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 V.16 No.3 | January 18 - 24, 2007 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: China--The People’s Republic of China is celebrating the Year of the Pig by releasing a stamp that tastes like sweet and sour pork. The stamps went on sale recently to mark the start of the New Year, designated by Chinese astrology as the Year of the Pig. When scratched, the stamps smell like the popular dish, and when licked, the back of the stamps taste like it as well. Chinese New Year officially begins Feb. 18.

Dateline: England--The Daily Record reports that a flatulent turtle set off an aquarium’s fire alarm after being fed a Christmas treat of Brussels sprouts. The amphibian apparently broke wind and set off an emergency sensor inside its tank at the Sea Life Centre in Weymouth, Dorset, the day after Christmas. The sensor indicated the water was at a dangerously high level, so marine biologist Sarah Leaney rushed to the aquarium. “When I got there,” she told the paper, “all seemed fine. I looked at the tube containing the sensor and saw a turtle beneath it. As I watched, a few large bubbles emerged from beneath him and rose to the surface next to the tube. Straight away, I realized what must have happened. We give all our animals a treat at Christmas and sprouts are a really healthy choice for sea turtles.” Leaney did admit, however, that the vegetables “do produce similar side-effects to those experienced by humans who eat too many sprouts.”

Dateline: England--Workers demolishing the famous Big Dipper roller coaster at Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach amusement park believe they have found an earring lost by actress Marlene Dietrich 73 years ago. According to the Sun newspaper, the pearl-and-gold earring fell off as Dietrich took a ride on the Big Dipper back in 1934. The Hollywood legend was being shown around the park by its chairman Leonard Thompson. After she realized it was missing, Dietrich wrote to Mr. Thompson asking for a search of the park. It remained lost for more than seven decades, however, until workers drained the old log flume lake to make way for a new ride called Infusion. Officials have compared the earring to pictures taken at the time of Dietrich’s visit, and believe they have a match. “It appears to have stood the test of time quite well,” said a Pleasure Beach spokesperson. In addition to the earring, workers also found three sets of false teeth, a glass eye, a bedraggled toupee and a bra. “It has been a real eye-opener as to what people lose when they are having fun,” the spokesperson said.

Dateline: Washington, D.C.--A naked construction worker fell about four stories to his death early last Saturday at the work site for a new downtown museum, police and fire officials reported. Joseph Oliver, 23, was discovered about 6 a.m. in the basement elevator shaft area of the Newseum, which is being built at 555 Pennsylvania NW. Authorities said it was unclear why he was naked. Police said foul play does not seem to have been involved, but officials are awaiting a ruling from the D.C. medical examiner’s office. Oliver was employed by Otis Elevator Co., a subcontractor installing the Newseum’s elevator system. “The body was unclothed, which raised concerns in our mind about what transpired,” Bill Brennan, an executive vice president with Turner Construction, told the Washington Post. Oliver’s clothes and personal belongings were found on the fourth floor of the construction project.

Dateline: Pennsylvania--A college student arrested and jailed for three weeks on drug charges for what turned out to be flour-filled condoms has settled a lawsuit against the city of Philadelphia for $180,000. Janet H. Lee was a freshman at Bryn Mawr College in 2003 when she tried to take three condoms filled with flour in her carry-on bag on a flight to Los Angeles. The condoms were a toy that freshmen at the women’s college would squeeze to deal with exam stress. She said she thought the toys were funny and packed them to show friends back home. Unfortunately, they were discovered by airport screeners. Police said field tests showed the condoms likely contained opium and cocaine. Lee was held for 21 days on drug trafficking charges until a later test finally showed she was telling the truth. Lee’s lawyer, Jeffrey Ibrahim, said the field test should not have shown drugs. “Under the circumstances, something went terribly wrong,” Ibrahim said. Lynne Sitarski, a lawyer for the city, said the city was not admitting wrongdoing or liability in settling the case before it went to trial.

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

 
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