Oddities News Archive - December 25, 2008

Prohibition-era Chicago mob boss Al Capone's house is going up for sale in the spring, the current owner says. The six-bedroom red-brick home in a working-class neighborhood on the city's South Side is expected to be priced at $450,000, the Chicago Tribune reported Thursday.

Two Baton Rouge, La., sisters, ages 23 and 18, say their mother insists they have their picture taken with Santa Claus every year until they are married. Ashley Swan, 23, and her sister Katie, 18, said mother Merry Swan's tradition of having her children pose with Santa for a Christmas photo began the year Ashley was born and has continued uninterrupted for every Christmas since, the Baton Rouge Advocate reported Thursday. This is how I feel -- you have to do this until you get married, Merry Swan told her daughters.

A Maryland car wholesaler said he played secret Santa for a man whose kidneys are failing with a free 1998 Plymouth Voyager. Ed Lott, 38, said he has given cars to people in need for the past five Christmases, and his own kidney problems were not enough to keep him from obtaining a vehicle for Sheldon Deller, 48, the Baltimore Sun reported Thursday. Lott drove the tow truck carrying the van to Deller's house and a friend, Venessa Bond, rang the man's doorbell and informed him of the gift, which Lott and his helpers said would have been almost completely anonymous had the wholesaler's mother, Carmen Lott, not informed newspapers of her son's deeds before the car was presented Wednesday afternoon. The reason I do it is for the reactions I see, said Lott, who watched from the tow truck as a shocked and grateful Deller received his gift.

A Texas man said he has expanded the schedule of the holiday train has run in his backyard for the past eight years to keep the ride open on Christmas. Joel Occhiuzzo, 76, said he has operated the train, which seats 22 people, and given free rides to all who come from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day in his Richardson backyard for the past eight years, and this year he decided not to shut the ride down for Christmas, The Dallas Morning News reported Thursday.

The arrival of Christmas has some Pennsylvanians with names evocative of the holiday lamenting their festive monikers. Patty Christmas of Plum, Pa., said having the beloved holiday as her last name may make it memorable, but it reveals its downside when she has to give her name to people who don't realize she's serious, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Thursday. I ordered a pizza the other night, she said.

A British stand-up comedian has been charged with criminal damage after he allegedly interrupted a show to snatch and smash an audience member's phone. Audience members said Lee Hurst, 46, a former star of defunct comedy panel show They Think It's All Over, interrupted his performance at Stoke Pub in

A minister in Kansas says he is trying to bring attention to the role of Jesus Christ in Christmas by having church members dress like the religious figure. The Rev.

The Irish inventor of a Rubik's cube-solving robot said he is planning to have his creation attempt a world record by solving the puzzle in about 60 seconds. Pete Redmond said his invention, the RuBot 2, can usually solve the puzzle in about 35 seconds after scanning it with cameras in its eyes and his goal is to have the robot solve the puzzle in one minute including scanning time at the record attempt Jan.

An elderly Houston woman received $4,700 water bill that claimed she used 495,000 gallons of water in a single month -- a feat plumbers called impossible. Annabelle Baylous said her water bill is usually about $10, so she was shocked to see the amount on the bill she received this month, KHOU-TV, Houston, reported Thursday. Over $4,000! Baylous said.

An Australian couple said their 7-year-old cat survived a 34-story fall from their penthouse to the ground below. Sheree and Wayne Washington said their lucky cat, aptly named Voodoo, suffered only scratches to his ear, mouth and paw and a bloodshot eye after his fall from their Gold Coast penthouse, which was cushioned by a bush far below, Britain's The Daily Mail reported Thursday. Sheree Washington said she and her husband feared the worst after they noticed Voodoo missing Monday night, but when she went searching for what she thought would be a body Tuesday she instead discovered the cat lying under the bushes.

Word of the Day
  • A hairdresser.
The word 'friseur' comes from French friseur, from friser ("to curl, frizz").