Oddities News Archive - February 02, 2009

The legendary, weather-forecasting groundhog Punxsutawney Phil says the United States is in for six more weeks of winter.

The sequined purple silk high heels Martha Washington wore to marry George show she wasn't frumpy, say curators in Virginia. The wedding shoes, on display at Mount Vernon through Feb.

A Utah man determined to restore a historic beer billboard on his building says he has prevailed after a 10-year legal struggle with the city of Ogden. A regime change on Ogden's historical landmarks commission has finally enabled Bruce Edwards to restore a 1910 billboard painted onto the side of his vacant two-story brick structure, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Monday.

A Cambridge University student bested competitors in the 24th running of Britain's Tough Guy challenge through hot coals, icy ponds and a manure-filled pit. Overall winner James Appleton, 28, was one of 600 racers treated for hypothermia Sunday in Perton, The Daily Telegraph reported Monday. The charity event, billed as the world's toughest endurance battle, drew male and female competitors from 25 countries who dressed in wet suits, dresses, fatigues and, in the case of one man, just a thong. Hundreds failed to finish the Army-style assault course through barbed wire tunnels, burning tires and other perilous obstacles, including the manure-filled pit.

A New Jersey woman says she's heard from more than 100 potential suitors since launching her Web site 52Weeks2FindHim.com. I was totally surprised, said Neenah Pickett, 42, a media consultant from Somerset, N.J., who launched her husband hunt on New Year's Eve. Pickett has been on nine dates so far and has felt some sparks, she said, adding she ruled out anyone who sent a photo of themselves with their shirt off. Immediately, I'm turned off.

Some students at seven high schools in the Cleveland area say they learned about their individual global impact by collecting their own garbage. The Cleveland Plain Dealer said Monday that the seven high schools are all took part in a new program that had students carrying around a bag filled with all the garbage they create in a week's time. The schools' program concluded last Friday and some students reflected on what they are taking away from the environmental lesson. My bag is so small.

The owner of a pub in Raleigh, N.C., says he'll comply with health regulations banning dogs but he's not so sure his canine friends will understand. Super Bowl Sunday marked the last Sunday dogs would be allowed to frolic and dine with their owners at Lenny's Hideway, restaurant owner Ed Schultz said. Schultz started his canine Sunday soirees three months ago as a way to spend more time with his basset hound, Miss Chief, pronounced mischief, the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer reported Monday.

Rescue workers say a man who tried to recover a dropped cell phone came within feet of plunging off a cliff into Oregon's icy Crater Lake.

Will the last person leaving Seattle turn out the lights remains an enduring message, say the two men who put the phrase on a billboard 38 years ago. It just won't go away, said Jim Youngren, who with fellow real-estate agent Bob McDonald put the message on a billboard when Seattle was facing tough economic times. Now, with Boeing, Starbucks and Microsoft announcing layoffs, their message is reappearing on blogs and posters throughout Seattle, The Seattle Times reported Monday. In the last 38 years, the phrase has been copied around the world with the word Seattle replaced by Detroit, New Jersey and even the Planet, the Times reported, noting it's also been used for other occasions such as Will the last person with ethics on Wall Street turn out the lights. McDonald, 71, and Youngren, 68, went on to prosper in real estate and have some advice for would-be investors today: Don't panic.

A Swedish library said it received an anonymous package containing a book that went missing from the library more than 37 years ago. The Gavle library said An Essay on Liberation, a Marxist tome by German philosopher Herbert Marcuse, was returned to the shelves Thursday after the anonymous borrower returned it, The Local reported Monday. The last return date stamped inside the book was Nov.

Word of the Day
  • A handkerchief.
  • Specifically— The legendary sweat-cloth; the handkerchief of St. Veronica, according to tradition miraculously impressed with the mask of Christ; also, the napkin about Christ's head (Johu xx. 7).
  • In general, any miraculous portrait of Christ.
The word 'sudarium' comes from a Latin word meaning 'a handkerchief'.