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Oddities News Archive - April 16, 2009

Police in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana warned residents to watch for a wild bear wandering in the streets and parks of the city, officials said. Police warned the bear, which apparently entered the city from nearby wooded hills, could be very dangerous, the Slovenian 24Ur Web site said Thursday. A police statement told the residents of Ljubljana that in case they come close to the bear they should stay still and pretend they are dead, because the bear is faster and nimbler than any human. As the bear wandered into Ljubljana's main Tivoli park in the center of the city, police sealed off the area for several hours.

A U.S. toymaker says President Barack Obama is a worthy addition to his line of action figures because he took the world by storm. He went from no one knowing who he was to being president, Emil Vicale, president of HeroBuilders.com, told Britain's Independent Television News.

Police in Scotland's Dumfries and Galloway council area are proposing the Scottish Police Federation do away with police speak in favor of plain English. Officers have submitted proposals to the Scottish Police Federation conference scheduled for next week asking top officials to consider doing away with many confusing and irritating phrases they are forced to use while dealing with the public, The Times of London reported Thursday. The mover of the motion feels strongly that for too long the Police Service has chosen verbosity over accuracy and clarity and that in 2009 there should be a return to plain English, the proposal reads.

The owners of a Florida bakery have unveiled the divorce cake, a wedding cake-like confection aimed at those seeking to celebrate the end of a marriage. Beatriz Otero and Jorge Garcia, siblings and owners of Elite Cake Creations in Pembroke Pines, said the divorce cakes taste the same as wedding cakes, but the miniature scenes depicted atop the dessert show moments of marital strife rather than wedded bliss, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Thursday. In no way are we encouraging or being flippant about a serious situation, said Otero, who went through her own divorce five years ago.

Students and faculty at Kentucky's Spalding University marked the end of finals week with the annual Running of the Rodents, a race exclusively for rats. The race, which has been a tradition at the school for 37 years, involves rats trained by teams of students and faculty to race around a small oval track for a rodent-friendly prize -- a garland made from fruit-flavored cereal, the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal reported Thursday. This year's event, dubbed CelebRATy, bore a Hollywood theme that was reflected by the names of the rats, including Hannah Ratannah, Robert Ratford and featured race winner Ratalina Jolie. Melissa Lowe, director of human resources for Spalding University, said she hasn't missed a rat race in three years. It's hilarious, she said.

Talk about an overdue fine: A book lost since Union soldiers raided a library during the Civil War was returned to a Virginia university 145 years late. Most of the volumes taken from the Washington College library during the war between the states were returned soon after, The Washington Post reported Thursday. But one -- a leather-bound book that was part of a four-volume history of a Napoleonic military campaign -- didn't make it back to the Lexington, Va., school, now Washington and Lee University, until February, the school's technical services librarian said Wednesday. It was returned by a college coach from Illinois who inherited it from a Union soldier's descendants and then tracked down the library where it belonged. We were astounded to get something back with the history that it has, Laura Turner told the Post.

A federal judge in Hawaii sentenced a man who pleaded guilty to urinating on a fellow airline passenger to 21 days imprisonment. Jerome Kenneth Kingzio, 28, of Saipan, Northern Marina Islands, pleaded guilty to assault after urinating on a 66-year-old woman during a March 21 flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu, the Honolulu Advertiser reported Thursday. U.S.

City officials in Minneola, Fla., said the fire department has been temporarily shut down due to infighting among firefighters. Officials said the Minneola Fire Department was on a 48-hour freeze, scheduled to end at 2 p.m.

An Australian airline said two flights were canceled due to the escape of four baby pythons from a container in a plane's cargo hold. Qantas bosses said workers discovered that a shipment of 12 non-venomous Stimson pythons in the cargo hold of a plane that arrived in Melbourne from the city of Alice Springs was light four snakes, Britain's The Daily Mail reported Thursday. Officials said the Boeing 737 was grounded after staff members were unable to locate the escaped pythons. At first we were not sure what had happened to the other snakes, Qantas Corporate manager David Epstein said.

Police in England said they arrested a man as part of an investigation into garlic scented liquid that was spread around a court building. Authorities said at least two courtrooms at Bristol Crown Court had to be shut down Tuesday due to the potent smell causing headaches and nausea, The Daily Telegraph reported Thursday. A substance believed to be garlic oil was spread along radiators and plant pots in the building by a man who was photographed by CCTV cameras, investigators said. A 50-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident, Avon and Somerset Police said.

Word of the Day
baudekin
  • A rich embroidered or brocaded silk fabric woven originally with a warp of gold thread.
'Baudekin' seems to be an alternative form of 'baldachin,' from the Italian 'Baldacco,' Baghdad, the city where the material was made.
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