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Oddities News Archive - November 28, 2008

A Minnesota man just released from a detox center stole an undercover deputy's car for the trip home, the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department alleges. Christopher Wayne Schwarz, 20, was re-arrested after a chase that lasted less than half an hour, the Brainerd Dispatch reported Thursday.

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A beloved pet turkey may have ended up on a thief's Thanksgiving table, a grief-stricken North Carolina family says.

The struggles associated with a credit crunch have been suffered by other societies in history -- just look at the Roman republic, a British historian says. Oxford University historian Phillip Kay said the first-ever recorded credit crunch took place in 88 B.C., when a civil war decimated the Roman economy and credit system, The Guardian (Britain) said Friday. Kay noted comparisons between the current credit crunch facing Britain and other parts of the world and such historical struggles. The essential similarity between what happened 21 centuries ago and what is happening in today's U.K.

The British Ministry of Justice said criminals sentenced to perform community service will be required to wear identifying orange bibs starting Monday. Officials said the high visibility bibs, which will be required for convicts performing physical labor, will bear the words community payback on the front and back to make clear to the public that they are performing court-ordered service hours, The Times of London reported Friday. We will be launching the jackets on Monday.

The daughter of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco says the Fascist leader was afraid he would be kidnapped by Adolf Hitler to bring Spain into World War II. Carmen Franco Polo, 82, said in her book, Franco, My Father, that the dictator nominated three possible successors before meeting with Hitler in 1940 because he feared that his refusal to join the Axis forces in World War II could lead the Nazi regime to kidnap him, The Daily Telegraph reported Monday. Hitler was all powerful and could think, 'This damned Spanish general, I will take him down' and convince the others better, Polo wrote in her book, which was released Friday in Spain.

Officials say a Swedish couple found a child's balloon that was released nearly a year ago in Britain, meaning the balloon had traveled 932 miles. Jacqui Illingworth of the Old Clee Children's Center in the British town of Grimsby said the balloon found in Sweden was originally released on Nov.

Britain's General Teaching Council was told a primary school headmaster was suspended after he allegedly referred to female teaching staff as his harem. The council was told during the hearing that Malcolm Beresford, 52, was suspended as headmaster of the Willoughton Primary School in Gainsborough, England, in November 2005 for alleged unacceptable professional misconduct, including referring to a female staff member as his lover and giving a school governor the nickname posh pants, The Daily Mail reported Friday. Beresford, who began working for the school in 1996, also was alleged to have made a payment of about $4,500 in school funds for his wife, the head of IT at the school, to take a Web site design course without making the required deductions for school resource use. Officials also accused Beresford of keeping school computer equipment at his home without giving a reason to district administrators, leaving classes under the control of teaching assistants and failing to provide

One of the stars of a cigar-rolling demonstration Friday in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia was a cigar measuring nearly 22 inches in length, an expert says. Cigar-rolling expert Virginia Viga Cansino said longer cigars, such as the one featured at the event in the cigar bar Habana, offer smokers extended smoking pleasure compared with ordinary cigars, the Sofia News Agency said. Most cigar smokers say that they feel great disappointment when their cigar is gone just in the middle of a friendly conversation.

A British obstetrician is routinely being flown more than 11,800 miles to the Australian state of New South Wales due to a doctor shortage, an activist says. What Women Want founder Justine Caines said rather than waste money on flying Dr.

A British court has sentenced a woman who cut a fellow train passenger's face with her stiletto high heel to community service. Laura Cook, 29, admitted in London's Southwark Crown Court to a charge of causing actual bodily harm after she was accused of kicking Ian Garven in the face, causing him to require stitches to close a wound that prosecutors said left a scar, The Daily Mail reported Friday. Cook and her boyfriend, Nicholas Rogers, 31, had been arguing with Garven after he asked Rogers to take his feet off of a seat on the train from London to Southend, England, on Feb.

Word of the Day
caparison
  • A cloth or covering, more or less ornamented, laid over the saddle or furniture of a horse, especially of a sumpter-horse or horse of state.
  • Clothing, especially sumptuous clothing; equipment; outfit.
  • To cover with a caparison, as a horse.
  • To dress sumptuously; adorn with rich dress.
This word ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin 'cappa,' cloak.
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