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Oddities News Archive - February 09, 2009

An 88-year-old man affectionately known as Grandfather by those who know him says he is pleased to have earned a law degree in Thailand. The Bangkok Post said Monday that Sa-nguan Sunthornwong graduated from Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University with a degree in law after 12 years of classes. But Sunthornwong insists he has no plans to rest following his recent private graduation ceremony. It's not over, the senior law school graduate said.

A 6-foot-tall South American bird, a rhea, destroyed several gardens in the English county of Worcestershire after escaping from a farm, the bird's owner says. Sharon Gould, who owns the large rhea bird, said the animal escaped Gouldise Poultry farm by scaling a 3-foot-high fence and soon was on a 7-hour spree of destruction in the area, The Daily Telegraph said Monday. We think he got spooked by a dog and jumped out of his pen and made off across the fields, Gould said of the recent escape by the bird named Charlie. After destroying several gardens and hedges with a three-mile radius of the farm, the rhea was eventually captured by 12 area residents armed with sticks and blankets. The animal's capture was a relief for Gould, who admitted having problems locating the oversized bird. They looked at me like I was a bit mad, Gould told the Telegraph, referring to her requests for help in finding Charlie.

A 22-year-old man said he used the Web site Facebook to organize a so-called flash mob at a London train station after being inspired by a TV commercial. The flash mob organizer, who was identified only as Crazzy Eve, admitted to using the social networking site to draw thousands of people to London's

Police in the Boston suburb of Somerville, Mass., say a wounded man hijacked a taxi with two passengers to run down the man who allegedly shot him. Marcel Laurol, 32, of Malden, Mass., is charged with carjacking, kidnapping, assault with a dangerous weapon, driving with a revoked license and reckless operation, The Boston Herald reported Monday. Laurol, who had been shot in the leg, allegedly removed the cab driver from the taxi and then, with two passengers in the backseat, drove down the sidewalk and hit a 25-year-old Brockton, Mass., man he identified as the shooter, police said. Both men, as well as the cab driver, were expected to recover from their injuries.

A 26-year-old Canadian woman says she offering free hugs for the third year in a row on the streets of Toronto. Some people will walk by smiling and other people will come running because they love the hugs, said Tanya Neumeyer, who took to the streets Sunday with her older brother Ian in tow. The Neumeyers and a few friends carried large signs saying Free Hugs, which startled some passersby and comforted others, The Toronto Star reported Monday. It makes your day.

The British Spelling Society says the English language is a relic in need of change. The society is calling on the United States and Britain to introduce a more simplified, phonetic system of spelling, The Times of London reported Monday. The English language in writing reflects how English was spoken

A Peoria, Ill., man told police that a home intruder had apparently cooked and eaten a steak at his home while he was away. The homeowner told police he returned home at about 9:45 p.m. Saturday after being gone since 11 a.m.

Police in Memphis said they arrested a man who allegedly posed as a parking lot attendant on numerous occasions and charged motorists $5 to park. Investigators said Anthony Merriweather, 50, was arrested Sunday and charged with criminal impersonation and criminal trespass after some of his alleged victims

Police in Portland, Ore., said a suspicious package that was destroyed by a local bomb squad turned out to be a school science project. Investigators said the box, which featured a wire and screws sticking out of it, was found Saturday at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center with a note reading: Do

A Michigan man said he heard a loud crash in his house and found a bleeding six-point buck that had jumped in through a double-pane picture window. Keith Luke, 62, said the noise Sunday morning sounded like a car driving into the house but when he investigated with his wife and son they found the deer bleeding and hiding behind a couch in Luke's study, The Detroit News reported Monday. When I saw he was injured, I ran to the front door and opened it so he had a way to escape, Luke said.

Word of the Day
barratry
  • The offense of persistently instigating lawsuits, typically groundless ones.
  • An unlawful breach of duty on the part of a ship's master or crew resulting in injury to the ship's owner.
  • Sale or purchase of positions in church or state.
This word ultimately comes from the Old French word 'barater,' to cheat.
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