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Oddities News Archive - January 09, 2009

Germany's top meteorologist said a cat wandered on stage and began rubbing against his leg while he was delivering a forecast on live television. Joerg Kachelmann said he picked up the feline and delivered the rest of his weather forecast with the cat in his arms Tuesday after it began rubbing against his leg and waving its tail in front of the camera, Deutsch Welle reported Friday. I noticed him when he rubbed against my leg and thought people might wonder what was happening, Kachelmann said.

A Texas man will spend 180 days in jail after he fled from court just prior to receiving a probation sentence, his lawyer said. Jim Shaw, an attorney for James Carroll Franklin, 47, said his client apparently panicked after Wise County prosecutors Kevin Henry and Paige McCormick suggested in court that he be sentenced to life in prison, the Fort Worth (Texas) Star Telegram reported Friday. Franklin excused himself for a bathroom break and less than five minutes later, the jury returned with a sentence of a $1,000 fine and six years in prison, which they recommended be probated, for his conviction on a charge of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. However, Franklin never returned from the bathroom to hear the sentence and authorities pursued him in a high-speed chase after it was discovered that he had sped away from the court.

British fans of potato chips, sick of more traditional flavors, can now enjoy flavors like chocolate and chili or crispy duck and hoi sin, a company says. The snack food manufacturer Walkers announced a new series of unique chip flavors Friday that were each created by members of the public taking part

Artists in a Ukrainian city have created a 100-foot-high crossword puzzle that covers an entire external wall of a residential tower. Officials said clues to the giant puzzle, which is aimed at attracting tourists to the city of Lvov, are scattered around parks, theaters, fountains and other landmarks

The search for a large beaver living somewhere in the English county of Devon has been hindered by curious onlookers, the animal's former owner says. Derek Gow, who kept the 84-pound beaver at an area animal sanctuary before its escape, said the sudden influx of onlookers has prompted a lengthy delay in the search for the animal, The Daily Telegraph said Friday. There are still so many people looking for the beaver down the river, we will leave it three to four weeks, said Gow, whose sanctuary is located on a Devon farm.

A British woman said she received a barrage of personal text messages after she gave her phone number to a call-center employee. The 24-year-old Portsmouth, England, woman, who gave her name as Jane, said she gave her cell phone number to a British Telecommunications call-center employee who offered to text her updates while her landline was being set up, The Daily Mail reported Friday. Jane said the call center worker, who identified himself as Hemant, called her moments after she finished placing her order and began asking personal questions, including where she worked and her plans for the day. I told him I was unpacking due to the move but then realized there was something very odd and tried to get him off the line as quickly as possible, Jane said. She said the call sparked a barrage of text messages from Hemant, who used an Indian phone number, telling her she had a wonderful voice and asking for her friendship.

Paranormal investigators are flocking to a Northern Ireland village after locals reported dozens of encounters with a ghost known as the white lady. The apparition has been the subject of dozens of reported sightings during the past six weeks near the ruins of a farmhouse just outside the village of Coalisland, The Daily Mail reported Friday. Villagers described the purported ghost as an old lady with a sad expression, but none have been able to give any details about the woman's face. Locals said up to 60 parked cars loaded with ghost hunters hoping for a glimpse of the white lady have lined the sides of the road near where the sightings were reported at midnight. Warren Coates, of the Northern Ireland Paranormal Research Association, speculated that the ghost may be the spirit of a woman who died in a car accident in the area. However, some were more skeptical of the paranormal claims. If you ask me, it's more likely to be a reflection of the moon on the river that flows through the

London police said they caught a pair of suspected burglars after following a trail of footprints the two left in the snow for more than a mile. Investigators said they followed two sets of footprints away from the scene of a garage break-in at a South London home early Monday morning, The Times of London reported Friday. Officers and sniffer dogs were able to follow the trails left by the suspects, as most residents were still in bed and the snow was mostly untouched, police said.

Police in Australia said a man was charged with driving under the influence after he was found sleeping next to his motorized bike in the middle of the road. Investigators said Lance Partridge, 47, was found sleeping next to his motorized bicycle in the middle of a northbound lane of the F3 freeway in the Sydney suburb of Mount Kuring-Gai, the Sydney Daily Telegraph reported Friday. Hornsby Local Court heard Partridge had been drinking wine before he climbed onto his bike Thursday intending to ride 155 miles from Sydney to his sister's home in Karuah on the North Coast.

A cow that became a celebrity when it escaped from an Ohio slaughterhouse has died after almost seven years in an animal sanctuary in Upstate New York. Cincinnati Freedom, the name the animal was given after 11 days on the lam in 2002, was diagnosed with spinal cancer in December, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Word of the Day
swell-mobsman
  • A member of the swell-mob; a genteelly clad pickpocket. Sometimes mobsman.
Use of the word 'swell-mobsman' dates at least to the early 1800s.