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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Oddities News Archive - December 17, 2008

A Dutch dictionary company says Web visitors have voted swaffelen -- an English slang verb meaning to swing one's exposed penis -- as the word of the year. Van Dale Publishers said swaffelen, which more specifically requires the penis in question to swing toward or bump against another person or object to qualify, topped the list of nominees by receiving 57 percent of the 16,000 online votes, Expatica reported Tuesday. Lexicologist Ton den Boon said that while the word originated in English-speaking areas, its origins are believed to be tied to Dutch translations of swing, sway and sweep plus German words for tail and penis. The dictionary company said the second-place finisher for word of the year was wiien -- to play video games on the Nintendo Wii.

Police and wildlife officials said they were scrambling to catch or kill a 4-foot iguana spotted in a Honolulu neighborhood. Authorities said the invasive reptile, which is illegal to keep in Hawaii, was first reported by resident Marc Inouye, who said he saw the green beast sunning itself in an area with tropical rain forest-type conditions, KITV in Honolulu reported Wednesday. I was shocked, shocked.

A woman angry about the prospect of losing her job as a gatekeeper at a railroad crossing blocked traffic on Ireland's busiest rail line Tuesday. Anne Flavin said she was angry because Iarnrod Eireann, the national rail company, had sent contractors to work on the crossing while she is still in negotiations over her job and house in Kyle, County Tipperary, The Irish Independent reported.

A Nevada woman who returned from a California trip with 27 dogs scheduled to die said she found new homes for 20 of them in just one day. Colleen Spalioni said she traveled to Delano, Calif., to adopt only one dog from police but instead ended up taking home 27 that were scheduled for euthanasia, the Reno (Nev.) Gazette Journal reported Wednesday.

An Iraq war veteran serving as a Massachusetts firefighter says he has been ordered to repaint the red, white and blue helmet he wore to show my patriotism.. Richard Busa, 32, said he has worn the helmet with the U.S. flag color scheme on emergency calls for more than three years.

A New York Santa Claus said the city sent him a summons for double-parking while handing out gifts to children. Santa, known on non-Christmas-related occasions as Chip Cafiero, 60, said he was riding a horse-drawn carriage while handing out toys in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of New York's Brooklyn borough when he saw a traffic agent heading for the Chevy Suburban that was driving alongside him to protect the horse from traffic, the New York Daily News reported Wednesday. I saw this (traffic agent) jump out of her car and I said to one of my elves, 'She's going to give me a ticket,' said Cafiero said.

A California family has started the campaign of their preferred candidate to replace Illinois Gov.