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Odd News Archive - October 2008

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.

October 31, 2008

Woman returns library book overdue since 1947: A Florida woman who recently returned a 61-year-overdue library book to Tulsa's Holland Hall School says she sent it back because she values the education she got there.

Martha McCabe Jarrett of Venice, Fla., had checked out the book "New Word Analysis: Or School Etymology of English Derivative Words" in 1947.

She says she recently found it while cleaning her second home in Rome, Ohio, and returned it with a $250 check to cover overdue fees....full story from KFOR-TV (Oklahoma City)

Giant bat makes comeback in Tanzania: A giant bat with a wingspan up to 5.5 feet (1.68 metres) has made a comeback from the brink of extinction in Tanzania in a rare conservation success, an environmental group said on Friday.

Numbers of the Pemba flying fox, a type of fruit bat, have risen to 22,000 since it was rated critically endangered two decades ago when "only a scant few individual fruit bats could be observed," British-based Fauna and Flora International said....full story from Reuters UK

October 30, 2008

French Premier Sarkozy fails to stop sale of likeness voodoo dolls: Semi-barmy kneehigh French premier Nicolas Sarkozy has failed in his attempt to whip from French shelves a voodoo doll bearing his handsome likeness.

As the Reg helpfully informed you, Sarko was stomping courtwards to demand the withdrawal of the dolls which were sold along with a user guide and a satirical biography. But according to the Beeb a judge in Paris has thrown the case out, saying the doll was "within the authorised limits of free expression and the right to humour"....full story from The Register

South Korea court says only blind can be masseurs: South Korea's Constitutional Court ruled on Thursday that only the visually impaired can be licensed masseurs in the country, upholding a law set up a century ago despite arguments it infringed on free employment rights.

The law was established in 1912 when Korea was under Japanese colonial rule to help guarantee the blind a livelihood, according the to the Korean Association of Masseurs, which now has about 7,100 visually impaired people as members....full story from Reuters UK

Qantas flight's radar fails, follows Air New Zealand plane to safety: Qantas flight QF12 from Los Angeles spent about 10 hours under the guardianship of the Air New Zealand jet and was diverted to Auckland for repairs to a faulty weather radar.

Passenger Sean Lygo photographed the latest blot on Qantas's safety record, as the rare sight unfolded off the aircraft's port wing....full story w/pic from

Annoyed wife drove through fences, house: A New Zealand woman driving her husband home became so angry with him that she deliberately drove her car off the road, through two fences and into a house - an excursion that is likely to cost her $30,000.

Elena Mona, 31, unemployed, appeared in Napier District Court yesterday after pleading guilty to charges of drink-driving and dangerous driving causing injury....full story from the Dominion Post

October 29, 2008

Man ordered to take down Halloween display: A Hove, England, man said his landlord ordered him to take down his $1,200 Halloween display because it was too scary for neighborhood children.

Graham Walls, 28, said his landlord, Estate and Property Management, sent him a letter ordering him to take down the life-size skeletons, zombies and witches he had displayed outside of his apartment, The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.

The letter said Walls had "defaced" the building and caused complaints from tenants whose children were afraid of the decorations....full story from UPI

October 28, 2008

Government run website for prostitutes criticized: A government website for Brazil's prostitutes that suggests they be prepared to perform fantasies and offer specialties, among other tips, is going to be toned down.

Prostitution is legal in Brazil and sex worker advocacy groups say the Labour Ministry Web site aims to promote the human rights of prostitutes....full story from CNews

$5 thrift-shop painting may fetch $50M: It was a thrift-shop find for $5 and now it's headed for a Canadian auction block priced at $50 million.

A controversial painting believed to be by Jackson Pollock will be on display this month at a small, east-end gallery, with its U.S. owner, Teri Horton, seeking a Canadian buyer....full story w/pic from CNews

Led Zeppelin plan Plant-free tour: Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones has told the BBC that the band is planning to tour and hit the studio - but without frontman Robert Plant.

Plant has apparently ruled himself out of the line-up, so Jones, Jimmy Page and Jason Bonham are looking for someone to step up to the mic. Jones said: "We are trying out a couple of singers. We want to do it. It's sounding great and we want to get on and get out there....full story from The Register

Big Tokyo quake could highlight toilet shortage: A major quake in Tokyo would force millions of commuters to try to get home on foot, and their journey could be made more difficult by a dire shortage of toilets, a government panel warned in a report this week.

The report, which added that many areas of Tokyo would run short of toilet paper within 24 hours of a powerful quake, was splashed across the front page of the Sankei newspaper on Tuesday, under the headline "820,000 toilet refugees....full story from Reuters UK

Study says the woman in red drives the men crazy: If a woman wants to drive the men wild, she might want to dress in red.

Men rated a woman shown in photographs as more sexually attractive if she was wearing red clothing or if she was shown in an image framed by a red border rather than some other colour, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday....full story from Reuters UK

October 27, 2008

Man's arm trapped in train toilet: A passenger on a French train had to be rescued by firemen after having his arm sucked down the on-board toilet.

The 26-year-old victim was trapped when he tried to fish out his mobile phone, which had fallen into the toilet bowl, and fell foul of the suction system....full story from the BBC

Reluctant groom sets hotel on fire: A Japanese man set fire to the hotel where he was due to get married at the weekend, rather than go through with the ceremony later the same day, newspaper reports said Monday.

Tatsuhiko Kawata, 39, had gone along with wedding plans despite already having a wife, the Yomiuri newspaper said....full story from Reuters UK

Freak shot lands golfer in court and caddy in hospital: A South Korean golfer has paid a heavy price for an embarrassing shot that landed his caddy in hospital.

Media reports said Jung had wound up a huge swing at the third hole but when his left foot slipped, the ball rocketed off in the wrong direction and struck his caddy -- standing eight metres behind him -- in the stomach....full story from Reuters UK

October 25, 2008

Eligible men scarce in New Zealand: Tourism New Zealand has launched a new marketing strategy in Britain promoting the nation's much-touted "man drought" as the perfect reason for British men to visit.

Statistics New Zealand this month said the Kapiti coast, north of Wellington, had just 89 men for every 100 women in the 15-39 age group, that Napier, Rotorua and Gisborne were also short of men, and that an imbalance was showing up in the major cities....full story from

October 24, 2008

Service 2.0 at the iPhone hotel: Guests at the Malibu Beach Inn and the Sky Hotel, both in California, can order food, drinks, wake-up calls, spa treatments, concierge services and transportation, all from a special application on their iPhone or iPod Touch.

If they don't have either of the devices at check-in, guests are provided with a 16GB iPod Touch that has the "Hotel Evolution" application already loaded....full story from

Car intercepts porno movies on dashboard monitor: A Canadian pizza delivery driver in Windsor, Ontario, says his car's wireless rear-view camera system shows pornography when he drives on a certain street.

Dikran Ohanyan, 52, who owns a pizzeria and also makes deliveries, bought the system about a year ago as a safety precaution during backing, the Windsor Star reported.

Two weeks ago, he said, he was delivering on a certain street when a pornographic movie appeared on his monitor....full story from UPI

Make mine a two-thirds, please barman: Drinkers could soon be nipping down to their local for a swift two-thirds of a pint under proposed changes to the law on weights and measures in the UK.

Easing the restrictions on glass sizes for draught beer and cider is designed to appeal to people who can't face a pint, but think a half is too small....full story from Reuters UK

October 22, 2008

Radioactive elevator buttons found in France: Elevator maker Otis will replace hundreds of lift buttons in France after authorities found radioactive materials imported from India at a supplier factory, a source at Otis said on Wednesday.

The French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) said about 20 workers at the plant run by the firm Mafelec, which makes lift buttons in the eastern Isere area, had been exposed to levels of radioactivity above legal norms....full story from Reuters UK

Police in UK arrest naked Tesco burglary suspect: A naked man was arrested on suspicion of burglary on Wednesday after getting stuck in the chimney of the Tesco store he was allegedly trying to steal from, police said.

Greater Manchester Police said officers were alerted to the Tesco Express store in the Pemberton area of Wigan at 5:30 a.m. after receiving a report of "concern for a man."....full story from Reuters UK

October 21, 2008

Sarkozy fights back against voodoo doll: French President Nicolas Sarkozy has threatened to sue a publishing company unless it withdraws a Sarkozy doll that comes with a "voodoo manual" instructing readers to plant pins in it, his lawyer said Tuesday.

The doll is emblazoned with some of Sarkozy's most famous quotes such as "Get lost you pathetic arsehole" -- his words to a bystander who refused to shake his hand at a farm show last year. Readers are encouraged to plant pins in the quotes....full story from Reuters UK

Dead goldfish offered the chance to vote in Illinois: The only "agent of change" Princess ever supported was the person who freshened the water in her fishbowl.

So election officials in Chicago's northern suburbs want to know why voter registration material was sent to the dead goldfish....full story from CNews

Downtown Eustis, Florida, listed on eBay: A good part of downtown Eustis, Fla., can be had on eBay for anyone with a desire for lakefront land and $7.8 million in pocket, its owner says.

The Lake Community Foundation, which owns 11 acres of mostly vacant land along Lake Eustis in central Florida, says it's trying to reach "the right person" through the use of the popular online auction site, The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported Tuesday....full story from UPI

October 20, 2008

U.S. pilot was ordered to shoot down UFO: Two U.S. fighter planes were scrambled and ordered to shoot down an unidentified flying object (UFO) over the English countryside during the Cold War, according to secret files made public on Monday.

One pilot said he was seconds away from firing 24 rockets at the object, which moved erratically and gave a radar reading like "a flying aircraft carrier."....full story from Reuters UK

October 18, 2008

Pets can be over-stressed: A group of veterinarians in Britain say pet owners must pay close attention to their animals to ensure they don't suffer from stress during troubling times.

Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals officials said when pet owners are undergoing divorces or other emotional events, the stress endured by their animals can be overlooked, The Daily Telegraph reported Monday.

Sean Wensley, a senior veterinarian with the group, said during those moments of emotional upheaval, owners must pay close attention for signs of pet stress....full story from UPI

Dogs 'eat' sleeping man's car: A Darwin, Australia man says he woke to discover dogs had "eaten" his car - and it's not the first time it has happened.

Clayton Dwyer, 47, of Millner, thought his girlfriend was kidding when she woke him up and told him his work ute had been gnawed by a pack of savage dogs. But when he walked outside his Beetson Place home he discovered this was no joke....full story w/pic from

October 17, 2008

Space smells like fried steak and hot metal: Space smells like fried steak and hot metal according to astronauts, so NASA has paid a chemist to recreate the odours on Earth.

The space agency has commissioned Steven Pearce of British fragrance firm Omega Ingredients to recreate the smells to help train astronauts, the Press Association reported....full story from

Putin tries new Russian satellite navigation device on his dog: Russia's satellite navigation system isn't fully operational yet, but Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's pet Labrador seems happy with it.

Putin listened Friday as his deputy, Sergei Ivanov, briefed him on the progress of the Global Navigation Satellite System at his home on Moscow's western outskirts....full story from CNews

Worker finds upside down grave markers paving walkway at home in Michigan: So what do you do with gravestones that have misspellings or other engraving errors?

It looks like someone in Michigan used them as walkway pavers. Brian Darwin discovered dozens of grave markers turned upside down and used a front walkway while doing sewer line replacement work at a home Michigan....full story from CNews

Nigerian father takes son to court for idleness: A father took his 20-year old son to an Islamic court in northern Nigeria for idleness, asking that he be sent to prison for refusing to engage in productive activities, state news agency NAN said on Friday.

"He is not listening to words and he is bringing shame to my family. I am tired of his nefarious deeds. Please put this boy in prison so that I can be free," Sama'ila Tahir, a market trader in the northeastern town of Bauchi, was quoted as saying....full story from Reuters UK

October 16, 2008

Titanic survivor to auction relics: The last remaining survivor of the Titanic plans to sell mementoes from the ship to pay her nursing home fees.

Now 96, Millvina Dean was nine weeks old when the liner sank in the North Atlantic in 1912.

She hopes to raise £3,000 by selling items including a suitcase full of clothes given to her by the people of New York after her rescue....full story from the BBC

Live snake shocks sewage plant workers: A University Place, Washington, sewage plant worker said he was shocked to discover the fake-looking snake he found in the waste water was real -- and alive.

Jason Robinson, a sewer maintenance worker at the Chambers Creek Wastewater Plant, said he opened the cover of a screening device and poked what appeared to be a fake snake with the antennae of his radio, KIRO-TV, Seattle, reported Thursday....full story from UPI

October 15, 2008

Doctors leave spatula in patient: A Gynaecologist and two trainee doctors in northern Greece have been handed suspended prison sentences after forgetting a 22-centimetre medical spatula in a patient's abdomen.

The three accused and a scrub nurse today received suspended prison sentences of between 10 months and a year....full story from

October 14, 2008

New Zealand brothel and child care center share same building: The owners of a Wellington brothel are running another sex parlour in an apartment building they share with a childcare centre.

The childcare centre, Early Years, is on the first floor of the apartment building in inner-city Leeds St and caters for up to 60 children under six. The sex parlour is on the fourth floor....full story from The Dominion Post

October 13, 2008

South Korea unveils emotional robot: South Korean researchers said Monday they have developed a robot which can dance and get emotional when it's not tackling the chores.

Mahru can move its lips, eyebrows and even pupils freely to make faces and can emit two kinds of fragrances to match its emotions. It can move upper body parts freely while walking on its legs.

The robot was developed by a research team at the state-funded Korea Institute of Science and Technology....full story w/pic from France24

New Jersey flying deer flattens innocent bystander: A New Jersey old timer is recovering from a nasty cut to the head after being floored by a flying deer as he took a stroll close to his Logan Township home.

Donald Hippo, 66, was described by police as being "simply at the wrong place at the wrong time", in this case Grandview Road at around 9am last Thursday. A truck driver slammed into the unfortunate cervine which "jumped out of nowhere", was sent airborne by the impact and "knocked Hippo's feet right out from under him"....full story from The Register

Iceland for sale -- collect in person: Great scenery and wildlife but financial situation in need of repair -- collect in person.

Iceland, which is going cap in hand to Russia for a 4 billion euro (3.2 billion pound) loan to bail out its failed banks, was offered for sale as a wholesale lot on eBay on Friday....full story from Reuters UK

October 12, 2008

Man facing fine for helping skunk: A Salt Lake City man says he shouldn't be fined by city authorities for moving a trap containing a skunk into the shade to protect the animal.

Ryan Turner said while he prompted the trap's presence on a city-owned lot next to his home, he felt compelled to help the skunk once the sun began beating down, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Sunday.

The incident began when a skunk wandered into Turner's home and filled his bedroom with its noxious spray....full story from UPI

October 11, 2008

Sudan official undone by tight trouser crackdown: A senior official in South Sudan who ordered a crackdown on young women wearing tight trousers has been sacked, officials said Saturday.

Police arrested scores of women -- many on their way home from church -- in the capital Juba last week on charges of disturbing the peace. Officers said their choice of clothing proved they belonged to youth gangs....full story from Reuters UK

TV anchor receives on-air proposal: A television anchor in Lubbock, Texas, says she had no clue her boyfriend from a rival TV station planned to propose to her on-air during her show.

KAMC-TV anchor Emily Leonard appeared stunned when she saw boyfriend, Matt Laubhan, a meteorologist for KLBK-TV, Lubbock, sitting at the sports desk. Laubhan then asked viewers to "sit back and watch me make a young woman cry, hopefully in a good way....full story from UPI

October 10, 2008

US woman shot by cast iron stove: Here's top tip for those of you who like to have the odd firearm around the house: Don't put live rounds wrapped in newspaper in your cast iron stove and then throw a match in.

That's exactly what Cory Davis, 56, of Sekiu in Washington state did. According to the Peninsula Daily News she'd "just finished stoking her cast-iron stove to heat her home when something inside it exploded....full story from The Register

Couple saws house in divorce settlement: A couple in rural Cambodia has terminated their 18-year marriage with a divorce settlement that entailed sawing in two the wooden house they once shared, villagers said Friday.

The husband, 42-year-old Moeun Sarim, has taken away with him all the bits and pieces of his half a house, said his 35-year-old wife, Vat Navy....full story from CNews

Election mix-up: 'Osama' on some ballots: Who is running for president? In an upstate New York county, hundreds of voters have been sent absentee ballots in which they could vote for "Barack Osama."

The absentee ballots sent to voters in Rensselaer County identified the two presidential candidates as "Barack Osama" and "John McCain."....full story from WFAA-TV (Dallas)

October 9, 2008

Ice chunk falls through roof, hits woman in bed: A woman was slightly injured on Wednesday after a six-pound chunk of ice fell from the sky through her roof as she slept. The source of the ice wasn't immediately known, but experts said it might have fallen from an airplane or rocket.

Mary Ann Foster, a 66-year-old grandmother, said she's glad to be alive after a piece broke off and hit her on the forehead....full story from CBS News

How safe is your city? Put it to the bicycle test: How long will an unchained bicycle last on a city street before someone steals it?

Using hidden cameras and cheap bicycles as bait, an Argentine publicist set out to gauge crime in different neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires. The longer it takes for the bike to be stolen the safer the area, is his hypothesis....full story from Reuters UK

Norwegian legislator turned to fortunetellers: A Norwegian Labour party politician took voluntary sick leave today and said she wouldn't seek re-election after running up big phone bills at Parliament's expense by turning to an unusual set of advisers: fortunetellers.

Saera Khan's mobile phone habits became known after Parliament said it would no longer cover her bills, which Norway's largest newspaper Verdens Gang said hit about $7,740 in one three-month period....full story from CNews
-Perhaps members of the US Congress should consult with these same "advisors".....

Judge sentences rap music fan to Bach, Beethoven: A defendant had a hard time facing the music in Ubana, Ohio.

Andrew Vactor was facing a $150 fine for playing rap music too loudly on his car stereo in July. But a judge offered to reduce that to $35 if Vactor spent 20 hours listening to classical music by the likes of Bach, Beethoven and Chopin....full story from CNews

October 8, 2008

Court says no to NY man's 'Viva Viagra' missile: A court says a man's New York escapade with a decommissioned missile emblazoned with "Viva Viagra" is a dud.

A federal judge in Manhattan ruled Wednesday that Arye Sachs' antics infringe on a trademark held by Pfizer Inc. It makes the impotence drug Viagra....full story from CNews

October 7, 2008

Flying-car inventor Paul Moller offers flying saucer on eBay: Famous flying-car inventor Paul Moller, who was fined in 2003 by the US authorities for selling "fraudulent unregistered stock" on the internet, is now selling his personal flying saucer prototype on eBay. Our advice: buyer beware.

According to Moller, the online auction is an opportunity to acquire "a piece of aviation history that is absolutely unique". The eBay listing states that "the M200X volantor was the first VTOL aircraft of its kind (flying car) to fly successfully and did so repeatedly during the 1980s....full story from The Register

Women arrested for tight trousers: More than 35 young women wearing tight trousers have been arrested for "disturbing the peace" in south Sudan, police said on Tuesday.

Officers said the arrests in Juba, capital of the semi-autonomous region, were part of a crackdown on youth gangs that have sprung up recently and have a reputation for drinking, fighting and public nudity....full story from Reuters UK

Mom brings rabid bat to school, lets kids touch it: About 90 elementary school students in Montana have started a series of rabies shots after a parent let them touch a dead bat that was later confirmed to be diseased.

The mother of two students gave presentations in five classrooms and allowed the kids to touch the dead bat last week. She offered each student who touched the bat a sanitary wipe....full story from CBS News

Taiwan suggests SARS was China warfare plot: Taiwan legislators wearing surgical masks and displaying skull-and-crossbones banners took over parliament's floor on Tuesday after the island's security chief accused China of starting the global SARS epidemic six years ago as part of a biological warfare campaign.

Taiwan National Security Bureau Director-General Tsai Chao-ming told a legislative committee on Monday that sources in China suspected biological warfare, but that conclusive evidence had not surfaced....full story from Reuters UK

Naked swimmer evades police in Tokyo palace moat: A bald, naked man who said he was a British tourist went swimming in the moat of Japan's Imperial Palace on Tuesday, climbing the palace wall, throwing rocks and splashing water at police before being taken into custody.

Television footage showed the tall man getting out of the water at one point, chasing police with a rock and a plastic construction site pole....full story from Reuters UK

October 6, 2008

Recycling litter funds Brits' honeymoon: John and Ann Till, from Petersfield, in Hampshire, took thousands of cans and bottles to a recycling centre at a nearby Tesco supermarket.

For every four recycled items, they earned a reward point which was then converted into British Airways air miles....full story from the BBC

October 5, 2008

Church goes to the dogs: Anglican Cathedral Church of the Redeemer looked more like a pet store than a place of worship yesterday morning during the annual Blessing of the Animals.

Now in its 12th year, about 150 people brought their four-legged companions to the inter-denominational service, held to bless pets still in their owners' lives as well as those that have passed on....full story from CNews

October 4, 2008

Message in a bottle, hot dog cart and a pizza among items found in shore cleanup: A message in a bottle may be something a diehard romantic might dream of finding along Canada's coasts, but a hot-dog cart might be pushing it a bit.

But the Vancouver Aquarium's Angela Griffiths says those were among curious items found in the 15th annual TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, which ended September 28....full story from CNews

October 3, 2008

Virgin rejects $1m space sex offer: Virgin Galactic has rather churlishly rejected a $1m offer to allow an unnamed company to shoot a zero-grav grumble flick aboard its SpaceShipTwo vehicle - thereby depriving science of crucial research into how humanity might procreate during the very long haul to the nearest Earth-like planet once we've finally screwed this ball of dirt we call home.

The cash was slapped on the table "up-front, for a sex-in-space movie", said the company's prez, Will Whitehorn, According to He confirmed: "That was money we had to refuse, I'm afraid....full story from The Register

Naked lunch promo dropped to placate Town Board: In there's no such thing in as a free lunch in Greenville, Maine, anymore for Black Frog Restaurant patrons nervy enough to run down a dock and plunge naked into Moosehead Lake.

Owner Leigh Turner decided Thursday to stop giving out a free Skinny Dip sandwich - that's thinly sliced prime rib on a baguette - for a skinny dip after the town board voted to deny his liquor license renewal application....full story from CBS News

October 2, 2008

Beer can led officers to suspect: Police in Kalamazoo, Michigan, said a burglar left behind a beer can that helped them track down a suspect.

Investigators said an 88-year-old woman was woken up early Tuesday morning by a man inside her house, WOOD-TV, Grand Rapids, Michigan, reported Thursday.

Police said the man fled with the woman's bank debit card but he left behind a beer can that police were able to track by visiting local convenience stores to determine who had purchased the beer....full story from UPI

Playboy looks for bare market on Wall Street: Playboy magazine is offering a new way to lose your shirt on Wall Street.

The adult entertainment magazine, long famous for its photo spreads of nude women and lessons in living the urbane life of the well-heeled bachelor, is launching a search for models to pose for its upcoming feature, "Women of Wall Street....full story from Reuters UK

October 1, 2008

Man punches shark to save pet dog: A man has saved his pet dog from a shark attack by jumping into the water and punching the predator in the neck.

Greg LeNoir took his 28-month-old, 6.3kg rat terrier Jake for his daily swim at a Florida marina when a 1.5m-long shark surfaced and bit into the dog....full story from

Dutch in red light credit scheme: The Dutch city of Eindhoven is to award credit points to street prostitutes in exchange for good behaviour.

Prostitutes with enough points will get street miles from the City Hall which they can use to buy designer clothes and furniture....full story from the BBC

Full-size Roman siege artillery offered on eBay: Some may doubt the practical value of the typical item offered for sale at famed online megajumblemall eBay. This viewpoint will be either reinforced or shattered to rubble by the news that a full size, potentially serviceable piece of Roman siege artillery has now appeared for auction.

The mighty ballista is offered for sale by custom timber housebuilders Carpenter Oak & Woodland, who built it for a joint BBC/Discovery Channel documentary in 2002....full story from The Register

Jobless German hands in cash, gold found by road: An unemployed construction worker found a package filled with 16,000 euros (12,683 pounds - $22,871 US) in cash and items of gold jewellery beside a busy German road -- and turned it over to authorities, police said on Wednesday.

The 56-year-old father of a disabled son, whose family relies on state unemployment benefits of about 600 euros per month, spotted the large brown envelope while cycling along a road near Ermstedt in the eastern state of Thuringia, a police spokesman said....full story from Reuters UK

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