Odd News - August 2009 Archive


Odd News Archive - August 2009

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.


August 31, 2009

Teacher accused of selling grades for $1,400: TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey social studies teacher has been charged with accepting cash from students looking to improve their grades.

Thirty-year-old Megan Laboy is accused of collecting more than $1,400 from Colts Neck High School students during the 2008-09 school year....full story from CNews


Man fined after complaining about prostitute: OSLO - A 28-year-old Norwegian man was fined after he complained to police that he had been cheated by a prostitute.

The Nordlys newspaper says he has been fined 8,000 kroner ($1,300) as the first person in northern Norway's Troms Province charged under a new law forbidding the purchase of sexual services....full story from CNews

August 30, 2009

Robber comes back to grab TV while police still at house: PENSACOLA, Florida - Police in Florida say a burglar who made off with a man's valuables returned to the home later while investigators were there and snatched what he couldn't carry on his first trip: a 100-pound (45-kilogram) plasma-screen TV.

The burglar had left the TV in the backyard and investigators were going to dust it for fingerprints....full story from CNews


Amsterdam lets beer bike ride on: The beer bike will ride on in Amsterdam.

The outsized bikes, seating groups of people around a central bar, are something of a fixture in the city's centre.

But two accidents within two months prompted the city councillor responsible for transport to launch an investigation in June....full story w/pic from ABC News (AU)

August 29, 2009

TP bridal gown museum bound: CHATHAM - Glue: $6. Toilet paper: $8. Tape: $25. A wedding dress made from all of that: priceless, at least to Ripley's Believe It or Not museum in Australia.

"Truthfully, with only having seven days to work on it, I didn't expect to get a call or an e-mail," said Katherine Moon, 52, creator of the toilet paper bridal gown....full story from CNews


Man saddled with drink-riding conviction: A Tennant Creek [Australia] man has lost his driving licence for riding his horse while drunk.

It is alleged the man had earlier tried to take the horse into a pub.

The ABC understands the 33-year-old man had been told by police not to ride his horse home from a Tennant Creek pub in April....full story from ABC News (AU)

August 28, 2009

Drunk woman in hit-run gets nude: OTTAWA - The Crown is seeking jail time for a woman who sideswiped a car on Hwy. 174, sparking several collisions, then went to the bar for more drinks before answering the door to police naked.

Anik Bertrand, 34, was convicted of impaired driving and leaving the scene of an accident in connection with the Nov. 17, 2006, incident....full story from CNews


Australian town fights cockatoo invasion: Visitors are fascinated by them, but flocks of cockatoos are proving a mixed blessing for the residents of Kallista in Melbourne's Dandenong Ranges.

The birds are a big tourist draw card, but locals are tired of repairing the damage they cause.

Some locals say the sulphur-crested cockatoos may have caused millions of dollars worth of damage throughout the ranges....full story from ABC News (AU)

August 27, 2009

Model gets naked at NYC museum: NEW YORK - It seems the only nudes allowed at New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art are the ones in the collection.

Police say they arrested a 26-year-old woman who was posing naked for a photographer, and in full view of visitors, in the museum's arms and armour department on Wednesday....full story from CNews


Motorists slugged with fines at fake road sign: Police are preparing to repay fines imposed on Sydney [Australia] motorists who disobeyed a fake road sign in the suburb of Beecroft.

The Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) removed the "No Left Turn" sign, which had been standing at the corner of Beecroft Road and Albert Road in northern Sydney, when they realised it was fake.

However about 200 fines had already been issued....full story from ABC News (AU)

August 26, 2009

Police round up llamas in Toronto: TORONTO - The llamas are no longer on the lam and the yak came back.

Someone freed several animals early today from a small zoo in High Park in Toronto's west end.

The yak stayed close to its pen and was easily ushered back inside, but police had to use crime scene tape to round up several llamas....full story w/pic from CNews


Microsoft apologizes for digital head transplant: Microsoft has apologized for digitally removing the head of a black man from a website photo and replacing it with the head of a white man.

Yesterday, countless bloggers and other netizens noticed that Microsoft's Polish site had reproduced a photo from the company's main English language site - with one obvious change. The black man in the middle of the pic had been given a white man's noggin....full story w/pics from The Register

August 25, 2009

Papa John's founder reunites with beloved Camaro: LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The founder of the Papa John's pizza chain has finally reunited with the muscle car he sold years ago to help keep his family's business afloat.

John Schnatter sold the gold-and-black 1971 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 for $2,800 in 1983. The money helped save his father's tavern in Jeffersonville, Ind., and he used the rest to start what would become a worldwide pizza business....full story w/pic from CNews


Fake CIA agent claims immunity from speed laws: MOUNT CARMEL, Tennessee - Police in northeast Tennessee say Scott Gibson isn't the deputy director of the CIA - and he'd have to pay his $75 speeding fine even if he were.

On June 29, a Mount Carmel speed camera clocked the 56-year-old Rogersville resident going 66 mph (106 kph) in a 55 mph (89 kph) zone. He was sent a ticket....full story from CNews

August 24, 2009

Cairns gent glued to loo: Police are appealing for information after a man was glued to a public toilet seat in far north Queensland [Australia] in what police describe as a 'sick joke'.

Police, ambulance officers and fire crews were called to the 70-year-old man's aid after he became stuck at the Cairns Central Shopping Centre toilets about 10:30am AEST on Saturday....full story from ABC News (AU)


London ATM uses Cockney slang: LONDON - You'd better get ready to use your loaf if you want to get your hands on some bread.

Over the next three months a cluster of East London ATMs will be offering customers the chance to withdraw cash using written prompts in Cockney rhyming slang, the area's colorful and often impenetrable dialect....full story w/pic from CNews

August 22, 2009

Bum note as soprano falls into orchestra: Puerto Rican opera singer Ana Maria Martinez has been taken to hospital after falling into the orchestra pit at Glyndebourne, a spokeswoman for the British festival said.

The award-winning soprano sustained minor injuries in the accident while playing the title role in Rusalka at the major opera festival in Sussex, southern England.

She was discharged after being checked by an orthopaedic surgeon....full story from ABC News (AU)

August 21, 2009

You've got mail - and possibly an STD: RIO DE JANEIRO - The Brazilian Health Ministry has created a Web site to let people inform partners they've got a sexually transmitted disease via an e-mailed virtual postcard.

The official in charge of the ministry's STD and AIDs programs notes that many people have a hard time telling partners they're infected....full story from CNews


Woman sues zoo over splashing dolphins: A woman is suing a zoo after she fell near a dolphin exhibit, accusing staff of encouraging the mammals to splash water and then failing to protect spectators from wet surfaces.

In her lawsuit filed earlier this week, Allecyn Edwards said she was injured while walking near an exhibit at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, where a group of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins were performing.

Officials "recklessly and wilfully trained and encouraged the dolphins to throw water at the spectators in the stands, making the floor wet and slippery", the court documents stated....full story from ABC News (AU)


Python found on cash machine: BELGRADE, Serbia - Customers wanting to make a cash withdrawal in one Serbian city risked feeling the squeeze instead.

Police in the southern city of Nis say they found a 2-meter (6.5-foot) python sprawled over a cash machine in the centre of the town....full story from CNews

August 20, 2009

Passenger allegedly strips, fights with crew: OAKLAND, California - Authorities say a St. Louis-bound Southwest Airlines flight was forced to return to Oakland International Airport after a male passenger stripped, hit another passenger and fought with crew members.

Alameda County sheriff's deputies say Flight 947 returned Thursday morning after 21-year-old Darius Chappille of Oakland allegedly exposed himself to the female passenger sitting next to him and punched her in the face....full story from CNews


'Crazy bloke' kept $2m lotto ticket in tin: A Newcastle man who won a $2 million Lotto prize avoided claiming his winnings for seven months while he prepared himself mentally.

The 48-year-old small businessman discovered his win on January 13, the morning after the draw, but has been storing the ticket in a tin since then.

He contacted NSW [New South Wales, Australia] Lotteries on Thursday to collect the win....full story from ABC News (AU)

August 19, 2009

12-baby pregnancy is a farce: TUNIS, Tunisia - A Tunisian woman's claim of being pregnant with 12 babies is a farce, a health official said Wednesday.

Dr. Mongi Hamrouni, head of the ministry's public health department, said he was "more than 99 per cent" sure the woman claiming to be expecting six boys and six girls has a mental problem....full story from CNews


Real fixer-upper: Nuclear bunkers for sale: A former Soviet military base in eastern Germany, including two bunkers used to store nuclear warheads during the Cold War, has been put up for sale.

The 97-hectare Lychen II site in woodland 110 kilometres north of Berlin also includes a shooting range and around 40 buildings, according to the BBG agency managing the sale for the state of Brandenburg.

"Interested parties have until August 31 to make offers," BBG official Gunnar Grossmann said....full story from ABC News (AU)

August 18, 2009

Family shocked as python slithers into yard: LAKE ELSINORE, California - A Southern California family got a slithery surprise when an 11-foot (3.4-meter) python turned up in their front yard.

Francisco Delgadillo says he was chatting with his sister on their porch Sunday night in Lake Elsinore when he saw an enormous snake moving across the fenced yard, KTLA-TV reported....full story from CNews


1-800-Clunkers? Florist keeps getting car calls: CHICAGO - The government is giving cash for clunkers. It isn't sending flowers.

Still, a small-town florist in central Illinois has been fielding hundreds of calls a day from people inquiring about the rebate program after General Motors began advertising a national toll-free cash-for-clunkers number that's nearly identical to the shop's toll-free number....full story from CNews

August 17, 2009

For sale: eternity on top of Marilyn Monroe: Want to spend eternity near Marilyn Monroe? Now you can, because the burial spot located just above the ill-fated star is going on sale for a cool $US500,000 ($602,000) on eBay.

The tomb in the Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles is currently occupied by Richard Poncher, who died 23 years ago aged 81, the Los Angeles Times says.

But his widow is having his body moved over one spot and auctioning the site above Monroe's, hoping to earn enough to pay off her $US1.6 million Beverly Hills home....full story from ABC News (AU)


NZ shop robber leaves contact details: A man vying for the title of New Zealand's most incompetent criminal left his name and contact details with a shop before robbing it and fleeing.

The man - a regular customer of the music shop in the southern city of Christchurch - grabbed handfuls of notes from the till with four surveillance cameras trained on him on Friday, the shop's manager told a local newspaper.

Just minutes before the robbery, the man had approached the assistant saying he wanted a copy of Pink Floyd's album The Wall held for him and giving his details....full story from ABC News (AU)

August 16, 2009

Giant cupcake sets world record: MANCHESTER, New Hampshire - A 1,224-pound (555-kilogram) triple vanilla cupcake with pink frosting has set a record as the world's largest.

The sugary behemoth was unveiled Saturday at the Woodward Dream Cruise classic cars event in Michigan....full story from CNews

August 15, 2009

Cat awarded online high school diploma: A cat belonging to a US and Canada Better Business Bureau exec has been granted a high school diploma.

Yes, it's an online high school. According to a report by msnbc.com, the two-year-old feline graduated from Jefferson High School Online (JHSO), an institution so confident in its pedagogical perfection that it offers a money-back guarantee....full story from The Register


Would-be robber buzzes store to get in: MONCTON, N.B. - Note to self. Before trying to rob store while carrying weapon and wearing mask - make sure the door is unlocked.

RCMP in Moncton, N.B., are looking for a man who, while armed and disguised, approached a convenience store late Thursday night.

The store staffer saw him coming and called police while refusing to buzz the suspect in.

He fled before officers arrived....story from CNews

August 14, 2009

Hotel mistakenly offers 1-cent rooms: ROME - You had to be quick, but what a deal.

A four-star hotel near Venice mistakenly offered the ultimate low-cost vacation - a romantic weekend in the Italian lagoon city for 1 euro cent....full story from CNews


2 boys rescued after locking selves in mailboxes: VIENNA - Austrian authorities aren't about to give these pranks their stamp of approval.

Frustrated officials say rescuers have been deployed twice this week to break open large mailboxes after two children locked themselves inside in separate incidents....full story from CNews

August 13, 2009

Cops arrest gator-carrying bicyclist: BOUTTE, La. - A Louisiana man riding a bicycle with an alligator around his neck was arrested after he dropped the reptile on the ground and ran off as police approached.

St. Charles Parish sheriff's deputies said they spotted Terron Ingram, 38, riding his bicycle with a 3-foot alligator around his neck Friday in Boutte. The man tossed the gator and jumped off his bicycle when he saw authorities approaching him to ask questions, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported Thursday....full story from UPI


Plane gets stuck in tree on golf course: The pilot of a micro-light aircraft was recovering last night after a "miracle escape" when his plane crashed into a tree and got lodged there, on the 15th hole of a golf course.

The plane stuck in the tree between the 14th and 15th holes on Caird Park Golf Club, Dundee, Scotland, trapping the man about 20ft off the ground.

He suffered head wounds but was still conscious after the crash late yesterday afternoon and was able to talk to medics at the scene while they freed him....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

August 12, 2009

Squirrel is surprise star of holiday photo: Melissa Brandts and her husband were surprised to find a squirrel posing with them in a photo taken on holiday.

The couple had set the timer on their camera while posing at a lakeside in a national park in Canada.

Just as they were about to be captured on camera the cheeky squirrel popped up in the foreground and stole the show....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegraph (UK)


Crystal ball torches UK woman's flat: The owner of a 4-inch diameter crystal ball got a nasty shock when she returned from visiting a chum to find the vitreous ornament had torched her flat.

According to the Sun, the "unforeseen" blaze in Worle, Somerset, was caused by the £30 sphere focusing the sun's rays onto the back of 53-year-old Kim Yeates's telly, which then exploded, setting fire to her sofa....full story from The Register

August 11, 2009

Illinois man to serve at least 21 days for yawning: Drowsy spectators in one Will County courtroom might want to stifle their yawns. A 33-year-old suburban Chicago man is facing six months in jail for yawning in Judge Daniel Rozak's court last month. Clifton Williams will serve at least 21 days for stretching and yawning as his cousin was being sentenced for a drug charge.

A prosecutor in the courtroom at the time described the offending yawn as "loud and boisterous." But Williams' cousin says it wasn't "outrageous."....full story from CBS News


Pig swallows £1,500 ring diamond: A grandmother saw a diamond from a £1,500 [US$2,492] ring she was wearing swallowed by a pig during a trip to a visitor attraction.

Anne Moon was on a day out at York Maze [England] when she went to pet the pig called Ginger.

But the animal clamped its teeth around the ring and when it let go Mrs Moon found that the diamond was missing....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

August 10, 2009

73% of Brits too shagged for a shag: A shock survey of 2,000 adult Brits has revealed that 73 per cent are too tired at the end of the day to get their rocks off - the result of a national malaise of bone idleness which has poor old Blighty creaking under the weight of lardy couch potatoes.

According to the "alarming" Nuffield Health figures, 58 per cent admit their unwillingness to get jiggy is due to poor physical fitness....full story from The Register


UK student paid to sleep in designer beds: Miss Madigan, 22, is earning £1,000 to sleep in designer beds every day for a month.

The student, from Harborne, Birmingham, is helping with a "sleep survey" carried out by luxury bed specialists Simon Horn Ltd....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

August 9, 2009

Finland takes gold in World Sauna Championships: Finland, which brought the world the oddities of wife-carrying and mobile phone throwing, burned off all comers to take gold in the World Sauna Championships.

Home favourite Timo Kaukonen won the men's event late on Saturday by withstanding a sweltering 110 degrees Celsius (230 degrees Fahrenheit) for 3 minutes 46 seconds. He beat compatriot Ilkka Poeyhiae by two seconds....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)


Blundering banker sacked for 2nd mistake: A Westpac employee who credited a New Zealand man's account with about $10 million has been sacked after making another mistake on the job.

In May, the worker accidently credited Leo Gao's account with the huge overdraft when he had only asked for $100,000....full story from ABC News (AU)

August 8, 2009

Rangers catch up with French kangaroo: French wildlife authorities have finally caught up with a kangaroo that had been hopping around the French countryside for the past 10 days.

Wildlife authorities cornered Will the kangaroo in the south-west village of Juillac-le-Coq late Wednesday and used a tranquilliser dart gun to put him to sleep and capture him, said his owner.

Police had been receiving phone calls over past weeks from local residents who had spotted the 1.2-metre marsupial bouncing around a children's park or in corn fields....full story from ABC News (AU)


Mouse builds nest egg in ATM with $20 bills: LA GRANDE, Oregon - A mouse found inside an automatic teller machine - along with a nest it had built with chewed-up $20 bills - gave an Oregon gas station employee the surprise of her life.

The mouse, discovered Thursday, had thoroughly torn up two bills and damaged another 14 to line his nest. Employee Millie Taylor says she screamed and slammed the machine's door shut....full story from CNews

August 7, 2009

Brazilian TV ad: Save water, piss in the shower: Brazilian treehuggers have released a TV ad encouraging people to urinate in the shower so as to avoid unnecessary use of water when flushing the lavatory. The short vid shows various authoritative leaders of opinion including Mahatma Gandhi and King Kong - in cartoon form - engoldening their showertime experience in righteous fashion.

The mass animated bladder-voiding is, needless to say, a mild YouTube sensation....full story w/video from The Register


Cash-strapped Cuba says toilet paper running short: HAVANA - Cuba, in the grip of a serious economic crisis, is running short of toilet paper and may not get sufficient supplies until the end of the year, officials with state-run companies said on Friday.

Officials said they were lowering the prices of 24 basic goods to help Cubans get through the difficulties provoked in part by the global financial crisis and three destructive hurricanes that struck the island last year....full story from Reuters UK

August 6, 2009

Russian fighter jets sold off for $5: MOSCOW - Russian investigators are probing the illegal sale of four fuselages of MiG-31 interceptor fighter jets that were sold off for as little as $5 (2.98 pounds), although worth $3.7 million each, RIA news agency said on Thursday.

Corruption is rife across Russia, with the country's President Dmitry Medvedev repeatedly pledging to launch crackdowns and repeatedly complaining this week about officials who demand bribes....full story from Reuters UK


Japan's central bankers look in brothels for green shoots: The Bank of Japan is probing the country's sex workers as it tries to get a grip on the state of the nation's service industries.

The central bank launched a survey of brothels in the Susukino district in Hokkaido as it tries to calibrate demand for services in the outwardly straitlaced but often strangely kinky country, Bloomberg News reports.

By tracking the number of knocking and other sex-related shops, the bank hopes to get a handle on domestic demand in the country, which has seen its export dominated economy take a big hit during the current recession....full story from The Register

August 5, 2009

Zoo pelican swallows cell phone: IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - Can you hear me now?

A pelican at the Tautphaus Park Zoo took something other than food in his bill when a cell phone that had been dropped in a pool at the exhibit made its way down the hatch.

"Luckily, the bird regurgitated it so it wouldn't harm him," zoo superintendent Bill Gersonde said....full story from CNews


Michael Jackson fans want pop star to win Nobel Peace Prize: More than 15,000 people have signed an internet petition calling for late pop star Michael Jackson to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

Started by an American college student, the petition praises Jackson for his commitment to humanitarian causes and calls on the Norwegian Nobel Institute to name the singer as next year's winner.

"We the Undersigned, believe Michael Jackson has given of himself completely and selflessly in a lifelong effort to help better global conditions for children, and all of humankind," the petition said....full story from NEWS.com.au

August 4, 2009

86-yr-old woman shoplifter arrested 61st time: CHICAGO: An 86-year-old woman has been arrested here for the 61st time after she was caught stealing items worth about $250, including anti-wrinkle cream and batteries, from a retail shop.

The woman, identified as Ella Orko, whom the police called a "career shoplifter" was charged with felony shoplifting and a bail of $10,000 was set for her....full story from The Times of India


Plane takes itself for a ride in Australia: SYDNEY: An Australian pilot who forgot to put chocks under the wheels of his aircraft when he cranked its propeller saw it take off without him.

The embarrassing, and expensive, accident took place on Tuesday in the Outback opal mining town of Coober Pedy.

Unable to start the Cessna from the cockpit, he spun the propeller by hand but was not quick enough clambering aboard....full story from The Times of India

August 3, 2009

Journalist hunts for acid-spitting Mongolian death worm: ARMED with explosives, two men are heading to Mongolia's desert to find the fabled acid-spitting and lightning-throwing Mongolian death worm.

The worm- allegedly found in the country's Gobi Desert - has never been documented but locals strongly believe it exists.

The worm- about 1.5m long- apparently jumps out of the sand and kills people by spitting concentrated acid or shooting lightning from its rectum over long distances....full story w/pic from NEWS.com.au


Alleged car thief falls asleep at wheel: Police have caught an alleged car thief after he fell asleep at the wheel while in a car wash.

Officers were called to Para Hills West in Adelaide, Australia by a service station attendant at about 3:00am ACST because a black Audi convertible had been in the car wash for an hour....full story from ABC News (AU)

August 2, 2009

Man sneaks into U.K. on bus full of border agents: LONDON - The government says an illegal immigrant sneaked into the U.K. by smuggling himself aboard a bus full of British border agents.

Britain's Home Office says the man hid in the small space between the bus's chassis and its fuel tank as it travelled through the Channel Tunnel from the French town of Coquelles to the British coastal town of Folkestone....full story from CNews


Graduate sues college because she can't find a job: NEW YORK - A New York City woman who says she can't find a job is suing the college where she earned a bachelor's degree.

Trina Thompson filed a lawsuit last week against Monroe College in Bronx Supreme Court, The New York Post reports. The 27-year-old is seeking the $70,000 she spent on tuition....full story from CNews

August 1, 2009

Camera catches camera thief: PORTLAND, Ore., Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Officials in Oregon say a man who stole a camera was doubly dumb because the camera was police equipment, and security cameras captured the theft.

Kenneth Brakebill, a 56-year-old transient, has admitted stealing the camera and lens that were part of a display of police equipment at Multnomah County Library, The (Portland) Oregonian reported Friday....full story from UPI


Harvard trademarking everyday phrases: CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Harvard University's moves to seek U.S. trademarks for everyday phrases such as "Ask what you can do" are defensive measures, a school official says.

The university has poured a lot of money into basing its promotional and advertising campaigns on such phrases as "Ask what you can do," which was famously uttered by President John F. Kennedy in his 1960 inaugural speech, as well as "Lessons learned" and "Managing yourself," The Boston Globe reported Saturday....full story from UPI

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