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 V.14 No.28 | July 14 - 20, 2005 

Odds & Ends

Scott Rickson

Dateline: Montenegro—In the Adriatic nation of Montenegro, a WWI soldier has been called upon to do his civic duty once again and perform jury service. Unfortunately, the gentleman in question died some 90 years ago. Had he survived the war, Jocko Popovic would have been 126 years old right now. The court in the town of Bar said that, since it had no record of his death, it assumed he was still alive and able to do jury duty. Popovic has no surviving relatives and it was left to local media to point out the court's error.

Dateline: England—A teenage sleepwalker woke up to find herself curled up atop a 130-foot crane in southeast London late last month. Emergency services were called to a building site in England's capital on June 25 after a passerby spotted the 15-year-old girl sleeping on top of the crane's concrete counterweight high above the ground. The teenager, who has not been named, apparently walked unnoticed from her home near the construction site in Dulwich. She then climbed up the crane and walked across a narrow metal beam while fast asleep. She was brought down in a hydraulic lift after a two-hour rescue operation. The girl was unharmed and was returned home after a hospital examination.

Dateline: Russia—He was a good student, but a bad drag queen. A Russian man who tried to take some university entrance exams for his sister was caught, in part because his breasts were too big. According to the Russian Interfax news agency, the young man was denied entrance to the exams to get into Moscow State University's journalism department. Yasen Zasursky, dean of the journalism department, said security staff paid particular attention to a girl with bright makeup and “especially outstanding feminine features.” A thorough examination of the “girl' revealed that she was, in fact, a guy in a dress trying to pass the exam for his sister. The dean said that security was especially suspicious because the applicant's breasts were of “incomparable proportions.” Initially, they thought that cheat notes could be hidden inside the woman's clothing, but--as it turned out--it was just a guy in an oversized bra. The young man was barred from the entry exam and his sister was struck from the university entrant list for cheating.

Dateline: Israel—A baker who vowed to take his famed cinnamon cake recipe to the grave kept his promise. Mourners of Jaakov Topor, 93, from Kibbutz Naan turned up at the funeral to find all the details for his dessert recipe etched onto the man's tombstone. “Everyone in the community had tried at one time or another to get the recipe out of him as it was a best seller, but he vowed he would never tell anyone while there was a breath in his body,” said Topor's grandson. Topor had kept the recipe--calling for flour, yeast, salt, eggs, sugar, margarine, milk and cinnamon--secret for more than 75 years.

Dateline: Pennsylvania—In other funeral-related news, a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan has kept his sporting zealously alive even in death. James Henry Smith, 55, of Pittsburgh died of prostate cancer last Thursday. Because his death wasn't unexpected, the family was able to accommodate his unusual last request. Mourners gathering at the Samuel E. Colston Funeral Home were able to view Smith in death as he was in life--propped up in front of the television watching a Steelers game. On the Tuesday night after Smith's death, the funeral home erected a small stage in the viewing room. Smith's body was sitting in a recliner, his feet crossed and a remote in his hand. He wore black and gold silk pajamas, slippers and a robe. A pack of cigarettes and a beer were close at hand, while a high-definition TV played a continuous loop of Steelers highlights. “I couldn't stop crying after looking at the Steelers blanket in his lap,” said his sister MaryAnn Nails, 58. “He loved football and nobody did [anything] until the game went off. It was just like he was at home.” Following the viewing, Smith was laid to rest in a traditional, non-football-related casket.

Dateline: Texas—Robert Guinther of Killeen thought he was entering a $10 online poker tournament. Unfortunately, the nonprofessional gambler accidentally clicked on a World Series of Poker satellite tournament with a $100 entry fee. Since the fee was nonrefundable, Guinther decided to go ahead with the tournament. He won, defeating 180 other competitors and earning a spot in the $10,000 no-limit championship in Las Vegas, Nev.

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

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