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Oddities News Archive - March 17, 2009

Mafia families in Italy are suffering an identity crisis and could benefit from psychiatric help, says a study from the University of Palermo. Psychiatric problems are rising steadily as the monolithic culture of Mafia society crumbles, said psychologist Girolamo Lo Verso, noting Mafia families aren't

A British woman says she is willing to hire a prostitute for her 21-year-old son who is stricken with Down's syndrome. Lucy Baxter is the adoptive mother of three boys who have the disorder and she wants 21-year-old Otto to enjoy as normal a life as possible, including a sex life. 'If he doesn't get a girlfriend, I will feel really bad, because I have sold him this thing that he is like everybody else, the Oxfordshire woman told the Daily Mail.

A tiny Irish village that once was home to U.S.

Suburban Chicago police said a man was charged with felony reckless discharge of a firearm after he mistook his wife for a burglar and shot her. Police said Torrance Clark, 39, was startled by his wife when she returned to their home at about 5 a.m.

An Arizona couple said they have finally married more than 60 years after they first fell in love as high school students. Jack Ross and Win Cushman said they fell in love as students in Highland Park, Ill., but their relationship ended when Cushman moved to Iowa for college and Ross moved to New York before joining the armed forces to fight in Korea, the Gannett News Service reported Tuesday. Both young lovers married other people, had children, became grandparents and were eventually widowed. In 2006, Ross, who had previously been married for 48 years, discovered an address for his long-lost love on the Internet and sent her a Christmas card.

Fans of the Chicago Cubs have organized a Cremating the Curse event to burn memorabilia related to the various curses blamed for 100 years of futility. Organizers of the event, scheduled for 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The owners of a Houston bar where a planned mixer for the city's gay and straight communities was aborted said discrimination was not to blame. Organizers of the event, which had been planned for Friday at Union Bar, said it was aimed at broadening the horizons of both homosexuals and heterosexuals, the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday. The gay community tends to stay in traditional gay bars, and part of the problem is our community is too insular, said Kris Banks, president of the Houston GLBT's political caucus.

An Italian porn star made an appearance at the Milan stock exchange in her skivvies to accuse financiers of stripping Italians. Laura Perego, 22, arrived at the stock exchange in a black suit Tuesday but quickly stripped down to her underwear and charged financiers with stripping Italians of everything

A Chicago-based Web site said its survey indicates 18 percent of U.S. office workers have participated in March Madness college basketball pools at their jobs. CareerBuilder.com said its survey of 8,038 full-time office workers, conducted online between Nov. 12 and Dec.

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A British couple said their pet duck has become the talk of the town with its dog-emulating behavior, including tail wagging and attempts at barking.

Word of the Day
callithump
  • A somewhat riotous parade, accompanied with the blowing of tin horns, and other discordant noises; also, a burlesque serenade; a charivari.
'Callithump' is a back-formation of 'callithumpian,' a 'fanciful formation' according to the Oxford English Dictionary. However, the English Dialect Dictionary, says 'Gallithumpians' is a Dorset and Devon word from the 1790s that refers to 'a society of radical social reformers' or 'noisy disturbers of elections and meetings.'
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