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Odd News Archive - October 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.

October 31, 2009

Lost cat found in aircon unit: The RSPCA has found a cat trapped in an air conditioner at Coorparoo on Brisbane's [Australia] southside.

The female cat had been inside the air-conditioning unit for at least five days before RSPCA officers freed it yesterday.

The animal welfare group says the owner of the property had heard strange noises coming from her 1970s air conditioner but thought it was rats....full story from ABC News (AU)

Ex-Notre Dame worker to repay much of $29,000 tip: SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A woman mistakenly tipped $29,000 by the University of Notre Dame in her catering paycheck will return more than half of the money in $50 monthly payments over the next 28 years.

Notre Dame sued Sara Gaspar of Granger, Ind. to return the money because she should have been paid only $29.87 but a clerical error resulted in a check for $29,387 in April....full story from CNews

October 30, 2009

Dumped by online girlfriend, man camps out in airport: CAMPINAS, Brazil - A German man reportedly dumped by a Brazilian woman he met on the Internet camped out in an airport for 13 days before being taken Thursday to a hospital for a psychological evaluation.

The man, identified by authorities as Heinz Muller, was out of money and wouldn't say when he planned to leave, according to airport workers, some of whom brought him meals from the food court....full story w/pic from CNews

Bulgarians playing Russian road roulette?: SOFIA - Bulgarian prosecutors are investigating a new gambling game in which drivers defy death by speeding through red lights for bets of up to 5,000 euros ($7,400), the chief prosecutor's office said Thursday.

Known as 'Russian road roulette', the driver must jump red lights at busy intersections at high speed and not crash into any other cars or pedestrians, according to local media reports. Onlookers also gamble on the result....full story from CNews

October 29, 2009

Grave concerns over Brisbane zombie plague: Brisbane Zombie Walk organisers could face a police bill for future events, after up to 5,000 zombies lurched through the CBD on Sunday.

Zombie Santas, strippers, soldiers and nurses surged through the city on Sunday, forcing police to block off streets and direct traffic....full story from ABC News (AU)

Man caught with ferret in his pants: JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - Police say a homeless man stole a live ferret by stuffing it in his pants.

Thirty-eight-year-old Rodney Bolton is charged with theft over the $129 animal that police say he took from a pet store in Jacksonville Beach, The Florida Times-Union reported....full story from CNews

October 28, 2009

Putin to be cast in bronze for Schwarzenegger: A bust of Russia's muscle-flexing strongman Vladimir Putin is being created as a gift for ex-Hollywood bodybuilder and California's current governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The bust is currently being made in Mr Putin's home city of Saint Petersburg on an order of Russia's Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation and will be delivered to the movie star turned politician in March....full story from ABC News (AU)

Drink a coffee, see what the future holds: TEL AVIV - Coffee drinkers at a popular Israeli chain can have their fortunes told for free if they buy a cup of the brew that leaves grounds at the bottom.

"A surprise is waiting for you when you finish your coffee," say waitresses at branches of Ilan's Coffee House in Tel Aviv, where marketing manager Michal Steg has hired a "gypsy" soothsayer to teach staff how to interpret the residue....full story from Reuters UK

October 27, 2009

Team gets penalty time for playing 'strip hockey': BOISE, Idaho - A junior hockey team was banished from a city ice rink after players engaged in "strip hockey" - shedding a piece of uniform every time a practice shot missed its mark.

The city of Boise forbid the Idaho Junior Steelheads team from using the Idaho Ice World rink for four days; one player who shed his underwear briefly was suspended until next week....full story from CNews

Drink relaxes jumpy Irish drivers, MP says: DUBLIN - A politician from Ireland's governing party has said "jumpy" drivers might benefit from having a relaxing alcoholic drink to steady their nerves.

Ireland is gripped by a feisty debate over government plans to cut the legal blood alcohol content limit for motorists to 50 mg per 100 ml from 80 mg to try to reduce road accidents....full story from Reuters UK

October 26, 2009

Cop accused of pulling gun at haunted house: ESSEX, Md. - A Baltimore city police officer delivered the fright of a lifetime to a haunted house employee, pulling a gun on the chain-saw-wielding man at the end of his act, authorities said Monday.

Sgt. Eric Janik, 37, was charged with assault and reckless endangerment for pointing his service handgun at the worker, who was dressed as Leatherface, the killer from "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," Baltimore County police said....full story from CNews

Black belt tourist 'karate chops' robbers: Police in Alice Springs [Australia] say would-be robbers picked the wrong victim to accost at the weekend.

A 20-year-old German woman was one of a group of tourists attacked by several people on the Wills Terrace footbridge on Saturday evening....full story from ABC News (AU)

October 25, 2009

Liverpool beach ball boy says sorry: A teenage Liverpool fan who caused one of the oddest goals in English football history came out of hiding Sunday to apologise profusely for belting a beach ball onto the pitch.

Callum Campbell, 16, told the Sunday Mirror newspaper it was he who whacked the inflatable ball onto the pitch, triggering Liverpool's 1-0 defeat at Sunderland on October 17.

The youngster has faced death threats for his part in a defeat that dented the Reds' bid to win the Premier League title and locked himself indoors for two days....full story w/pic from ABC News (AU)

Undead lurch through Brisbane: Thousands of 'undead' lurched through Brisbane, Australia on Sunday for the fourth annual Brisbane Zombie Walk.

Zombie brides, zombie doctors and nurses, zombie strippers and zombie Santas were popular at this year's walk.

Zombie Darth Vader, zombie Where's Wally, and even zombie Hunter S. Thompson turned out at the walk, which raised money for the Brain Foundation....full story w/pic from ABC News (AU)

October 24, 2009

Drunk's pimped-out motorised sofa up for auction: A small town police department in Minnesota will put a motorised lounge chair up for auction next week after it was seized in a drunk driving incident.

The black and blue leather lounge chair comes complete with stereo, footrest, cupholders, headlights, a nitrous oxide power boost system, drag racing-style steering wheel and a parachute....full story w/pic from ABC News (AU)

Canadian home hit by vehicle -- again: A northside Edmonton home was damaged for the second time in three years by a vehicle early yesterday when a woman in her 70s lost control of her truck and slammed into the house.

Police believe she suffered a "medical event" before the accident, a police spokesman said....full story w/pic from CNews

October 23, 2009

Baby born on plane, earns free flights for life: KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - A Malaysian woman who gave premature birth to a boy on board an airplane minutes before it landed will get free flights for life along with her child, an airline official said Friday.

Liew Siaw Hsia, 31, gave birth on budget carrier AirAsia's flight from Penang to Kuching on Wednesday....full story from CNews

Brazilian writhes her way to pole dancing glory: Brazil's Rafaela Montenero, 24, has taken first place in South America's premier pole dancing competition, where women writhe on a pole in a mix of eroticism and acrobatics, organisers said.

Montenero, from Sao Paulo, delivered her vertical best to take the regional prize, following a similar triumph to become Brazil's Miss Pole Dancer 2009....full story w/pic from ABC News (AU)

October 22, 2009

Man drives motorized La-Z-Boy while drunk: DULUTH, Minn. - A Minnesota man has pleaded guilty to driving his motorized La-Z-Boy chair while drunk.

A criminal complaint says 62-year-old Dennis LeRoy Anderson told police he left a bar in the northern Minnesota town of Proctor on his chair after drinking eight or nine beers....full story w/pics from CNews

Chavez urges 3-minute showers to conserve water: CARACAS (Reuters) - Leftist President Hugo Chavez called on Venezuelans on Wednesday to stop singing in the shower and to wash in three minutes because the oil-exporting nation is having problems supplying water and electricity.

Venezuela has suffered several serious blackouts in the past year because of rapidly growing demand and under-investment, which has been aggravated by a drop in water levels in hydroelectric dams that provide most of its energy....full story from Reuters UK

October 21, 2009

Man staged nearly 100 car crashes in cash scam: LONDON - A Briton who cost the insurance industry some 1.6 million pounds by staging almost 100 car crashes as part of a scam to win fraudulent payouts, was jailed for 4-1/2 years on Wednesday.

Mohammed Patel, 24, charged 500 pounds a time to stage accidents which enabled fraudsters to claim an average of 17,000 pounds from their insurers.

Police said he staged at least 92 crashes between 2005 and 2008, each time persuading the other driver to believe they were at fault....full story from Reuters UK

Funeral home offers electronic billboard obits: DES MOINES, Iowa - A funeral home is giving people one last chance to have their name in lights.

Iles Funeral Home in Des Moines is going high-tech with its funeral announcements, putting them on electronic billboards around the city....full story from CNews

October 20, 2009

Stiff penalty for erectile drug importer: A man from the Northern Territory in Australia has been fined for importing steroids to help him with erection problems.

Troy Allan Martin Chester did not appear in the Darwin Magistrates Court this morning but his lawyer pleaded guilty on his behalf to importing prohibited steroids and lying on his arrival form to Customs.

The court heard Chester bought 100 methandrastenalone pills from an overseas pharmacy....full story from ABC News (AU)

Elvis' hair leaves the building -- sold for $18,300: LOS ANGELES - A pile of hair believed snipped from Elvis Presley when he joined the U.S. Army in 1958 sold for $18,300 (11,207 pounds) on Sunday, according to a Chicago auction house.

The King's hair was one of up to 200 items of Elvis memorabilia collected by the late Gary Pepper, who was the president of the Tankers Fan Club set up for Elvis fans....full story from Reuters UK

October 19, 2009

Two phones, no hands: driver nabbed by police: Police in Melbourne, Australia say they pulled over a motorist in the city's Eastlink Tunnel who was using his knees to steer his car, while he was holding a mobile phone in each hand.

The incident happened on Saturday afternoon....full story from ABC News (AU)

Bear chills out in grocery store beer cooler: HAYWARD, Wis. - Shoppers in a Wisconsin grocery store got an unexpected surprise when a 125-pound (58-kilogram) black bear wandered inside and headed straight for the beer cooler.

The bear stopped Thursday night at Marketplace Foods in Hayward, about 140 miles (225 kilometres) northeast of Minneapolis, sauntering through the automatic doors and heading straight for the liquor department, WEAU-TV reported....full story from CNews

October 18, 2009

NYC neighbour sues Madonna over loud music: NEW YORK - One of Madonna's New York neighbours says the superstar's loud music and frequent dance sessions are causing a commotion.

Karen George, of Manhattan, lives above Madonna in a building on Central Park....full story from CNews

Undersea cabinet calls for climate change deal: The Maldives' government has held an underwater cabinet meeting in a bid to focus global attention on rising sea levels that threaten to submerge the low-lying atoll nation.

President Mohamed Nasheed plunged first into the Indian Ocean followed by his ministers, all clad in scuba gear, for the nationally televised meeting in this archipelago known as an idyllic holiday getaway for the rich....full story w/pic from ABC News (AU)

October 17, 2009

Pot-filled tennis balls fly over prison walls: A New Orleans jailer has called game, set and match on six people who tossed drug-filled tennis balls into his prison yard.

Sheriff Marlin Gusman had netting strung up around the recreation yard walls a couple years back to ward off smugglers.

But the tennis balls - which can be hollowed out to hold illegal cell phones, weapons and drugs - kept coming....full story from ABC News (AU)

US town uses goats to clear meadow: ANDOVER, Mass. - A Boston suburb has some new landscapers that will work for food - a half-dozen goats clearing and maintaining an overgrown public meadow.

Under a pilot program in Andover, Lucy McKain's dairy goats will rotate their grazing around the meadow for an all-you-can-eat buffet of grass, brush and other growth....full story from CNews

October 16, 2009

Last post: WWII letter finally makes it home: A letter written by a British serviceman during the World War II has finally been delivered to his family.

Charles Fleming was stationed in Italy in 1945 when he penned a two-page letter on American Red Cross paper to a woman who he addressed as "dearest"....full story from ABC News (AU)

Brothel offers discounts for 'green' customers: BERLIN - Part of Berlin's red-light scene is going green.

One bordello, hoping to stave off falling demand in the economic crisis, has begun offering discounts to customers who pedal bicycles to the door....full story from CNews

October 15, 2009

Driver in hot water over school-kid splash: A British woman has wound up in court after driving through a puddle and splashing a group of school children waiting at a bus stop.

British media reported the splash-happy culprit came undone after a video of the incident, complete with commentary from her partner, appeared on YouTube.

A male voice can be heard in the clip egging the driver more from ABC News (AU)

Dead man appointed to local committee: MOBILE, Ala. - Reynolds Smith Jr. was a stalwart Democratic voter. But the Alabama Democratic Party overlooked another fact when it appointed Smith to an interim party panel: He died in November at age 83.

Party executive director Jim Spearman told the Press-Register on Tuesday that the mistake was caused by outdated records....full story from CNews

October 14, 2009

World's shortest man to set record straight: Khagendra Thapa Magar from Nepal, thought to be the world's smallest living man at just 56 centimetres, has turned 18 and now hopes to be officially recognised for his record size.

Four years ago, Thapa had his application for a Guinness World Record for the smallest man rejected because at just 14 he was too young to qualify....full story from ABC News (AU)

40,000 get hitched in worldwide mass wedding: ASAN, South Korea - From South Korea to South America, Rev. Sun Myung Moon married tens of thousands of couples in the Unification Church's largest mass wedding in a decade and potentially the last for the 89-year-old leader.

The spectacle comes as Moon, the church's controversial founder moves to hand day-to-day leadership over to three sons and a daughter, though the Rev. Moon Hyung-jin, the 30-year-old tapped to take over religious affairs, insists his father is healthy and remains in charge....full story w/pic from CNews

October 13, 2009

Trading emotionally? Dutch device warns of stress: AMSTERDAM - If emotions are getting the better of you while trading online, The Rationalizer may be just the thing to tell you when it's time to take a break.

The prototype unveiled by Netherlands-based Philips Electronics and ABN AMRO aims at sensing day traders' stress levels so they can "time-out, wind down and re-consider their actions," the companies said on Tuesday....full story from Reuters UK

Boy playing football tackled by deer: WINTERSVILLE, Ohio - A 7-year-old Ohio boy playing a game of backyard football was tackled by a deer.

Brandon Hiles says he encountered the buck when the ball rolled into woods while he was playing with friends Saturday in Wintersville, about 125 miles east of Columbus. The boy says the buck ran at him and flipped him with its antlers, leaving bruises and a gash....full story from CNews

October 12, 2009

Train drags German mooner half naked along tracks: BERLIN (Reuters) - A German man mooning at railway staff in a departing train got his trousers caught in a carriage door and ended up being dragged half naked along the platform, out of the station and onto the tracks.

The 22-year-old journalism student shoved his backside against the window of a low-slung double-decker train when staff forced him off in Lauenbrueck for travelling without a ticket, a spokesman for police in the northern city of Bremen said....full story from Reuters UK

Malaysia state offers honeymoons to halt divorce rate: KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's eastern state of Terengganu is offering free honeymoons worth up to $440 (278 pounds) each to rekindle the romance between married couples on the brink of divorce.

The honeymoon package comes with some counselling and is an attempt to slow soaring divorce rates in the state, according to The Star newspaper reported on Monday....full story from Reuters UK

October 11, 2009

Maine couple wins North American wife-carrying championship: NEWRY, Maine - A Maine couple has taken the crown in the North American Wife Carrying Championship over a course that featured a muddy water hole and two log obstacles.

Dave and Lacey Castro of Lewiston came in first among 41 teams to win Saturday's competition at Sunday River ski resort in Newry....full story from CNews

Prince Philip tussles with technology: Britain's Prince Philip says he is baffled by modern television remote controls and ends up lying on the floor by the set to operate it instead.

The husband of Queen Elizabeth bemoaned the design of televisions and praised people's tolerance for coping with them, in a clip on the official Royal Channel on the video-sharing website YouTube....full story from ABC News (AU)

October 10, 2009

Australian PM turns to Twitter over Julia dilemma: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd sparked a flurry of tweeting this morning by posting not about climate change or Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize win, but about what to see at the movies.

KevinRuddPM: Thinking of going to the movies with T to see Julie and Julia with Meryl Streep. Any thoughts out there? KRudd....full story from ABC News (AU)

Man in 70's suspected of robbing bank: SAN DIEGO - A man in his 70s has robbed a bank branch inside a San Diego supermarket.

Police investigators say the man handed a teller a note demanding cash Friday at the U.S. Bank inside a Vons supermarket in the Carmel Valley neighbourhood. The man said he had a gun, but no weapon was seen....full story from CNews

October 9, 2009

Gaza donkeys get dye-job, take on zebra role: GAZA - Two white donkeys dyed with black stripes delighted Palestinian kids at a small Gaza zoo on Thursday who had never seen a zebra in the flesh.

With their long ears, drooping heads and sleepy eyes, the impostors probably would not have fooled the zoo's only lioness. But the effect achieved by the zoo owners' dye job looks not so bad -- to the unpractised eye, and from a distance....full story w/pic from Reuters UK

For the busy executive -- an anti-H1N1 suit: TOKYO - For the executive who doesn't have time to come down with the flu, a Japanese company has invented a new form of protection -- the anti-H1N1 suit.

Menswear company Haruyama Trading claims the suit can protect wearers from the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, as it is coated with titanium dioxide, a chemical commonly used in toothpaste and cosmetics and that breaks down when reacting with light, supposedly killing the virus upon contact....full story from Reuters UK

October 8, 2009

Seven-foot long dog may be record: CASSELTON, N.D. - Measuring 3 feet tall (1 metre) at the shoulders and 7 feet (2.1 metres) long from nose to destructive wagging tail, he might be the world's tallest living dog.

Caryn Weber says her 3-year-old Landseer Newfoundland keeps all four paws on the floor when he drinks from the kitchen faucet in her family's farm house in eastern North more w/pic from CNews

McRage after couple gets wrong size fries: QUINCY, Mass. - A Massachusetts couple are accused of hurling coins and safety cones at McDonald’s cashiers in Quincy when they didn’t get enough french fries.

Christine Galipeau of Quincy and Eugene Jackson of Boston have pleaded innocent to assault and battery in the Tuesday more from CNews

October 7, 2009

1,725 lb pumpkin could be world's largest: CANTON, Ohio - A teacher has won top honours in a pumpkin-growing contest with a 1,725-pound (782-kilogram) behemoth that could land worldwide bragging rights.

Christy Harp of Jackson Township, Ohio, took first place at the Ohio Valley Giant Pumpkin Growers annual weigh-off Saturday in Canfield. She won $2,500 and could claim the world title....full story from CNews

Couple's 'amorous activities' cause crash: A 33-year-old man has been charged after he crashed his car in the Northern Territory [Australia] while drunk and engaging in "amorous activities" with a 34-year-old woman.

Police say the vehicle was travelling in Humpty Doo, about 40 kilometres south of Darwin, at 11.30pm last night when the car crossed to the wrong side of the road and crashed into a concrete drain....full story from ABC News (AU)

October 6, 2009

Woman in Philippines cracks Oklahoma burglary: MIDWEST CITY, Okla. - Police say three people who tried to rob a man's suburban Oklahoma City apartment were caught by his wife in the Philippines, who saw them on the webcam the couple uses to communicate while they are apart.

Midwest City police Chief Brandon Clabes says officers nabbed the three burglary suspects over the weekend after Maribel Chouinard spotted them and called her husband, an Air Force master sergeant at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City....full story from CNews

Van crashes into house on Good Luck Road: LANHAM, Md. - Police say a driving lesson on Good Luck Road ended with a minivan crashing through an apartment wall.

It happened in Lanham, where apartment resident Robert Scriber's leg was hurt by flying debris. He says the minivan landed on top of a bed where he'd been lying minutes before....full story from CNews

October 5, 2009

UK Ministry of Defence 'how to stop leaks' document is leaked: The Defence Manual of Security is intended to help MoD, armed forces and intelligence personnel maintain information security in the face of hackers, journalists, foreign spies and others.

But the 2,400-page restricted document has found its way on to Wikileaks, a website that publishes anonymous leaks of sensitive information from organisations including governments, corporations and religions.

Known in the services as Joint Services Protocol 440 (JSP 440), it was published in 2001. As Wikileaks notes, it is the document that is used as justification for the monitoring of certain websites, including Wikileaks itself....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Crocodile thrown in jail cell for loitering: Northern Territory [Australia] police were forced to arrest a grumpy crocodile and throw it in jail after it was discovered loitering in a town.

Gunbalanya police were called out recently after the 2m [6-1/2ft] female saltie turned up at Arrkuluk Camp the Northern Territory News reports.

Police said they found it loitering near a fence, trying to look innocent....full story w/pic from

October 4, 2009

Treasure hunter falls victim to possible 30-year-old prank: ST. LOUIS -- An Illinois woman who set out on a treasure hunt for buried gold coins after finding a cryptic note in an antique rocking chair may have been the victim of a prolific prankster who died more than 30 years ago.

With help of a donated backhoe, Patty Henken recently tore up a vacant lot in Springfield, Ill., where a typewritten note signed by "Chauncey Wolcott" - found in an old chair she bought at auction last November - suggested she would find a chest containing more than $250 in U.S. gold coins....full story from CNews

October 2, 2009

Chirac gives away 'violent' dog: Former French President Jacques Chirac has announced that he has given away his beloved dog after it attacked him for a third time.

Sumo, a Maltese terrier, is reported to have bitten him in the stomach in their apartment in the capital, Paris.

Mr Chirac's wife, Bernadette, said the dog had been treated for depression after finding it difficult to come to terms with leaving the Elysee Palace....full story w/pic from the BBC

Man gets 2 yrs for swiping car on 1st date: PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A Detroit man has been sentenced to at least two years in prison for stealing a woman’s car after skipping out on the check during their first date.

Twenty-four-year-old Terrance McCoy was sentenced Friday in Oakland County Circuit Court to two to 10 years in prison....full story from CNews

Toilet roll fire sparks major evacuation: Police say hundreds of guests were evacuated from a Darwin [Australia] hotel early this morning after someone deliberately set fire to a toilet roll.

Duty Superintendent Bob Harrison says police and firefighters rushed to the Melaleuca Lodge in the CBD after a fire was reported on the second floor....full story from ABC News (AU)

October 1, 2009

Gas mask bra traps Ig Nobel prize: Designers of a bra that turns into gas masks and a team who found that named cows produce more milk were among the winners of the 2009 Ig Nobel prizes.

The aim of the awards is to honour achievements that "first make people laugh and then make them think".

The peace prize went to a Swiss research team who determined whether it is better to be hit over the head with a full or empty bottle of more w/pic from the BBC

Champion rat killer wins colour TV: A Bangladeshi farmer who killed more than 80,000 rodents this year has won a colour television as he was crowned the country's 2009 champion rat killer, officials said.

Mokhairul Islam disposed of 83,450 rats from January to September, more than double the tally of last year's winner, department of agriculture director Abdul Hannan said on Wednesday (local time).

The annual competition was launched in the impoverished country by authorities in a bid to reduce the loss of crops eaten by rats....full story from ABC News (AU)

Go shopping at Italian supermarket to win a job: A supermarket chain in the wealthy northern Italian area of Varese is offering the ultimate lottery prize in a time of crisis - a job for a year.

Grocery chain Tigros, which has more than 50 shops, has been running a lottery for customers spending at least €30 (NZ$60 - US$43) in their purchases, putting up 10 jobs as the big prizes.

Shoppers have been casting tickets in boxes in the stores in the past month and the winners will be picked on Thursday....full story from

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