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Oddities News Archive - June 12, 2009

A 7-foot-4-inch young Englishman, recognized by witnesses outside a burgled house, was sentenced to 11 months in prison this week. Christopher Lister, 21, of Armley pleaded guilty, admitting he stole a van used in the burglary in November, Armley Today reported.

A high school class ring lost decades ago has been returned to its elderly owner thanks to the sleuthing of a suburban Chicago woman, an official says. Executive Director Frank Lipo of the Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest credits Jill Bakke's detective work for locating the ring's owner, 85-year-old Marjorie Calvert, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday. Bakke, of Oak Park, contacted the historical society after she found a 1942 class ring engraved with the initials MCC while weeding her flowerbed. Studying a 1942 yearbook and graduation program convinced Bakke the ring belonged to Marjorie Calvert who was Marjorie Cassidy when she attended Oak Park and River Forest High School. I let one of my children wear it, Calvert said.

The Disneyland automated dragon will not make any appearances at the California amusement park in the near future due to mechanical problems, Disney says. Disney said Maleficent, the fire-breathing star of the Disneyland production Fantasmic, has been sidelined with unspecified mechanical problems ahead of Friday's premiere of the summer-long show, the Los Angeles Times said. Maleficent typically stands 40 feet tall and weighs 10,000 pounds, but the editor of the Disney-themed Web site, miceage.com, says the mechanical beast is now in pieces. Miceage.com editor Al Lutz's site reported during testing of the mechanical beast, the dragon's head fell off. Disneyland Resort spokeswoman Suzi Brown denied the site's dragon was beheaded during testing, telling the Times the complex machine was simply not prepared for its debut. It's a very technically complex mechanism, Brown said.

An Illinois man is riding his bicycle from Los Angeles to Boston to raise money for the Central Illinois Alzheimer's Foundation. Champ Walker, a retired high school history teacher, began his trek a little more than a month ago by dipping the back wheel of his bike into the Pacific Ocean, the Champaign (Ill.) News-Gazette reported Friday. When I get to Boston, I just might dump the whole bike in the ocean, Walker said. He told the newspaper that past treks failed to prepare him for riding through the Mohave Desert in 110-degree heat or fighting 96 mph winds in Texas. Walker is traveling with 16 other bikers, each on his own personal or charitable mission. I'm not in a race, Walker says.

More than 15,000 dogs will likely be on hand, or paw as it were, when the 10th annual DogFest takes place in West Chester Township, Ohio, volunteers say. Event volunteer Ken Rhoads said the annual canine event in Voice of America Park has been gradually increasing in popularity among dogs and their two-legged owners, The Cincinnati Enquirer said Friday. It started out as a way to make sure there was an awareness that we had to find permanent homes for these animals,'' Rhoads said of the two-day event scheduled to take place this weekend.

An artist in Des Moines, Iowa, who makes sculptures with chainsaws says he is enraged over the theft of eight of his dangerous tools. Chainsaw artist Ken Tynan said he discovered last weekend that eight of his most powerful chainsaws were stolen from his shop, leaving him with angry emotions akin to the comic book character the Incredible Hulk, the Des Moines (Iowa) Register said Friday. I can't carve today.

A suburban Chicago police commander who has led numerous identity theft investigations said he was made a victim of the crime on PayPal. Gurnee Police Cmdr.

A DuPage County, Ill., purse snatcher who said he was trying to raise money to take his wife out for Valentine's Day was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Authorities said Donald Brown, 30, of Lombard, was arrested Feb.

British veterinarians said a pair of tortoises mauled in a dog attack have been outfitted with pink plaster casts to help their shells heal. Veterinarians at Amey Zoo near Hemel Hempstead, England, said the turtles were rescued from the dog by a member of the public June 4 and are expected to make full recoveries, albeit with slightly deformed shells, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday. The vets said two other tortoises were mauled by the dog, but one died soon after it was rescued by the passerby and the other was put down because of the severity of its injuries. Kate Cornell, an animal collection officer for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said the surviving reptiles are staying at her home while the organization tries to track down the original owners.

A 68-year-old Chinese man said he wound up in the hospital due to an over-enthusiastic celebration for a gambling game win. The man, identified only as Hong, told China Daily he was so excited about winning a game of mahjong Monday, he slapped the table, which caused him to fall from his chair and fracture

Word of the Day
edulcoration
  • The act of sweetening by admixture of some saccharine substance.
The word 'edulcoration' comes from a Latin word meaning 'making sweet'.