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Odd News Archive - Ausgust 2007

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.

August 31, 2007

Chinese monks fume over net slurs: China's Shaolin Temple has demanded a public apology from an Internet user who claimed a Japanese ninja beat its kung fu-practicing monks in a showdown, a lawyer said Friday.

An open letter from the temple posted on the Internet Thursday denied the fight ever took place and called on the person who posted the claim to apologize to the temple's martial arts masters....full story from TCV

August 29, 2007

Spider web engulfs Texas park trail: Entomologists are debating the origin and rarity of a sprawling spider web that blankets several trees, shrubs and the ground along a 200-yard stretch of trail in a North Texas park.

Officials at Lake Tawakoni State Park say the massive mosquito trap is a big attraction for some visitors, while others won't go anywhere near it....full story from TCV and more w/pic from IHT

August 29, 2007

Cops cuff man for burning Burning Man man: A San Francisco performance artist has been arrested on suspicion of torching the Burning Man earlier this week - four days before the scheduled incendiary climax of the Nevada desert love-in, AP reports.

Paul Addis, 35, allegedly set fire to the 40-foot-tall figure at around 3am on Tuesday as festival-goers sat up to enjoy the lunar eclipse. Burning Man spokeswoman Andie Grace said witnesses saw a man "deliberately ignite the figure", adding: "It was in plain sight of many people. Everyone is looking at it this morning, this big black figure in the sky and that wasn't supposed to burn*, saying, 'Now what do we do?....full story from The Register

China slaps ban on reincarnation: China has rather brilliantly declared that, from next month, Tibetan Buddhist monks must have official permission to reincarnate, Newsweek reports.

The new legislation lays down strict guidelines for making a reappearance and is, according to a statement from the State Administration for Religious Affairs, "an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation".The penalty for illicit reincarnation is not noted (100 consecutive life sentences without parole?), but there is method in the Chinese authorities' madness....full story from The Register

Emu roundup at Wal-Mart in Wisconsin: Workers at a Wal-Mart in Wisconsin used shopping carts to corral an emu running around the store's parking lot after escaping from a nearby farm.

A manager then fed the large, flightless bird - named Myron - grapes and apples to calm him down until his owner arrived to take him home....full story from the New York Post

August 28, 2007

Prison-yard pot plagues Japanese lockup: A Japanese prison is scrambling to eradicate marijuana plants that keep sprouting up on its exercise ground, officials said Tuesday.

The marijuana plants started sprouting at Abashiri Prison on Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido about a year ago, said prison official Takeshi Okamura. He said officials plucked out as many as 300 marijuana plants and treated the ground last year, but several more sprouted again this year....full story from TCV

"Junk sleep" damaging teenagers' health: British teenagers are damaging their health by not getting enough sleep because they are distracted by electronic gadgets in their bedrooms, according to a survey on Tuesday.

Advice body The Sleep Council said "junk sleep" could rival the consumption of unhealthy junk food as a major lifestyle issue for parents of teenage children....full story from The Washington Post

August 26, 2007

Golfers angry over mandatory carts: A Long Island woman is boycotting her favorite course. A man in Florida has published a book and filed lawsuits to defend his rights. A former golf executive thinks the game, under these circumstances, shouldn't even be called golf.

"It ought to be called 'cart ball.' It isn't golf," said Sandy Tatum, a bona fide golf purist who once served as president of the U.S. Golf Association and won an NCAA golf championship at Stanford....full story from TCV

Fake money doesn't fool Tennesee strippers: A man who authorities say used his computer to make fake $100 bills to buy lap dances at a strip club has pleaded guilty to counterfeiting charges, federal prosecutors said.

Strippers at Deja Vu in Nashville were suspicious of the bills and called police after Damon Armagost spent $600 of the fake money April 16, authorities said....full story from TCV

Duel in the skies: Major airlines vs. private jets: The summer travel season is building toward its Labor Day peak in the United States, and fliers are growing ever angrier about delays. Now, the beleaguered airline industry is trying to shift the blame onto an unlikely villain: corporate jets, which the airlines claim are literally crowding passenger planes out of the sky.

In what is shaping up as a battle between two of the least popular constituencies out there - airlines and corporate chieftains - the argument over the delays plaguing airports across America this summer is quickly taking a populist turn....full story from IHT

August 25, 2007

Russian offers $600m for 'cool' B-52 bomber: A Wealthy Russian tried to buy a US B-52 bomber from a group of shocked American pilots at an airshow near Moscow, a Russian newspaper reported yesterday.

The unidentified Russian, wearing sunglasses and surrounded by bodyguards, approached the US delegation and asked to buy the bomber, the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper said.

An astounded member of the US delegation said the bomber was not for sale but that it would cost at least $US500 million ($610.54 million) if it were to be sold on the spot....full story from

Running club members face felony charges Two people who sprinkled flour in a parking lot to mark a trail for their offbeat running club inadvertently caused a bioterrorism scare and now face a felony charge.

The sprinkled powder forced hundreds to evacuate an IKEA furniture store in New Haven, Connecticut, Thursday....ful story from TCV

August 24, 2007

Moose found to be eco-killers: They are dubbed the "Kings of the Forest" and are regarded by Norwegians as their national symbol.

Now, though, scientists have calculated that because of their increased burping and farting, the placid moose is an eco-killer.

During a single year, according to the latest research, a full-grown moose expels -- from both ends of its body -- the methane equivalent of 2100kg of carbon dioxide emissions.

That is as destructive for the atmosphere as the emissions released by 13,000km of car travel....full story from The Australian

IBM faces Second Life strike: Ever wanted to go on strike, be part of that feeling of solidarity on the picket line, but felt too cowardly to take the risk? September should see just the opportunity for you.

That is when Rappresentanza Sindacale Unitaria IBM Vimercate (RSU), the official trade union representing IBM's 9,000 workers in Italy, is planning a most novel form of industrial action - a strike on Second Life - and it wants as many avatars as possible manning the picket lines.

Details of what form the industrial action will take in this virtual world are scant at the moment, except that a Union spokesman has hinted that they are hoping Second Life avatars from around the world will participate....full story from The Register

Snake rattles solo pilot in Mississippi: It was no movie moment when a physician, flying himself across Mississippi in a one-seat plane, discovered a stowaway - a gray rat snake.

Dr. Ed Carruth discovered the snake-on-a-plane when it began "licking" his arm Thursday, he told The Daily Leader of Brookhaven.

"I've been flying planes for 50 years and over 14,000 hours, and this is the most unusual in-flight emergency I've encountered," he said....full story from TCV

Youth fined for putting teacher on YouTube: A Finnish court ruled against a 15-year-old student in a libel case on Friday after he posted a clip of his teacher on YouTube, ordering the youth to pay 800 euros (543 pounds) in damages and a 90 euro fine.

The student had filmed his teacher singing at the school party last May and put the clip on YouTube with English subtitles under the headline "Karaoke of the mental hospital....full story from Reuters UK

August 23, 2007

Pet chicken's £1,800 leg amputation: A woman from South Wales has had to take out a bank loan to pay for her pet chicken's leg amputation.

Vicky Mills was determined to save the life of her three-year old pet chicken, Lily after its limb was caught on a barbed wire fence.

When the 24-year-old was told the bird's leg could not be saved, she opted to have it amputated, costing her £1,800....full story from ITN....thanks Sasch

August 22, 2007

Russian woman sets fire to ex-husband's penis: A woman set fire to her ex-husband's penis as he sat naked watching television and drinking vodka, Moscow police said on Wednesday.

Asked if the man would make a full recovery, a police spokeswoman said it was "difficult to predict".

The attack climaxed three years of acrimonious enforced co-habitation....full story from Yahoo UK....thanks Sasch

Tycoon abandons £80k Maserati in London car pound: A tycoon who abondoned his £80k Maserati Cambiocorsa in a London car pound for three months after running up parking and congestion zone fines of £5k told the Evening Standard he was simply "too busy" to collect the supercar.

Seriously hacked-off authorities towed Bertrand Des Pallieres's motor from a Knightsbridge square back in May, and TfL spent three months trying to track down the elusive Parisian. He had attracted no less than 65 congestion charge penalties and "dozens" of parking fines as well as driving the vehicle without road tax....full story from The Register

Gunplay fingered for Internet slowdown:US ISPs were forced to reroute traffic after a stretch of fibre-optic cable was shot to bits in Ohio last Sunday night.

TeliaSonera lost the northern branch of its US network as a result of the sabotage, which damaged a span of fibre optic cable near Cleveland around 1.1km (or two thirds of a mile) long. "Somebody had been shooting with a gun or a shotgun into the cable," Anders Olausson, a TeliaSonera spokesman, told IDG....full story from The Register

Swiss Police nab 20 bikers on 'Cannonball Run': Police in Switzerland have detained 20 foreign motorcyclists caught riding at more than 200km/h in what appeared to be a trans-European "cannonball" bike run.

Two of the bikers forced their way through a police roadblock in southwestern Switzerland but were later caught on the Simplon mountain pass, which leads into Italy, the Valais regional police force said....full story from

August 21, 2007

Spoon drop saves woman from house blast: Dropping something may have saved Joy Horton's life. The 73-year-old woman was preparing some food in her western New York home on Monday morning when she dropped a spoon on the floor of her kitchen. When she bent down, her house exploded.

The explosion leveled her home in the Wayne County town of Sodus, on Lake Ontario about 25 miles east of Rochester....full story from TCV

Man sentenced for armed robbery with sex toy: A robber who held up a British betting shop with his girlfriend's sex toy has been jailed for five years.

Nicki Jex, 27, concealed his partner's "Rampant Rabbit" vibrator in a plastic bag during the raid on a Ladbrokes shop in Leicester, east central England, on December 27 last year.

The city's crown court was told that he pointed the sex aid at a cashier and forced her to hand over more than £600 (AU$1500) in cash....full story from

August 20, 2007

Pet camel kills Australian woman: A woman in Australia has been killed by her pet camel after the animal may have tried to have sex with her.

The woman was found dead at the family's sheep and cattle ranch near the town of Mitchell in Queensland....full story from the BBC....thanks Sasch

Man rides mule from Minnesota to Wyoming: He rode his mule into town looking for work. No, it wasn't the opening scene of a Western movie. It was what Rod Maday did last week, ending a six-week odyssey from his home town of Boy River, Minn. "I've done about 1,500 miles and I've got the saddle sores to prove it," he said.

Maday said he lost his driver's license 10 years ago, accused of a hit and run, and was having a hard time finding work back in Minnesota....full story from the San Jose Mercury News
Wonder if his name is pronounced the same as the universal distress term "mayday"....

Blind golfer gets hole-in-one: Sheila Drummond didn't need to see her hole-in-one. She heard it. Drummond, blinded by diabetes 26 years ago, experienced the highlight of her golfing career Sunday, recording an ace on the 144-yard, par-3 fourth hole at Mahoning Valley Country Club.

Playing with her husband and coach, Keith, and two friends in a steady rain, the 53-year-old Drummond hit a driver on the hole. The shot cleared a water hazard, flew between traps and landed on the green, where it hit the flagstick before dropping into the hole....full story from TCV

Phone company customer put on hold for 20 hours: A customer trying to call British telecoms operator BT Group was left hanging on the telephone for a total of 20 hours.

Hannah King, 51, called BT's help line after an engineer failed to turn up to install a line at her new flat in Wales, The Times reported....full story from

August 18, 2007

Man exchanges missile launcher for shoes: Police were hoping for a good turnout at their "Kicks for Guns" sneaker exchange, but they weren't expecting a surface-to-air missile launcher.

An Ocoee man showed up and exchanged the 4-foot-long launcher for size-3 Reebok sneakers for his daughter, the Orlando Sentinel (Florida) reported Friday....full story from TCV

August 17, 2007

U.S. fishtag winds up in New Zealand bird: Scientists were surprised to find a tag implanted in a fish in the U.S. Pacific Northwest in the gullet of a baby bird near New Zealand.

A seabird expert told the Seattle Times it was "almost impossible to fathom" how the fishtag traveled 7,700 miles -- especially since the "sooty shearwater" chick that extracted the 2005 tag was too young to eat....full story from UPI

August 16, 2007

Italian town offers cash for weight loss:What better incentive than money to drop a few pounds? Gianluca Buonanno, the mayor of Varallo, a town of 7,500 in northern Italy, thinks it might work. The town is offering cash rewards to overweight residents who slim down and more money if they keep the weight off.

"We wanted to encourage people to lose weight, and we thought that both the money and the idea of joining a group could be stimulating," Buonanno said in a telephone interview Thursday....full story from TCV

August 15, 2007

Man Pays Big Tax Bill In Coins, $1 Bills: A landlord said he wanted people to see the pain of his property tax bill when he hauled $12,656.07 in coins and $1 bills to the county treasurer's office.

Cary Malchow said the heavy load left him "out of breath" but it was worth watching three cashiers working overtime and guarded by sheriff's deputies on Monday to count every last cent of the semi-annual payment for his home, business and rental properties....full story from CBS News

Australian Fetus Becomes Newest Facebook Star: It already has its own Facebook page and more than 100 people want to be its friend - but Bubba Waring, described by its mother as "the world's most famous fetus," hasn't actually been born yet.

Sydney couple Claire Gillis and Luke Waring, who are expecting their first child in three months, initially turned to the social networking site to keep their family and friends updated on the pregnancy....full story from Fox News

August 14, 2007

Monkey picks lock, again... A monkey that freed himself two weeks ago from a Mississippi zoo has escaped again, zoo officials said. Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo Manager Kirk Nemecheck and other employees noticed the white-faced capuchin's cage open and lock on the ground around 8:30 a.m. Monday.

Oliver and another capuchin named Baby were found wandering nearby. Workers easily captured Baby, but Oliver fled the park headed in the direction of the Tupelo Country Club, Nemecheck said....full story from TVC

Japanese biker fails to notice missing leg: A Japanese motorcyclist failed to notice his right leg had been severed below the knee in a collision with a motorway central reservation, and he travelled a further 2km before spotting he'd left something behind at the scene, the Guardian reports.

Company worker Kazuo Osada, 54, was on a jaunt with 10 other bikers yesterday when he failed to negotiate a bend. However, he was "unaware his right leg had been severed below the knee apparently because his attention was focused on the strong pain he felt from the crash", according to police....full story from The Register

August 13, 2007

Woman calls police about 'fake' cocaine: A woman was arrested after she called police to help "get her money back" after she was unhappy with the crack cocaine she purchased.

Juanita Marie Jones, 53, called Police in Rochelle, Georgia, late Thursday night after she purchased what she thought was a $20 piece of crack cocaine, according to police reports....full story from TCV

Drinkers with a jogging problem: A group of screaming runners makes its way through the streets of South Beach, Miami, Florida. Restaurant patrons look up from their meals with startled expressions.

These are the Hash House Harriers -- not runners with a drinking problem, but drinkers with a running problem. Or so they say.

Once a week, the hashers partake in a run that is equal parts scavenger hunt, pub crawl and social gathering....full story from the Miami Herald

August 12, 2007

Drunken German joyrider kills 300 chickens: Three hundred chickens died in panic early on Sunday when a drunken German teenager on a joyride crashed a van into their shed, police said.

"Apparently some of the chickens were so desperate to get away that they ran into the wall and died," the spokesman said. "Others suffered heart attacks....full story from msnbc....thanks Sasch

Deceased Malayan hit with $218 trillion mobile bill: What otherworldly ectoplasms lurk in the oblivion of such an unholy place as accounts receivable?

A Malaysian man who paid off a $23 wireless bill and disconnected his late father's cell phone back in January has been stiffed for subsequent charges on the closed account, MSNBC has reported. Telekom Malaysia sent Yahaya Wahab a bill for 806,400,000,000,000.01 ringgit, or about $218 trillion, for charges to the account, along with a demand from the company's debt collection agency that he settle the alleged debt within 10 days, or get a lawyer....full story from The Register

China jails reporter for cardboard dumpling hoax: A Chinese court on Sunday sentenced a television reporter to one year in jail for fabricating a report that Beijing dumpling makers used cardboard as a filling.

The official Xinhua news agency said the journalist, Zi Beijia, was convicted after an open court hearing of "infringing the reputation of commodities". He was also fined 1,000 yuan....full story from Reuters UK

August 11, 2007

Everything's made of ice at Dubai bar: Outside it was a sticky 111 degrees, but Ali Hamdan was shivering under two parkas as he sipped hot chocolate, surrounded by tables and chairs made of ice.

Chillout, its owners say, is the Middle East's first ice lounge - the latest venture in this desert Gulf emirate, which has been transformed by a mania for the biggest, first or most outlandish....full story from TCV

Houston, we have a hotel: Taking luxury to new heights, a space-tourism company yesterday announced it is five years away from opening the world's first orbiting accommodation.

Swanky sci-fi suites in the pod-like hotel cost a budget-busting $4 million for three nights - but the hefty price tag does include eight-week training program in a tropical paradise....full story from the New York Post

Wienermobile busted again: Not even a giant hot dog can escape the long arm of the law.

One of the Oscar Mayer 27-foot-long Wienermobiles was parked illegally on Michigan Avenue, a major thoroughfare, and got hit with a $50 ticket....full story from the New York Post....Previous bust details here.

August 10, 2007

Stanford team makes cut in robot car competition: The Stanford Racing Team will get to defend its robotic vehicle title.

It was one of two teams with Bay Area connections named among 36 semifinalists Thursday for the defense department's robotic vehicle race later this year....full story from

August 9, 2007

Policemen banned from wearing cowboy boots in Florida town: They're fine for driving cattle, but not police cars.

A Trenton, Fla., cop crashed his cruiser into a convenience store when his cowboy boot slipped off the brake pedal....full story from the New York Post

August 8, 2007

National Underwear Day a flop: National Underwear Day was nothing but a panty waste for New Yorkers yesterday - many admitted that they don't wear any.

"I go commando so there's no lines - even thongs leave lines," 20-year-old student Ashley Leveling boldly declared in Times Square, steps away from a bevy of models from Freshpair wearing nothing but their underwear to promote designer duds....full story from the New York Post

Australian warplanes accidently target car with lasers: It was not quite a Star Wars death ray, but Australian air force Top Guns accidentally focused high-powered lasers on to a civilian car in May this year - potentially endangering the eyesight of peaceful earthlings.

RAAF F/A-18 fighters from the Williamtown base north of Newcastle were conducting exercises near the New South Wales mid-north coast town of Forster when the incident happened....full story from

August 7, 2007

Ex-wife's ashes sold in rummage sale: A large ceramic turtle containing a woman's ashes has been recovered after it was accidentally sold for 50 cents at a rummage sale.

When Anita Lewis of Elmira, New York, sold the turtle Saturday to a woman with plans to use it as a cookie jar, she didn't know it held the ashes of her husband's late wife....full story from TCV

August 6, 2007

German beer lovers rescued: German Federal police said Monday that the beer tap failed aboard a special train carrying Bayer Leverkusen fans to Hamburg on Saturday. The fault was discovered half an hour into the journey.

"In order not to endanger the good mood" of the passengers, railway officials halted the train in Wuppertal for 25 minutes and had a replacement part delivered by taxi, a police statement said. It added that there was no trouble among the fans....full story from TCV

August 5, 2007

Army Corps dumps old bombs, charges town: The US Army Corps of Engineers, which accidentally dumped sand filled with old military ordnance on Surf City, New Jersey's beach, now wants the town to help pay to remove it.

Local officials are angered by the suggestion that they should help foot the bill for a federal goof that already has cost the town an unknown amount of tourism business....full story from TCV

Indian thief force-fed to recover booty: An Indian suspect was forced by police to eat 50 bananas as a laxative, to retrieve a necklace he was accused of stealing and swallowing.

When the bananas failed to produce the desired effect, police fed Sheikh Mohsin rice, chicken and local bread....full story from the BBC

August 4, 2007

Italian judge approves use of infidelity "bugs": People having an affair in Italy would be well-advised not to use their cars for illicit assignations.

An Italian judge ruled yesterday that wives or husbands who suspect marital infidelity are entitled under the law to bug their spouse's car in the search for incriminating evidence.

The ruling arose in Brescia, northern Italy, where a private detective agency specialising in infidelity cases offered to plant hidden microphones and satellite tracking devices "in a couple of hours" in the cars of suspected spouses, at a cost of up to €1500 ($2400)....full story from The Australian

August 3, 2007

No more allowance for 61-year-old son: A 61-year-old man from Caltagirone, Italy, turned up at the local police station with his 81-year-old mother after she cut off his weekly allowance.

The man's mother also took his house keys away after he did not come home when he was supposed to and did not tell her where he was going when he went out, ANSA reported Thursday....full story from UPI

32,000 quarters leak onto Wisconsin roads: Imagine the ringing noise of 32,000 quarters hitting the pavement.

An armored car company reported losing $8,000 in quarters along highways in two Wisconsin counties last month. About half has been returned.

"I guess somebody found that and figured it was an early Christmas," Jefferson County Detective Sgt. Lawrence Lee said....full story from TCV

August 1, 2007

Surfing for porn and getting paid: Gene Toye gets paid to surf every site that you're not allowed to look at when working.

An analyst for St. Bernard Software, a maker of messaging security products, Toye evaluates and categorizes Web sites. "My friends think it's a crazy job," he says. "Everyone thinks all I do is look for porn all day. They call me 'Porn Guy'....full story from The Washington Post

South Korea to put microchips in whisky: What's the best way to tell if you're being given bootleg whisky? Ask your mobile phone, of course. At least, it is if you're in South Korea.

The Korea Times last week reported that the South Korean government intends to crack down on fraudulent whisky sales by making producers put Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) chips in premium bottles....full story from The Register

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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