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 V.14 No.4 | January 27 - February 2, 2005 

Odds & Ends

Scott Rickson

Dateline: England—A village in Cambridgeshire has decided to celebrate its history by erecting a five-foot-tall statue of dinosaur poo. According to London's Daily Telegraph, parish council members in Bassingbourn chose the $15,000 bronze sculpture in a competition. It beat rivals including a sculpture of one of the World War II bombers the flew from a local airfield. Fossilized dinosaur droppings, known as coprolite, brought wealth to the area late in the 19th century. “It's an excellent idea; unusual and very imaginative,” said Jack White, the parish council chairman. “Something like a bomber, which used to fly out of here in the war, would have been too obvious.” The winning design came from David Billings, a former teacher at Bassingbourn Village College, who described his design thusly: “The idea is to have a heap of muck on top of a plinth.”

Dateline: England—A soccer club in England has adopted as its new mascot a goldfish found on the Brunton Park playing field following major floods in the area. Judy the fish was found swimming in a shallow puddle as the field was being pumped dry. “After being knocked off the sideboard, Judy was carried along with the floodwater to the bottom corner of the pitch where water was being pumped away,” Emma Story, daughter of club owner Fred Story, told BBC online. “We managed to win the match against Redditch on Sunday, and the fans began to say the fish represented the fighting spirit of the club.” Judy's owner, 4-year-old Ashleigh Turk, has agreed to donate the goldfish to the Carlisle United team. Ashleigh's mother, Jenny Elliot, who responded to an appeal from the club, confirmed she had positively identified Judy from a distinctive black mark on her tail.

Dateline: China—Postmark: Antarctica. China is allegedly considering plans to open a post office in Antarctica after several trial deliveries. The state-run Xinhua news agency reported that the Beijing International Post Office plans to send an official to the Great Wall research station near the South Pole to investigate if there is a need for such a service. If it is decided to proceed with the service, it will soon be possible to send a letter to Antarctica from any post office in China. Xinhua did not specify why such a service might be considered necessary.

Dateline: Germany—A secondary school in Germany has come under fire for charging its students to use the toilet. The “pay to pee” scheme came to light after a recent renovation at the school in Sprockhoevel. Students can allegedly choose to use the old bathrooms for free or pay 10 nets to use a new luxury toilet with marble basins. Marcel Hafke, a member of the Young Liberals in the province, has called for an end to the policy. He described the toilet toll as “heartless” and said, “Second-class peeing should not be allowed.”

Dateline: Washington—According to Washington state's Columbian newspaper, an unnamed 26-year-old man stole a delivery truck from a shopping center in Vancouver, where it had been left with the engine running. Unfortunately, the thief was undone by his own thirst. Somewhere down the road, the man picked up what he thought was a soft drink cup and swigged it down. Unfortunately, it was the truck driver's tobacco-spit cup. The thief started choking on the chewing tobacco-laced sputum and had to stop to call 911 for medical help. Meanwhile, the driver, who had left the vehicle to wash his hands, returned to see someone driving off in the truck. He called police who quickly apprehended the gagging thief.

Dateline: Milwaukee—A man with a self-described obsession for doorknobs has been charged with stealing tools, materials and other items from several construction sites in and around Port Washington. According to a criminal complaint filed last Wednesday in Ozaukee County Circuit Court, Thor Jeffrey Steven Laufer, 42, told police that he stole the items from the construction sites to disguise his obsession and “so that it would look like a typical burglary rather than someone just stealing doorknobs.” Laufer has been charged with six counts of felony burglary his latest crime spree. If convicted he could be imprisoned for 12-and-a-half years and fined $25,000 on each count. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Laufer is also facing charges in Milwaukee County for embarking on a similar spree in Franklin during the same time period. In the earlier criminal complaint, filed in December, Laufer told police he did not sell the doorknobs, as he did the other items, but kept them for his personal collection. In one instance, Laufer stole 25 doorknobs and handles, most of which had already been installed, from a single home. In a preliminary hearing waiver form signed by Laufer, he stated that he had been committed to mental institutions or declared mentally ill or incompetent “numerous times.”

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to devin@alibi.com.

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