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Oddities News Archive - April 17, 2009

The Kansas Herpetological Society is looking for volunteers willing to spend hours searching for animals they might normally avoid -- say, for instance, snakes. The society's planned animal count will cover turtles, lizards, salamanders, frogs and toads as well as snakes, The Emporia (Kansas) Gazette reported.

The remains of more than 60 former residents of a Rhode Island state farm have been reburied two years after they washed out from a highway embankment. Workers finished the job Wednesday of placing granite markers for those who were identified, the Providence Journal reported.

A love song composed in prison by Chicago mobster Al Capone has been recorded on CD and will be released on the Internet, a suburban Chicago fan says. Rich Larsen of Caponefanclub.com plans to release a recording of Capone's Madonna Mia on his Web site Monday, the Chicago Tribune said. Larsen, of Prospect Heights, Ill., says Capone apparently composed the ballad while serving time for income tax evasion at Alcatraz in the 1930s. It's a very touching Italian love ballad, says Larsen.

A Chicago-based pet products company is promoting pupperware parties as a way to demonstrate its goods to animal lovers Laura Macklin, sales and training director for Shure Pets, recently gave a 10-week-old puppy a spa treatment during a pupperware party in her home, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. We put spritzer on her, brushed her all out, put paw balm on her paws and made her look really pretty, Macklin told the newspaper. In addition to the spa products, guests at the party viewed canine and feline breath mints, collars and leashes we well as beds for cats and dogs. Other products touted included organic catnip and a variety of shampoos and conditioners.

An Illinois couple played detective and located their stolen SUV by tracing cell phone calls made by a youth who took the vehicle, authorities say. When Lindsey and Mike Ryan of Joliet realized that Mike had left his cell phone in their missing Nissan Pathfinder, they went online to see if the thief had made any calls, the Joliet (Ill.) Herald-News reported Friday. I clicked on call details and there it was! said Lindsey Ryan.

An official in the Swedish town of Gnosjo says a municipality tradition of honoring an employee's 25 years of service went too far with a toilet purchase. Stefan Nilsson, Gnosjo human resources head, said the town should change its practice of allowing employees to choose any item worth as much as the traditional gold watch in honor of 25 years of faithful service, The Local said Friday. I, and many like me, think that the purpose (of the loose policy) has gotten a little out of hand, Nilsson said. The local official was reacting to an unidentified Gnosjo employee's decision to purchase a new toilet for himself on his employment anniversary. For Nilsson, the concept of a loyal employee thinking of Gnosjo while using the bathroom item is not a palatable idea. A memorial gift should be something you remember, he told the Local.

Four years after being signed into law, Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C., still surprises visitors who find city offices closed for the holiday. The holiday was signed into law by former Mayor Anthony Williams to commemorate April 16, the day in 1862 President Abraham Lincoln freed the city's 3,000 slaves. However, current Mayor Adrian Fenty proposes eliminating the day next year to save about $2 million in holiday pay to critical workers -- and stirring concern among the city's activists who say Emancipation Day is a reminder of the city's history, The Washington Post reported Friday. It is politically disrespectful for Mayor Fenty to eliminate a day that has been important to the people who have spent generations in the city and have built this city, Dominic Moulden, executive director of ONE DC, a community organizing group, told the Post.

Police in Oakland, Calif., say two boys, ages 8 and 10, armed with a BB gun demanded money and candy during a convenience store robbery. Oakland police spokesman Officer Jeff Thomason said the two boys, whose identities were not reported, showed the store's clerk their firearm during Thursday's robbery while demanding money, gum and Push Pops, The Oakland (Calif.) Tribune said Friday. Thomason said while the gun used by the boys in Thursday's robbery was a basic BB gun that did not mean it was not a risk to others. A BB gun isn't just a plastic toy gun, Thomason said.

Police in Russia said they have arrested a 72-year-old woman accused of swindling a Moscow man out of $90,000. Investigators said the woman had told the victim that she would arrange for him to purchase an apartment at a reduced price in exchange for the money he paid her, ITAR-Tass reported Friday. Her victim was a Muscovite whom the cunning pensioner offered her services to sell an apartment under a preferential Moscow government program, a law enforcement officer said.

A dog that disappeared following a deadly car crash in Concord, Calif., has been found and will be reunited with its injured owner, the victim's aunt says. Denise Bezerra, whose nieces Dominique and Britney Cushman were involved in the Interstate 5 crash, said Britney's 2-year-old Chihuahua, Coco, has been found after being missing for several days, the Contra Costa Times said Friday. Bezerra said the recovery of the dog, one of five canines traveling with the sisters during Monday's crash, was a bright spot in the tragedy that claimed Dominique's life. It's a little burst of light from God, Bezerra 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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