Oddities News Archive - February 17, 2009

A Florida judge has tossed charges against a man who refused orders from police to remove his custom-made Batman mask. The judge dismissed the two misdemeanor charges against Walsh Ian Nichols and ordered Tampa, Fla., police to return his Batman cowl, The Tampa Tribune reported Tuesday. Nichols had been charged with wearing a mask in public after he was arrested while eating sushi outside of a club in Tampa's Tbor City neighborhood.

A Swedish woman undergoing treatment for cancer said she was shocked to receive a letter from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency declaring her dead. The Boden, Sweden, woman said she received the letter just as she was beginning treatments for cancer and the insurance agency has since apologized for the mix-up, Swedish news agency Tidningarnas Telegrambyra reported Tuesday. Unfortunately this is a case of human error.

Authorities in Tennessee said a man was arrested after what was believed to be an ounce of marijuana was found in his baby's diaper bag at a church. Deputy Chief Donna Turner of the Tipton County Sheriff's Department said an off-duty officer worshiping at the Central Baptist Church in Brighton was consulted after nursery workers at the church found a suspicious-looking substance in the diaper bag, The Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis reported Tuesday. Keith Saemenes, the off-duty deputy, identified the substance as about an ounce of marijuana and called investigators to the church.

The Utah Highway Patrol said a truck lost its load of hamburgers on Interstate 15 Tuesday and another truck dumped beer on Interstate 84. Trooper Cameron Roden said the driver of the semi-tractor trailer rig carrying the hamburgers fell asleep behind the wheel on his way out of the Salt Lake City area just after 5 a.m.

A British man who admitted in court to illegally possessing a Taser was branded a real life Homer Simpson by his lawyer. Ricky Hodgkinson said after admitting the offense -- a violation of the Firearms Act of 1968 -- at Walsall Magistrates' Court that he had purchased the non-lethal weapon from a friend and had only used it once -- on himself, the Daily Mail reported Tuesday. I wanted to test it out to make sure it worked so I shot myself in the chest.


A toy that lets users trash the likeness of Ponzi scheme investment mastermind Bernard Madoff was unveiled this week at the New York Toy Fair.

A Florida man said he has turned to an unconventional method in his job search -- holding a poster imprinted with his resume at the side of the road. Aleksei Feliz, 43, said he lost his job in November when the company he worked for closed down and was unable to find new employment, so he started seeking more unusual means of job hunting, the Tampa Tribune reported Tuesday. Over the weekend, I was trying to come up with different ideas, he said.

Ten Jewish women ranging in age from 89 to 96 said they are preparing for their long-overdue bnei mitzvah at a Beachwood, Ohio, synagogue. The women, residents of an independent living facility on the campus of Menorah Park Center for Senior Living, said when they were 12-years-olds, the traditional age for a bat mitzvah, the only coming-of-age ritual in their Jewish communities was the bar mitzvah for boys, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported Tuesday. All through history, boys and men got the better deal, said one of the women, Evelyn Bonder, 90.

A popular Vermont chain store has sparked controversy among customers for stocking adult sex products on its shelves. The Vermont Country Store, a statewide chain that has been serving the region for more than 60 years, recently added vibrators, sex creams and instructional sex videos to its stock, causing anger among some customers who see the products as inappropriate, WPTZ-TV, Plattsburgh, N.Y., reported Tuesday. A company representative said store officials have received a couple hundred letters from customers angered by the intimate solutions line of products. It's just dirty, customer Celia Jordan said Monday while leaving a Vermont Country Store in Rockingham.

A lawyer for a victim hurt by a gorilla that escaped from Boston's Franklin Park Zoo six years ago objects to the zoo's birthday celebration for the primate. The zoo celebrated the 16th birthday of Little Joe, a gorilla that injured two people when it escaped in 2003, Monday as part of its Go Ape Week festivities, WCVB-TV in Boston reported Tuesday. Donald Gibson, who represented one of the gorilla's victims during a 2007 civil case against the zoo, accused officials of using the primate's infamy from the attacks as an advertising ploy. It's very frustrating to see this particular gorilla -- Little Joe -- used as a marketing tool given what happened, Gibson said. However, zoo officials said celebrating the birthday of Little Joe, whose finger paint creations were displayed at the zoo during summer 2007, had nothing to do with the 2003 incident. I don't think it's really even a controversy, to be honest with you, said John Linehan, president and chief executive officer of the zoo.

Word of the Day
  • The horn of a unicorn considered as a medical or pharmacological ingredient.
  • A winged horse with a single horn on its head; a winged unicorn.
The word 'alicorn' comes from Italian alicorno, already associated with unicorns and reinterpreted, popularized by Bearing an Hourglass (1984) and other fantasy novels by Piers Anthony.