Oddities News Archive - November 26, 2008

British security experts have ordered the removal of an electric samovar presented to Queen Elizabeth II 20 years ago and kept at Balmoral Castle. The fear is that the samovar, designed to make Russian-style tea, might have been bugged, The Daily Telegraph reports.

A Florida university has annoyed many of its employees and students by ordering a complete ban on Christmas decorations in public areas. That means Florida Gulf Coast University is not holding its greeting card contest this year, the Fort Myers News-Press reported.

Police in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said a slick thief used lubricant to slip an expensive ring from an elderly woman's finger after hitting the back of her car. Investigators said the suspect, who wore gloves coated in a Vaseline-like lubricant, was traveling with another man in a silver Ford F-150 pickup truck when the vehicle bumped the rear of a car belonging to Helen Artim, 80, as the two vehicles approached a traffic light, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Wednesday. The police report said the two men instructed Artim to follow them to a parking lot, where the man wearing the gloves told the elderly woman to check her trunk for damage.

A Batavia, Ill., woman whose divorce was finalized last week said she believes her ex-husband stole half of her bed. The woman told Kane County sheriff's police that she returned to her house after a weekend away and found a twin bed that comprised half of her king-sized bed and some electronics missing, the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday. Investigators said the woman told them she believed her ex-husband and his girlfriend were in her home while she was away. Police found a note at the house that read: I win! We took the bed we made love in.

A 5-year-old shopping with her mom at a Wichita, Kan., Goodwill store discovered an envelope containing $7,000 on the floor of the thrift store, Goodwill said. Gayle Goetz with Goodwill Industries said Claire Dingler, 5, handed the envelope to her mother, Ginger Johnson, after seeing lots and lots of

The parents of a student at a Kennesaw, Ga., high school said their son was suspended after teachers claimed he doodled a gang symbol on an assignment. Devon Chalmers said his son, North Cobb High School sophomore Brandon Field, was suspended for three days last week after he turned in an assignment covered in doodled shapes, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday. Chalmers said administrators identified one of the shapes, a six-pointed star with a vertical line at the bottom, as a symbol associated with the Folk Nation gang. However, the father said his son is not involved in any gang activities and he believes the boy is being singled out. We keep up with my son very well, Chalmers said.

Zookeepers in Kushiro, Japan, said they have discovered the problem preventing their pair of polar bears from mating -- the animals are both female. The zookeepers said the Kushiro municipal zoo obtained a polar bear named Tsuyoshi three years ago as a cub and officials said they were baffled when the bear refused to mate with the zoo's 11-year-old female, Kurumi, after the animals were introduced in June, CNN reported Wednesday. Zoo officials said Tsuyoshi was put under anesthesia earlier in November to determine what was preventing the bear from making advances toward Kurumi.

A Rock Hill, S.C., couple said they were shocked when they pried open their non-working clothes dryer to find a 4-foot snake gumming up the works. Denise and Barry Cubbedge said they were working on the dryer Sunday, one day after it had stopped working, while their young sons, ages 4 and 1, played nearby, The (Rock Hill) Herald reported Wednesday. Barry Cubbedge said he removed the back of the dryer and immediately shouted in surprise and replaced the back when he came face to face with a mean looking snake. Cubbedge said that he couldn't replace the screws, so he re-sealed the dryer using strips of duct tape handed to him by his wife. He took the taped-up dryer out to the garage and shook the appliance until the snake fell out. I don't know how long he was -- I would guess 4 feet or more -- because I never opened him up full length, he said.

Word of the Day
  • A handkerchief.
  • Specifically— The legendary sweat-cloth; the handkerchief of St. Veronica, according to tradition miraculously impressed with the mask of Christ; also, the napkin about Christ's head (Johu xx. 7).
  • In general, any miraculous portrait of Christ.
The word 'sudarium' comes from a Latin word meaning 'a handkerchief'.