Oddities News Archive - January 05, 2009

U.S. Senate seats are for sale in Illinois, says a Peoria jeweler who is producing necklace charms in the shape of the Senate's chairs. In a parody of the legal predicament faced by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, accused of trying to sell the vacant Senate seat of U.S.

Participants in the Maldon Mud Race say cold temperatures did make the annual event in the British town of Maldon a bit more difficult. At least two Mud Race competitors confessed to having had a hard time running 500 yards across a muddy river bed during 28 degree weather, before heading back to where they started, the Times of London said. It was tough out there, 36-year-old contestant Stuart Putt said of Sunday's event.

A man desperate to sell a luxury home in Houston in the current down U.S.

Free speech on the ski slopes is being put to the test in Vermont because of a new breed of racy snowboard designs, observers say.

The reigning Miss Vermont said she will be going green at the upcoming Miss America Pageant with an eco-friendly gown made from hemp, organic cotton and silk. Ashley Ruth Wheeler said the dress, which was created by a designer in northeast Vermont, also includes lace and beads made from recycled materials, WPTZ-TV, Plattsburgh, N.Y., reported Monday. I really feel like I'm carrying the state of Vermont with me, Wheeler said.

A Yorktown, N.Y., man who became famous for feeding migrating Canada geese at his home is brushing off the attention he's gained. Gary Lundquist first made headlines in 2004 when a local newspaper profiled him for feeding hundreds of birds each day at his home and interviewed neighbors upset by the noise and droppings brought to the neighborhood by the geese, the New York Post reported Monday. This is private property, Lundquist said recently while answering his door.

A Detroit university has created a Web site aimed at keeping good but rarely used words in the public lexicon, officials said. Wayne State University's Word Warriors Web site, which can be seen at www.wordwarriors.wayne.edu, states its goal as to bring good words back from oblivion, The Detroit News reported Monday. The Web site lists mercurial, a synonym of fickle; sycophant, another word for a suck-up; and charlatan, a term for an imposter, among its initial group of words that need saving. The English language has more words in its lexicon than any other, said Jerry Herron, dean of the university's Irvin D.


A Seattle family said a black widow spider they found in a bag of red grapes has found a new home at the city's Woodland Park Zoo.

An Alaska non-profit is suggesting methods of protecting moose on roads, including crosswalks with flashing lights and groomed trails to feedlots. The president of the Alaska Moose Federation, Gary Olson, met with state Department of Transportation officials in Fairbanks to discuss methods of keeping moose away from the roads, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Monday. Everybody loves moose and they taste a lot better when they're not marinated with antifreeze, Olson said. One of the plans promoted by the non-profit calls for crosswalks with flashing lights that would warn motorists when moose are crossing the road.

A British expert says stress brought on by cold weather, returning to work after the holidays and economic woes can be relieved by throwing a tantrum. Judi James, a body language expert and psychologist for the British version of reality TV series Big Brother, said shouting fits can help with stress by relieving tension, The Daily Mail reported Monday. Releasing tension through shouting and screaming is a really beneficial way to expel the negative energies caused by stress, James said.

Word of the Day
  • A person or thing gazed at with wonder or curiosity, especially of a scornful kind.
The 'stock' of 'gazingstock' comes from an Old English word meaning 'tree trunk' or 'wood'.