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Oddities News Archive - August 10, 2009

Italy's highest precedent-setting court ruled a man did not act improperly when he said he'd kick a group of loitering teens in the pants. The Cassation Court ruled Gavino S., 55, of Alghero, could not be charged with the threatening of his nephew, Pietro S., 15, and a group of the teenager's friends

A state courts representative says an infestation of bedbugs at a 109-year-old courthouse in New York resulted in a thorough fumigation. State courts spokesman David Bookstaver said after a bedbugs infestation was discovered at the Appellate Division courthouse a few weeks ago, the largest extermination company in the city was tabbed to prosecute the pests, the New York Post reported Monday. An investigation by the company last week ended with a fumigation of the legal site on Thursday, Bookstaver said. The problem has now been adjudicated, the courts official joked. The Post said the bedbug infestation was suspected of being centralized at the courthouse's clerks office on the building's second floor.

A Catholic priest says his congregation is praying for the thieves who stole the nearly 5-foot statue of the Virgin Mary from his Calgary, Alberta, church. Father Kevin Tumback of the Calgary Catholic Church said he discovered the statue was missing when he opened the church Sunday morning, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

A Florida woman said a man who hired her to be a caregiver for his special-needs brother posed as his fake sibling to receive care he did not need. Janet Schulte of Melbourne said her Craigslist posting for her child-care services yielded contact from a man looking for someone to take care of his brother, whom he described to her as in his 40s and suffering from injuries sustained during a car accident, including weak arms, poor bladder control and the mental capacity of a 5-year-old, Florida Today, Melbourne, Fla., reported Monday. Schulte said the man offered $600 a week to take care of his fictitious brother before assuming the identity of an invalid and coming under Schulte's care for six months.

A group of Florida boaters spear fishing and lobster diving said they received the shock of their lives when a bull shark jumped up on the deck of their vessel. Michael Powers said he and his friends were boating on a 21-foot vessel off Haulover Beach, Fla., Saturday when the 5 1/2 foot bull shark jumped onto the vessel, WSVN-TV, Miami, reported Monday. One minute it was in the air, the next minute it was in the boat just beating everything in God's creation, Powers said.

An Illinois man received a six-month contempt of court jail sentence for letting out a yawn as the judge was sentencing his cousin. Clifton Williams, 33, was at the fourth-floor courtroom at the Will County Courthouse in Joliet when he yawned audibly while Circuit Judge Daniel Rozak was sentencing his cousin to 2 years' probation on felony drug charges, the Chicago Tribune reported Monday. Williams, who was locked up July 23, was sentenced to six months in jail and must serve a minimum 21 days. I was flabbergasted because I didn't realize a judge could do that, Williams' father, Clifton Williams Sr., said.

A New York man said he was hit with a $95 ticket and a $185 tow fee after he parked and a city crew later moved a diplomat-only parking sign to his space. Shavit Mekeiten said he parked his car on East 41st Street near Second Avenue at 3:30 a.m.

Two Ohio women said they are offering a $100 reward for the safe return of a pet tortoise that escaped by burrowing under their backyard fence. Lisa Dupler and Nicole Zahrndt of North Linden said the foot-long tortoise, a male with the name of Ophelia, disappeared from their home Wednesday after digging two tunnels under the fence in their back yard, The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reported Monday. The pair said they have spread the word of their missing pet via more than 100 fliers and online postings to lost pet sites.

A Wisconsin couple said they have amassed a collection of six antique outhouses to adorn the exotic gardens at their home. Andrea and John Jaeger of the Town of Saukville said they purchased their first outhouse more than 20 years ago at a Mequon, Wis., auction for $5 and friends soon began bringing aged outhouses to their garden to turn the single accent piece into a full-fledged collection, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported Monday. We don't really want to collect them, John Jaeger said.

U.S. officials announced Monday at the 65th birthday of Smokey Bear in Washington that the anti-forest fire icon is going bilingual with a new book. The U.S.

Word of the Day
cock-a-hoop
  • Exultant; jubilant; triumphant; on the high horse.
  • Tipsy; slightly intoxicated.
This word may come from the phrase 'to set cock on hoop,' or 'to drink festively.' Its origin otherwise is unclear. A theory, according to the Word Detective, is that it's a 'transliteration of the French phrase 'coq a huppe,' meaning a rooster displaying its crest ('huppe') in a pose of proud defiance.' Therefore, 'cock-a-hoop' would 'liken a drunken man to a boastful and aggressive rooster.'
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