Odd News Archive - January 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.


January 31, 2006

Vandals Invited to Damage Subways: Amsterdam authoriities have dared vandals to damage the city's new underground trains. City councillor Mark van der Horst said: "We want to make sure our new trains for the city's underground are completely idiot-proof, and will see if the prototype can withstand vandalism before producing more of them."
Full story→(NEWS.com.au)


Klutz Demolishes Priceless Chinese Vases: Last week at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England, a visitor tripped over his shoelace, fell down a flight of stairs, and crashed into a collection of centuries old Chinese vases. There were no survivors....except the klutz. Shocked but undaunted, the museum staff has vowed to glue the vases back together again. The unidentified visitor was able to leave the museum under his own power.
Full story→(Reuters)


January 30, 2006

European 4x4s Targets of Vigilantes: Eco-vigilantes in three European countries have targeted urban four wheel drive vehicles and are litterally letting the air out of the tires. The activists compete for who can deflate the most tires in a night. In December, fourteen Belgians flattened tires on 137 cars. The number of gas-guzzling high emission 4x4s in Europe has more than doubled since 1998. The vandals are polite, however, and leave a note on the window warning the owner that the tires are flat. The vigilantes are active in France, Belgium and Holland.
Full story→(The Australian)


Cingular Files Application to Patent "Smileys": US cellular network giant Cingular has applied to patent emoticons. The application applies to smiley usage over a wireless network. Although it uses the word "emoticon", the application doesn't acknowledge that mutant punctuation has been livening up online communications since at least 1961. Smileys included are:

) Smile ;-) or ;) Wink :-D or :D Big smile :-)) or :)) Very happy :0) Big nose smiley |-) Cool! >:-) or >:) Evil grin >;-> or >;> Evil grin with a wink :-X or :X My lips are sealed }:-) or }:) Devilish :-{circumflex over ( )}) or :{circumflex over ( )}) Tongue in cheek :-P or :P Sticking out tongue :-& or :& Tongue tied :op Puppy face 0:-) or 0:) Saint :-)8 or :)8 Happy wearing a bow tie 8-) or 8) Happy with glasses #-) I partied all night %-) or %) Drunk :-###.. or :###.. Being sick %-( or %( Confused :-0 or :0 Shocked :-o or :o Surprised :-| or :| Indecision :'-( or :'( Crying :'-) or :') Crying of happiness :-( or :( Sad

The above list was taken directly from the patent application. ....maybe cell phones do cause brain damage. ....to Cingular executives in paticular.
Full Story→(The Register)


January 29, 2006

Braces New Teen Fad in Thailand: Being a tinsel-toothed teen is the latest rage in Thailand. Thai teenagers are wearing braces not for their orthodontic value but for their looks. Stores offer teens do-it-yourself kits rather then getting fitted the old fashioned way, allowing the wannabe metal mouths to select colored rubber bands to match their moods or outfits. As a matter of fact, a black market has sprung up to satisfy the demand. Local lawmen say they are going to punish those selling the bootleg braces with stiff fine and/or jail time.
Full story&Pics→(Fox News)


January 28, 2006

Beer Pouring Robots: Wife or girlfriend complain about getting you a beer? Well, there's a high-tech solution. Asashi Breweries, Ltd., of Japan is giving away 5,000 fully stocked refrigerator robots to applicants selected by a lottery drawing. The beerbots can chill six beers along with two mugs and actually pour a beer into a mug with a perfect head every time. To win one, contestants must collect 36 seals found on specially marked Asahi beers (Asahi is only running this promotion in Japan). ....not quite R2D2 but getting closer.
Full story&Pics→(OhGizmo!)


January 27, 2006

New Cure for Stage Fright: Have a dreaded company meeting or other tension-filled situation requiring that you make a speech or presentation in front of an audience? Well, forget the fifth of whisky or valium. According to Stuart Brody, a psychologist at Scotland's University of Paisley, the best remedy is full fledged sex beforehand. Brody studied nearly fifty men and women over a two week period and determined that those who indulged in the full monty (not White House intern stuff or the hand) were the least stressed and had blood pressure levels that returned to normal more quickly. Brody theorizes the release of the "pair bonding" hormone oxytocin might be a factor.
Full story→(The Register)


January 26, 2006

Real Rocket Bike: Seems to be a good year for toys for big boys. Today's contestant is a rocket bicycle that will go from 0-60 mph in five seconds. Designed by Tim Pickens, president of rocket-design firm Orion Propulsion, the two wheeled bullet is powered by a 200-pound-thrust engine and fast enough to beat a Porsche in a drag race. Where do you get fuel for one these babies you ask? Well, if you happen to live near a Home Depot or Lowes you're in luck, as the rocket bike uses roofing tar for propellant. Popular Science pegs the cost of this talk of the neighborhood item at a mere $700US, a tad cheaper than the flying scooter mentioned here on January 15.
Full story&Pic→(Popular Science)


January 25, 2006

Beachgoers Find Bonanza: An Australian couple found a strange lump on the beach, left it, and picked it up two weeks later after the wife became curious. After hitting dead ends trying to identify it on the Internet, the Wrights took the rock to local marine ecologist Ken Jury for help. He identified the 14.75kg (32.5lb\] ) stone as ambergris, a natural excrement of whales. After the soft, foul-smelling waste matter has floated in the ocean for a few years it tranforms into a lump of sweet smelling compact rock, which is used to make perfume. The substance, worth up to $20 a gram, could net the Wright family close to US$295,000 (£165,300).
Full story→(BBC)


January 24, 2006

Amsterdam Hosting Hemp Fair: The International Highlife Hemp Fair is in full swing in Amsterdam, complete with scantily clad models, glossy brochures and, of course, samples. The models, instead of just looking pretty, explain the intricacies of hydroponics culture such as the "iGrow-box Intensive Irrigation System" while exhibitors show off their smoking accessories. The organizer of the fair, Andre Beckers, said he was expecting 15,000 to 20,000 visitors. Beckers added that he has hosted celebrities such as 50 Cent and Eminem in his Amsterdam coffee shops. Dutch "coffee shops" are allowed to sell small amounts of marijuana, while growing and distribution of pot is still illegal in the Netherlands.
Full story→(Reuters)


January 23, 2006

French Not Good Lovers Either: A study by a group of French sexologists has determined the perception that France is a land of sexual fulfilment not to be true. In an article published in January's Journal of Sexual Medicine researchers found that almost half of French people living alone (49.5 per cent) could not care less if they went without sex for months on end; 23 per cent said they would be "relieved" not to have sex for several months. Half the population did not associate sex with pleasure. A paltry 5.6 per cent of men (and 8 per cent of women) expressed satisfaction with their sex lives.
Full story→(The Australian: The Sunday Times)


Beauty School Students Give Robber "Makeover": Armed with curling irons, a table leg and blow dryers beauty school students in Shreveport, Lousiana fought off an armed robber last June. Jared Gipson was found guilty of armed robbery in court on January 11. During the robbery attempt at Blaylock's Beauty College he held a gun to one person's head and ordered everyone in the school to lie down. As Gipson was stuffing money in a bag one student tripped him and others then dove on him, beating him with the tools of their trade, prosecutors said. The beating left him with 21 lacerations, some of which required stitches.
Full story→(Fox News)


January 22, 2006

Digital TV Decoder Box Sends out SOS: In the early hours of January 5 an oribiting satelite picked up an emergency signal from Portsmouth, England. The SOS was relayed to the Royal Air Forces's Aeronautical Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Kinloss, Scotland, which notified the English Coast Guard. A helicopter was then dispatched to Portsmouth harbor where it spent two fruitless hours searching for a stricken vessel or plane. RAF spokesman Michael Mulford said "We checked with (British telecoms watchdog) Ofcom and they quickly established it was coming from a household. It turned out to be a faulty 'freeview' box." (A freeview box decodes digital broadcast signals for older TVs.) An Ofcom spokesman said that digital boxes should only receive and not send signals and that and that "the odds of a digibox sending out a 121.5 signal must be astronomical." He also added that "The householder was happy to hand it over to our engineers who are trying to get to the bottom of the defect." ....probably more that happy to hand over the box after having who knows how many people show up on their doorstep in the wee hours of the morning.
Full story→(Herald Sun)


January 21, 2006

Sex.com Sells for $14 million: The sale of the world's most valuable domain name is just the latest installment in a saga that dates back over a decade. In May 1994, Gary Kremen registered sex.com, then in October 1995 lifelong con-man Stephen Cohen stole the name out from under him. Cohen was able to hang on to the name for 5 years, using the money that the website generated to battle Kremen's attempts to regain control of it. Eventually Kremen won the case and $65 million in damages. Cohen then fled to Mexico in 2001 without paying up and was finally arrested in Tijuana in October. The con-artist has remained in jail because he refuses to give authorities any information about the off-shore bank accounts where he has stashed millions, claiming that he has memory problems due to a stroke he suffered while being a fugitive from justice. Meanwhile Gary Kremen has managed to seize ownership of Cohen's mansion in the exclusive San Diego district of Rancho Santa. Kremen sold Sex.com to Escom for $14m on Wednesday (18Jan).
Full story→(The Register)


January 20, 2006

Texas Man Drives into Hospital: Glenn Edward Whittington of Waxahachie, TX, was in a hurry to "see a doctor" and drove his Suburban through a wall and into the outpatient lobby of Baylor Medical Center in the Dallas suburb of Garland. The 52 year-old man was then admitted with minor injuries and listed in good condition. Hospital spokeswoman Sheryl Sullivan said no staff or patients were injured during the hospital's conversion to a drive-through. Gulliston evidently did not want to spend time filling out paperwork and then wait to see a doctor. Waxahachie Police Deputy Chief Brett Colston said that Gulliston told officers that he'd checked to be sure no one was inside the waiting area before driving in.
Full story→(Fox News)


January 19, 2006

Woman Sues for Breach of "Contract": An English woman has won a judgement against a man for failure to fulfill a contract, a contact to end her life. Kevin Reeves, 40, swindled a total of £20,000 ($35,189US) from Christine Ryder, 53, who asked him to track down a hit man to help her end it all. The two met in 2003 while recieving mental health treatment (who'd a thought?) at Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, Kent, England. The British court sentenced Reeves to 15 months in jail and ordered him to pay £2,000 ($3,519US) he had saved up to pay Ms Ryder back. Judge Veronica Hammerton said: "This was a calculated deception, repeated three times... In all the circumstances, these offences are so serious that a custodial sentence is unavoidable."
Full story→(The Register)


January 18, 2006

Stolen Corvette Recovered after 37 Years: Alan Poster got the surprise of his life when he was informed that his 1968 Corvette, which had been stolen January 22, 1969 in New York City, had been recovered. US Department of Homeland Security spokesman Mike Fleming said that the car was identified as stolen as it was being loaded on to a container ship bound for Sweden last November. It took law enforcement officials some time to track Alan down. Ironically he now lives in California where the car was recovered. When the car was stolen in 1969 Mr. Poster was newly divorced and his insurance did not cover the theft, therefore he is entitled to get it back. He bought the car for $6,000US in 1968.
Full story→(The Australian: Reuters)


January 17, 2006

Parrot "Squawks" on Unfaithful Wife: Ziggy, an an eight-year-old African grey parrot probably had no clue that he exposed his owner's wife for having an illicit affair. The parrot spilled the beans while the couple was cozied up on Christmas Eve when it said "Hiya, Gary". Unfortunately, the feathery friends owner's name is Chris. At this point his wife Suzy fessed up to a four month fling with a former co-worker named Gary, and left. Chris has only seen her once since when she stopped by to pick her things. He also gave away the parrot because it wouldn't stop saying his wife's lover's name. Ms. Collins told newspapers she was not proud of her actions but admitted she never liked Ziggy in the first place. ...talk about a punk Christmas!
Full story→(The Australian: AFP)


January 16, 2006

Sultry Voiced Woman Tantalizing Train Riders: An unknown woman in Melbourne, Australia, has been broadcasting rather graphic messages over the PA systems on commuter trains. The "seductress" explains in great detail to the passengers how she's going to make love the train driver. To date the pervy prankster has struck twice, causing quite a stir in the Transit Safety Division. Authorities speculate that the sexy siren utilizes the PA system in empty cars to transmit her saucy speeches. Ticket inspectors are now on the lookout for the woman while officers scan CCTV footage from stations for clues.
Full story→(Fox News)

Note from Webjockey: 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.


January 15, 2006

Ultralight Flying Scooter: Remember that James Bond movie where the bad guy slips away from 007 by turning his car into an airplane? A California company is now selling something along those lines for normal everyday folk. For $3,975-US you can buy a kit to turn a Honda Ruckus scooter into a motorized hang-glider, no pilot's license required. There's just one catch: The maximum pilot weight should be under 210 pounds. The Honda scooter is not included with the kit, but there is a package available including the scooter if you pick it up the company's Torrance, California headquarters. The company also offers ground school lessons with safety, assembly, maintenance and operation instruction along with flight training.
Check it out at: www.ultralightflyingscooter.com


January 14, 2006

Vampire to Run for Governor of Minnesota: The state that elected a former professional wrestler governor now has a self-proclaimed vampire considering the same post himself. Jonathan "The Impaler" Sharkey is planning to announce his bid for Governor of Minnesota on the Vampyres, Witches and Pagans Party ticket. One of his campaign promises is to personally execute murderers and child molestors by impaling them on a wooden pole in front of the State Capitol. Sharkey says that he is a vampire just like in the movies and his wife is his "donor". ...talk about bloodthirsty politicians!
Full story→(The Australian: Reuters)


January 13, 2006

Fluorescent Green Pigs: Researchers in Taiwan have come up with a new party novelty tool to study human diseases, a transgenic pig. Scientists at National Taiwan University say that the pigs are green inside and out. Even their hearts and internal organs are green. This would help researchers track genetic material and aid in studying human disease because it's "easy to spot". For example, if some of the pigs' stem cells are "injected into another animal, scientists can track how the stem cells develop without the need for a biopsy or invasive test". The pigs get their coloring by an injection of fluorescent green protein into pig embryos.
Full story →(The Register)


January 12, 2006

21 Year-Old College Student Makes $1 Million USD from Single Web Page: Think the days of making a fortune quickly with a small investment are long gone? Not so. Last summer Alex Tew was broke and needed college tuition. In August the lad from small-town Wiltshire, England, hatched the idea of creating an Internet Web page out of one million pixels and then selling them off for one dollar each to advertisers (i.e. the favicon icon with the website's logo in the URL address field is 16x16 pixels). At precisely 1:42:28 p.m. EST January 11, Alex's "Milion Dollar Homepage" topped the one million dollar mark after a mere five months. Total start-up cost for the page was only $100USD. ...wonder if Alex stayed in school.
Full story & Pic→(Washington Post) NOTE: You may have to register to read the story.


January 11, 2006

Man Gets Stuck in Washing Machine: An Australia man has now changed the rules for playing hide-and-seek with the children after a bizarre "accident". Robin Toom, 30, of Townsville, Queensland, tried to hide in the washing machine while playing with the kids at his sister's house and became stuck. Local fireman Dave Dillon thought that just the man's hand had gotten stuck when he first got the phone call. Upon arriving Dillon was able to free Robin's wedged foot and get him out. ...perhaps video games would be safer.
Full story & Pic→(NEWS.com.au)


January 10, 2006

"Mighty" Mouse Burns Down House: A Ft. Sumner, NM, man caught a mouse in his house and and then tried to cremate it outside on a pile of burning leaves. The flaming mouse then ran back into his house and caught it on fire. Luciano Mares, 81, is now homeless. Juan Chavez, the village's Fire Chief, said the burning mouse ran directly under a window and the flames spread upward from there. The ensuing fire totally destroyed his home and everything in it. Jim Lyssy, village's Fire Department Captain, said "I've seen numerous house fires, but nothing as unique as this one."
Full story→(NEWS.com.au: AP)


January 9, 2006

Sushi Served on Bodies of Nude Models: Gary Arabia, famous Hollywood caterer and restaurant owner, has masterminded a new sushi experience. An array of sushi is placed on tea leaves and then served on the body of a beautiful model. For the meal, known as Arabia's Body Sushi, diners are seated on the floor around the woman and use her body as a table. The sushi laced tea leaves being placed in strategic places, of course. Body Chocolate is available for dessert.
Full story & pic→(Netscape News)


January 8, 2006

Artist Has Long "Hop" Home: A Southern California artist trekked 5 miles into the desert North of Baker, CA, to camp out and draw a self-portrait of himself with his legs chained together. Upon finishing the drawing Trevor Corneliusien, 26, discovered that he did not have the key to unlock the tightly wound chain's lock. Trevor then hopped for 12 hours to the nearest gas station to get help. Paramedics and Sheriff's deputies with bolt cutters then arrived to free him. The artist suffered bruises but was in good health otherwise. The drawing survived the trip also.
Full story→(Herald Sun: AP)


January 7, 2006

"Live" Advertisements at the Movies: Picture this: You've just sat down to watch the latest blockbuster movie. The pre-movie ads and trailers are showing and all of a sudden a catfight erupts between two women in front of the screen. The women are fighting about free airline tickets. Meanwhile, back on the screen, an advertisement for Air New Zealand is showing. Coincidence? No way. This new form of advertising has already been tested in the UK and Australia. Creative agency Live Works director Justin McLean said "It allows the consumer to connect in an entertaining way with the brand." Mark Street, Air New Zealand's Australian marketing manager, said "With so much competition for airfares today we're hopeful this fresh take on cinema advertising will give us an edge and point of difference in reaching consumers." ...Coming Soon to a Screen Near You...
Full story→(The Australian)


January 6, 2006

Mooning Legal in Maryland: Raymond Hugh McNealy has been aquitted of indecent exposure after appealing an earlier verdict of guilty in a lower court. Judge John W. Debelius III said that while the actions of McNealy, 44, were totally disgusting, that the act was not illegal under Maryland law. Prior case law stipulates that indecent exposure is limited to a person's genital area. The alleged "mooning" was apparently triggered by a neighborhood dispute. James Maxwell, one of McNealy's attorneys, told The Washington Post the ruling should "bring comfort to all beachgoers and plumbers" in Maryland. ...and I thought Missouri was the "Show-me state".
Full story→(Fox News)


January 5, 2006

Man Blows off Finger in Bathroom: A 21 year-old Canadian man must have had a severe hangover on New Year's Day. If so it only got worse after he accidentally shot himself while using the bathroom. The Vancouver man was playing with a gun while relieving himself when it discharged and blew off one of his fingers. He now faces numerous weapons charges according to Royal Canadian Mounted Police, not to mention a missing digit. ....Happy New Year!
Full story→(The Australian: Reuters)

Large Company Telephone Runaround Solutions: Ever get tired of those automated answering systems when calling your bank, finance company, insurance company, etc.? If so, read on. Paul English has created a website that reveals the tricks for bypassing the electronic menaces and talking to a real human being at many institutions and companies. It currently lists companies in the US & UK: (IVR Cheat Sheet)


January 4, 2006

Driverless Car Hits Tree at 100MPH: A 29 year-old Paw Paw, Michigan man had a bright idea when his car got stuck in the mud. He used a metal toolbox to weight the gas pedal down while he got out to push. It was one of those ideas that worked a little too well, however. His car became unstuck and sped off without him over a muddy bean field at speeds up to 100 mph. According to local WWMT News, the vehicle became airborne several times on its half-mile driverless journey that ended abruptly when it crashed into a tree. Deputies did not issue the man a ticket as no one was injured. ...imagine explaining that one to your insurance company.
Full story→(Fox News)


January 3, 2006

Ultimate Airline Stowaway: An Air Austral airliner en route from France to Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean landed with an extra passenger. After the flight had been airborne for five hours a stewardess noticed that a woman had been in the toilet for a long time. Upon checking, the attendant discovered that the woman was in labor. A doctor on board helped to deliver the baby, named Elfayed. The mother was not visibly pregnant or would not have been allowed to take the flight. Expectant mothers over 7 months are not usually allowed on the airline. Mother and baby are fine and now in a hospital in Saint Dennis. ...kinda leaves place of birth "up in the air".
Full story→(Herald-Sun)


January 1, 2006

Hangover Cure Directory: Head throbbing? Upset stomach? Feeling close to death? We have just the website for you! The Hangover Directory has the most popular hangover cures and home remedies, and if you happen to catch this in time (or next time) also tells you how to avoid hangovers by avoiding dehydration. Learn from The allnighter pros with free, easy to read articles on how to stay hydrated, having fun and headache free!
Check it out here→(Hangover Directory)


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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