Oddities News Archive - April 20, 2009

A parade celebrating the 150th anniversary of a Japanese port's opening included a pair of 40-foot-tall mechanical spiders. The spiders, operated by French performance art group La Machine, walked Sunday by raising and lowering each of their eight mammoth legs in turn and sprayed water from their mechanical

Firefighters in Wales said they were called to a home to rescue a 3-year-old girl whose foot became stuck in the handle of a toilet. Kevin Rogers said he purchased the training potty for his daughter, Rebecca, last Wednesday and the following day he heard her and her sister, Daniella, 2, screaming, The Daily Telegraph reported Monday. The day after I bought the potty I got it out and left the girls with it to do the washing up, Rogers said.

A British teenager playing an online PlayStation 3 boxing game said he was shocked when his opponent turned out to be real-life boxing great Floyd Mayweather. George Guest, 15, said he was playing Fight Night 3 at his Belvedere, England, home when his online opponent knocked his player to the canvas three times in a single round, The Sun reported Monday. Guest said he joking sent the other player a message: Who do you think you are, Ricky Hatton? The teenager said he was shocked when the other player replied: Actually I'm Floyd Mayweather. I can't believe it.

Chicagoans take heed, be wary how you place your words this Thursday, for the mayor declared it Talk Like Shakespeare Day to mark the bard's 445th birthday. Mayor Richard Daley said the event is designed for the city's inhabitants to bring the spoken words of Shakespeare into their daily lives, the

Police in New Jersey said a man tricked patrons at two restaurants into giving him a total of $186 by pretending to be a waiter. Investigators said a man in his 20s with a spiky hair style approached two women dining at Hobson's Choice restaurant in Hoboken and accepted their $90 cash payment for their meal, The Jersey Journal of Jersey City, N.J., reported Monday. The man was next spotted at Margherita's Pizza and Cafe at about 9 p.m.

A Utah woman who survived a bout of potentially deadly West Nile virus says she celebrated her 70th birthday by skydiving with family and friends. Fay Andrews, who suffered from West Nile two years ago, said she celebrated her Monday birthday early by jumping out of a Cessna 208 Saturday alongside her grandson, grandnephews, grandniece and a friend while a crowd of 30 friends and family members looked on from the Ogden-Hinckley Airport, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. When I was a little girl, somewhere in the back of my mind I wanted to jump from an airplane, Andrews said.

An empty train with no one at the controls rolled about 5 miles at Tsu, Japan, Sunday night before staff caught up with it, officials said. An incorrectly applied brake was believed to have allowed the runaway JR Meisho Line train to pull away from Ieki Station on its own, the Mainichi Daily News reported Monday.

A Virginia woman who auctioned off a bridesmaid spot on eBay said the sale also resulted in free beverages when it was won by soda company Dr Pepper. Kelly Gray said the auction last summer was meant as a way to raise money for her wedding to Karl Gau, which took place Sunday in Virginia Beach, but the soda maker's victory meant that she received not only a $10,000 donation toward wedding costs, but also a free supply of Dr Pepper for the reception, the (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported Monday. Gray said news of Dr Pepper's donation led several other businesses to supply the wedding cake, DJ photo booth and other wedding must-haves. The bride said she had an ice sculpture at the ceremony carved to resemble a vintage Diet Dr Pepper bottle as a tribute to the benefactor. I thought it would cool, kind of a good way to give back, she said.

Thousands of padlocks bearing the initials of lovers were removed Monday from the rails of a church facing Rome's Trevi Fountain, workmen said. The two workmen used bolt cutters to remove the locks and said the items were destined for the trash dump, ANSA reported Monday. The custom of young couples marking love locks with dates and their initials was inspired by the 2003 book and film, Three Meters above the Sky, ANSA said.

A Kansas teenager said he used unconventional means to find a prom date -- he posted an ad on the Craigslist Web site. James Dworak of Wichita's Derby High School said all of his friends already had dates for the big dance, so he turned to the Internet with a Craigslist posting that described him and

Word of the Day
  • The horn of a unicorn considered as a medical or pharmacological ingredient.
  • A winged horse with a single horn on its head; a winged unicorn.
The word 'alicorn' comes from Italian alicorno, already associated with unicorns and reinterpreted, popularized by Bearing an Hourglass (1984) and other fantasy novels by Piers Anthony.