Oddities News Archive - April 18, 2009

A group of Con Edison workers in New York City discovered that a battery-powered owl scared monk parakeets away from electrical equipment for months. The owl, bought at a garden shop, was mounted on a 24,000-volt feeder reclosure in the Whitestone neighborhood in Queens, where nesting parakeets had started several costly fires, The New York Times reported Friday.

City officials in Naples, Italy, deny they have spent nearly $786,600 on a breeding program for mastiffs, the stout guard dog that is a status pet of the mafia. The mastiff, said to date to Roman times, once ranked among Italy's most popular guard dogs.

The lives of President Barack Obama's daughters have become a fantasy obsession for tweens, say young girls in the Washington area. Sophie Metee, a fourth-grader in Bethesda, Md., said she believes she speaks for many whose main, main, main, main, main goal is to meet the girls -- the Obama girls.

A Chicago man vying to be crowned the world's best barista says he aims to make good coffee and have fun at this year's championship in Atlanta. I really care about what I do, said Michael Phillips.

The wooden putter used to make the final winning shot in the 1939 British Open was found stored away in a garage in England, sources say. The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday that the club was used by English golfer Dick Burton at the 1939 tournament on the Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland. Golfer Garry Bingham, 50, had gotten the club about 20 years ago, and stashed it away, not realizing its value, the newspaper reported. The Telegraph said Burton gave the putter away to his aunt Ethel as an apology after he and her husband got drunk at her hotel. Bingham reportedly inherited the club 20 years ago when Ethel died.

A 47-year-old Englishwoman has been convicted of flouting a city order to keep her love-making sessions quiet, officials said. The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday that Caroline Cartwright, 47, was found guilty of breaching a noise abatement notice served on her after police received 25 complaints about her loud sessions with husband Steve. She was fined more than $760, The Sun reported. I am not making the noise on purpose, she told magistrates in Sunderland.

An anonymous British buyer who bought a canvas bag belonging to a 97-year-old Titanic survivor has asked the auctioneer to return the memento to the seller. The mail-bag was Millvina Dean's only remaining souvenir from the Titanic, The Times of London reported.

Word of the Day
  • Growing in low tufty patches.
The word 'cespitose' comes from a Latin word meaning 'turf'.