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Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 17:20 EDT

Oddities News Archive - December 08, 2008

Just in time for the holidays, researchers at Indiana's Purdue University say they are auctioning off the naming rights for nine animal species. Purdue University forestry and natural resources professor John Bickham said the auction offerings starting Monday would give true wildlife supporters the chance to become a part of the world of science, The Chicago Tribune said. There's not very much money to support the kind of work it takes to discover these new species, Bickham said.

A Florida man says serving as Santa Claus for pets of various species during the holiday season is a very messy job. Bob Hutchinson said while he has been dressing up as the Christmas character for five years to take part in the Key Largo School's Pets & Pina Coladas fundraiser, it is not always the ideal position, The Miami Herald said Monday. ''I've been peed on by dogs, pooped on by birds,'' Hutchinson said.

A federal judge in California says he has stopped sending tasteless jokes to a wide range of people in an e-mail group he called the Easy Rider Gag List. Alex Kozinski, of the 9th U.S.

Some residents in Britain say they're upset by holiday cards sent by their housing association to remind them to pay rent on time. The cards say, "We want you to enjoy the festive period, but even more than this we want you to continue to enjoy your home, please make sure payments are kept up to date. An estimated 650 homes in and around Plymouth, England, have received the cards from the landlord -- the Jephson Housing Association, The Daily Telegraph reported Monday. Residents have accused the housing association of acting like Scrooge. This may look like a Christmas card but most people see it more as a veiled threat, said one resident.

A pastor in Hopewell, Pa, says he was stunned to learn a frugal parishioner left his tiny church an estate worth $2.2 million. Burrell farmer John F.

Sweden's Uppsala University said a copy of Isaac Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica is back with the school after its theft 40 years ago. Uppsala University officials said the book, which was given to the university by astronomer Petrus Elvius shortly after it was first published in 1687, disappeared from the school's library in the 1960s by means unknown, Swedish News Agency TT reported Monday. Officials said the book was given back to the school by a U.S.

The head of Swedish furniture company Ikea's German wing says women excel over their male counterparts when it comes to assembling the company's goods.. Petra Hesser, 50, Ikea's German chief, said women are better skilled at assembling the company's signature flatback furniture because men never look at the directions and have the most problems with construction because they always think they can do that, The Local reported Monday. The woman first sorts the parts in an orderly way.

Police in Hollywood, Fla., say a family sifting through a dead relative's possessions discovered what looked to have been a grenade. Hollywood Police spokesman Lt.

A lawnmower drill team from Arcola, Ill., says it has been picked to perform in the Washington parade following President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration. The World Famous Lawn Rangers from Amazing Arcola said about 40 members of the group, which performs elaborately choreographed routines with push-lawnmowers and twirling broomsticks, will travel to Washington for the 56th Inaugural Parade Jan.

A Florida woman says she is locked in a battle of wits against a tame macaw that has decided to stay in nearby trees after escaping from its owner. Tania Regidor of Tampa said the bird, Chiquita, escaped from its owner, who has cancer and recently completed chemotherapy, during feeding time, The Tampa Tribune reported Monday. Regidor said the bird spent the weekend flying from tree to tree in the neighborhood, each time going a little higher into the branches. She said Chiquita and the bird's brother, Papito, have been hand-fed since they were babies.