launched on this day in 1959: The Hovercraft, which has been described as a cross between an aircraft, a boat and a land vehicle, was invented by English boat-builder Christopher Cockerell.

He first tested the 'hover' theory using a cat food can inside a coffee tin, with an industrial air blower and a pair of kitchen scales.

In 1955 he convinced the Ministry of Supply to back him but he was not able to commercially develop the product immediately as his idea had been placed on the government's secret list because of its potential benefits to the military.

In 1959 Cockerell managed to get his idea removed from the secret list and formed the Hovercraft Development Company Ltd...full story from the BBC

June 11th, 2006

Designer coffins for stylish goodbye in Ghana: Funerals are important social occasions in the West African country of Ghana and elaborate, brightly colored coffins have become an art form.

Fantasy coffins shaped like Coca-Cola bottles, airplanes, chickens, cars, cameras, birds and bibles are all on sale in Teshie. (Imagine a scene in a horror film with these bizzare things popping out of the ground!)

First popularized in the 1950s, the coffins cost between $300 and $800 in a country where many live on barely $2 a day.

"If you can't acquire it, you can at least be buried in it," said Kwame Labi, a research fellow at the University of Ghana's Institute of African Studies....full story w/pics & video from Reuters

Note: Stories from some news services expire after a few weeks. If you click on a link to the original story it is possible that you will be re-directed to an archives page with the option to access the news item for a small fee.

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