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Oddities News Archive - December 13, 2008

Police in Alabama say that the person who removed 22 tree boa snakes from a garden shed was simply concerned about the welfare of the reptiles. Jacob Brooks of Prallville, Ala., filed a theft report when he returned home and found his pets missing, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.

Washington's latest effort at birth control for the ginkgo tree appears to have backfired, leaving the U.S. capital deep in stinky fruit, officials said. The city this year had 1,000 of the trees injected with a chemical that was supposed to halt reproduction, The Washington Post reported.

A 72-year-old Briton taking part in a Santa Claus holiday gift-delivering event alleges he was attacked for caroling too loudly. Glen MacDonald alleged he and several other Tunbridge Wells Lions Club carolers were approached by an unidentified man, who suddenly attacked the senior citizen and broke his chest bone, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday. This man came out shouting and swearing for us to be quiet and stop singing carols because we were too loud, he alleged.

Word of the Day
callithump
  • A somewhat riotous parade, accompanied with the blowing of tin horns, and other discordant noises; also, a burlesque serenade; a charivari.
'Callithump' is a back-formation of 'callithumpian,' a 'fanciful formation' according to the Oxford English Dictionary. However, the English Dialect Dictionary, says 'Gallithumpians' is a Dorset and Devon word from the 1790s that refers to 'a society of radical social reformers' or 'noisy disturbers of elections and meetings.'
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