Dateline: England—Housing developers in Britain have come up with a novel way to move their merchandise: Buy a house, get a free pig. Property developer Jeremy Paxton has promised to supply a fully house-trained Gloucester Old Spot pig to anyone investing in a home on the exclusive Lower Mill estate, near Cirencester, Gloucestershire, southwest England. “It will make a change from having a labrador,” a spokesperson said. The unusual offer has already attracted two new homeowners.
Dateline: Serbia—Organizers of the annual World Testicle Cooking Championship were left hanging after a celebrity entrant from Australia proved to be a hoax. A man claiming to be “Nibel Bevan,” Australia's top testicle chef, called up the championship in Serbia and asked to participate. Organizer Gornji Milanovac said they imported kangaroo testicles especially for the Australian team, but nobody showed up. “The caller told us cooked kangaroo testicles were a popular delicacy in Australia and gave us the details of where we could get kangaroo testicles from so we could have them ready when Mr. Bevan and his team arrived,” said Milanovac. “We were disappointed when no Australians arrived. We even had a band ready for them.” Ljubomir Erovic of the Serbian Tourism Board, which arranged a VIP reception for the ballsy pranksters, still seemed interested in the prospect. “We are very sorry Mr. Bevan could not make it, and hope he might turn up next year once he realizes that jokers have been pretending to be him,” said Erovic. “We would like to compare the testicles of a kangaroo to those of wild boars and bulls. That would really make our unique competition the World Championships.”
Dateline: Australia—Prison officials in New South Wales say that a recent crackdown on smuggling has uncovered copious amounts of contraband food. Everything from steaks to rice cookers has been confiscated from inmates and visitors. One package, thrown over a wall into the Parramatta Prison located in a Western suburb of Sydney, contained nine lamb chops and 2.2 pounds of steak. “Prison food is not that bad,” insisted NSW state Corrective Services Commander of Security Investigations Brian Kelley.
Dateline: Japan—The popularity of an obscure French cheese has soared in Japan after it was insulted on TV by a leading ruling party politician. The incident started in early August when Yoshiro Mori, a former prime minister, met with current Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in a last-ditch effort to persuade him not to dissolve parliament and call for snap elections. Following the evening meeting at Koizumi's official residence, Mori told reporters that the prime minister had only offered beer and cheesy snacks. Long-standing Japanese customs of political hospitality typically mandate a more lavish welcome. “He gave me some foreign beer and some dried-out cheese, so hard you couldn't bite into it,” an angry Mori said in widely televised remarks while holding up a crumpled beer can and a thin slice of orange-brown cheese. Cheese lovers nationwide recognized the thin slice as a piece of Mimolette, a firm French cheese whose flavor increases as it ages and hardens. Aficionados say the harder it gets, the tastier it is, with older versions commanding high prices. Now the maligned cheese is enjoying brisk sales at Japanese gourmet food stores. “Sales of Mimolette have really taken off,” said a spokesperson at a downtown Tokyo branch of Takashimaya, a major department store chain. Sales for the foreign fromage are reportedly up threefold in the last month.
Dateline: Alaska—The way Yale Metzger sees it, the Anchorage Police Department owes him one cannonball. The way the Anchorage Police Department sees it, Yale Metzger is “an idiot.” Metzger told the Anchorage Daily Press that he called police last week to have them examine a cannonball that he found while excavating property he bought in Cordova last summer. Metzger, 45, has had the cannonball rolling around in the back of his pickup truck for a year now. Once the cannonball made its way to downtown Anchorage, Metzger became concerned that the item could still be active. He wanted to know if the 4-inch, 8-pound cast-iron ball was solid or hollow, and if it was hollow, if it was packed with volatile black powder. So he called police. Much to his chagrin, the bomb squad showed up at his house, hauled the cannonball away with a remote-controlled robot and blew it up at the Anchorage landfill. Metzger now wants police to buy him a new cannonball on eBay. Sgt. Jeff Morton told the newspaper that a secondary explosion occurred and a different color smoke blew out, proving the cannonball was filled with black powder. “We're not going to put a bomb technician's life in jeopardy over a cannonball or anything else,” Morton said. He also called Metzger “an idiot” for bringing the bomb into town and for questioning bomb experts' decision to destroy it.