Oddities News Archive - December 23, 2008

Orange County police say they arrested a teenager for allegedly violating a court order by flashing gang signs while posing for a picture with a mall Santa. Uriel Oliva, 18, Anaheim, faces three misdemeanor charges for allegedly violating a court order that he not hang out with members of his former gang. The Los Angeles Times said Tuesday that the state's evidence consists of a picture of Oliva and couple of pals hamming it up at the Village Mall in Orange earlier this month. It shows three gang members sitting on or standing around Santa Claus, explained Orange Police Sgt.

Dressed as Santas, a married couple handed out $11,000 in cash in an area of Detroit hit by the auto crisis, high unemployment and home foreclosures. Accompanied by a police officer, the couple withdrew $11,000 in crisp $100 bills from their bank and distributed it Monday in Detroit's Lincoln Park, The Detroit Free Press reported. The recipients responded with disbelief, laughter, tears and shouts of joy as the anonymous Santas, who said they had enough money to live comfortably, distributed their cash to low-income mothers and the elderly. The couple said they were inspired by Larry Stewart, a Secret Santa for three decades in Kansas City, Mo., before his death in 2007.

A pig buried for 36 days beneath ruble from Sichuan's earthquake has been named China's most inspirational animal of 2008. Zhu Jianqiang or Strong-Willed Pig bested six dogs, a bird, turtle and a cat to win the title in an online vote, The Times of London reported Tuesday. The pig was discovered alive in the debris of a home June 17 -- more than five weeks after the quake killed an estimated 90,000 people in Sichuan. The pig's owners say his weight had dropped from 330 pounds to 110 pounds on a diet of rain water and charcoal.

Police have arrested a disgruntled bank customer in Illinois who allegedly called 911 and reported a non-existent robbery. Investigators said John Pighee Jr., 58, called 911 shortly before noon Monday and reported a robbery at the Bank of America branch in Bolingbrook, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday. Lt.

A northern Minnesota couple are counting on people going crazy for Crapola! -- their cranberry-apple granola cereal. Brian and Andrea Strom, both 34, of Ely say their health food product is the product of humor, the Mesabi Daily News in Virginia, Minn., reported Sunday. It started as a joke, but then we decided to make it happen, Brian Strom said. If the name Crapola! isn't enough to get potential customers to actually buy the cereal, maybe their slogan will: Makes even really weird people regular. The product is at the intersection of tasty food and healthy food, with a sense of humor (based) around the name, Strom said. Despite the name, Crapola! is good for people -- containing organic grains, nuts, dried cranberries and apples sweetened with maple syrup and honey, the report says.

Firefighters say a Massachusetts man accidentally set fire to his home while attempting to melt ice on his back porch with a blowtorch. Fire Capt.

A Tokyo business is offering recession-hit customers the chance to ease their frustrations by throwing cups, plates and other fragile objects at concrete slabs. Katsuya Hara, leader of the team of chiropractors operating The Venting Place, said customers choose their desired items to destroy -- ranging in price from about $2.20 for a small cup to about $11 for a large dish -- then they are dressed in protective clothing and taken to the inside of a van, The Daily Telegraph reported Tuesday. Inside the van are concrete slabs for the businessmen and businesswomen to hurl their chosen crockery against. To break something, as all of us know from experience, is something extremely exhilarating and it helps bring down pent-up anger.

A developer in England has been granted permission to proceed with work on a 9-foot-wide house that is expected to be the narrowest in Britain. Architect Tom Stebbing said the Bury St.

It's still not too late to take an $11 chance to own a debt-free home in Canada, says the Edmonton lawyer running the contest. CTV News reported Tuesday David Stockburger told Canada AM his unusual method of trying to flip the home he renovated is sort of an experiment. To get in the contest, all you need to do is pay $11 and provide one good reason why you deserve to live in a mortgage-free home.

The Swedish creator of a modern, glossy magazine adaptation of the Bible says some images have been removed from the U.S.