Oddities News Archive - December 22, 2008

Some teenage drivers in Maryland are covering their car license plates with numbers belonging to teachers and others to fake out traffic cameras, a parent says. The DailyTech Web site reported Monday the unidentified parent told the Montgomery County Sentinel a few young drivers in the county print authentic-looking numbers on glossy paper and tape them over their plates.

Police in the British city of Norwich say they are seeking several men who allegedly fought with other men while dressed as Father Christmas. An unidentified police spokesman said two men were forced to seek medical care and another man was in custody following last weekend's alleged clash, The Daily Telegraph reported Monday. The incident involved two groups of males.

A doll called Baby Alive being offered by Hasbro could be a holiday hit across the United States due to one specific ability -- it can do No. 2, an expert says. Sniff sniff, the doll proudly proclaims upon expelling a mixture of green beans and bananas fed it by the lucky child who gets one.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said he used the fictional marketing outfit, Shoptastic Solutions, to lure 61 fugitives to an Illinois hotel and arrested them. The sheriff said by sending dozens of fugitives winning scratch-off tickets as part of his law enforcement sting, he was able to bring them together at a hotel near Chicago's Midway Airport for one bulk arrest, the Chicago Sun-Times said Monday. Dart said the lure in this month's police scheme was a $1,000 gift card and the possibility of winning a big-screen television. We tried to tap into the Christmas spirit and throw a big dose of the Grinch on top of it, Dart said, referring to the famous anti-Christmas literary figure.

The library staff in Louisiana's St.


Merchants and suppliers in St. Louis say individuals seeking actual mistletoe this year are out of luck as the kissing aid is missing in action.

The British government is distributing fliers warning Christmastime revelers of potential dangers, including falls taken by tipsy grandmothers. The leaflet, titled 'Tis the Season to Be Careful, was authored by government ministers and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, The Times of

A councilman in New York says he wants to protect a group of wild South American parrots that for some reason are at home in the busy city. Queens Councilman Tony Avella said he wants approval to have the typically warm-weather animals and their nests transferred if deemed necessary to ensure their safety from possible poachers of vandals, the New York Daily News said Monday. The creator of pro-parrot legislation said by protecting the wild parrots living in New York's Brooklyn borough, area politicians would be helping nature. No matter what the economy is doing one way or the other, we should be mindful of the animals that share this planet with us, Avella said. The parrots' nests have been blamed for causing power outages in the city, as well as delaying area construction projects. Geologist Barry Schwartz with the city's Department of Design and Construction agrees the birds' native to Argentina should be protected. They've been here for 30 years, he told the Daily News of the bird

A shopper at Home Depot in Auburn, Maine, says he discovered two caches of dropped money at the store during visits two days apart. Gil Steward said he found a wallet at the store Tuesday morning that contained nearly $1,000 in cash and while shopping at the same store Thursday morning, he found a green bag stuffed with money, the Sun Journal of Lewiston, Maine, reported Monday. Steward said he took the wallet to the store's customer service counter and the owner, a man in his 20s, thanked him after retrieving his money. He said his home payment was in there and money for Christmas, of course, Steward said.

A Canadian man wolfed down 46 potato pancakes in 8 minutes to take the top spot at the National Potato Latke Eating Championship in Lake Grove, N.Y. The contest, held Sunday before the sundown start of Hanukkah, ended with Pete Czerwinski, 23, besting 10 other eaters for the title of champion and setting a world record recognized by the Association of Independent Competitive Eaters, Newsday reported Monday. Arnie Chapman, chairman of the association, said Czerwinski devoured the previous record of 31 latkes, which was set by Massachusetts eater Tom Goose Gilbert in 2006. Czerwinski, who took home a $300 prize, said the secret to his starch-stuffing success is a lack of communication between his brain and his stomach. I'm just a power eater.

Word of the Day
  • A serpent whose bite was fabled to produce intense thirst.
The word 'dipsas' comes from a Greek word meaning 'thirst'.