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 V.16 No.28 | July 12 - 18, 2007 

Odds & Ends

Eric J. Garcia

Dateline: NepalA Far Eastern goddess has been stripped of her divinity for visiting the United States. Ten-year-old Sajani Shakya was installed at the age of 2 as Kumari of the ancient town of Bhaktapur, near Katmandu. The position made her one of Nepal’s top three goddesses, revered by both Hindus and Buddhists, reports London’s Daily Mirror. But a recent trip to promote a U.K.-made documentary on Nepal’s traditions and political turmoil has upset local religious leaders, who believe the Western visit tainted the Kumari’s purity. “It is wrong and against tradition for her to go on a foreign tour without permission,” Bhaktapur temple official Jai Prasad Regmi said. “We will search for new Kumari and install her as the living goddess.” The Kumari are virgin goddesses believed to inhabit human form until menstruation.

Dateline: BulgariaA university professor has promised to give his students A grades if they write about Angelina Jolie’s boobs and buy a copy of his new book. Professor Stefan Karastoyanov, of the Geology and Geography Department of Sofia University, made the promise as a protest after the university neglected to pay him for three months due to cash problems. According to news reports, 80 of the 120 students in Karastoyanov’s classes have already ordered his book.

Dateline: NigeriaThe price of machetes in some areas of the West Coast African nation of Nigeria has been slashed by as much as 50 percent after a steep drop in demand by political thugs. The price cut comes at the tail end of the African nation’s general election, which saw at least 200 politically motivated deaths in the months leading up to it. “Before the conduct of the general elections, I was selling a minimum of seven machetes daily, but can hardly sell one a day now," Usman Masi, a trader, was quoted by the state-owned News Agency of Nigeria as saying. NAN surveyed prices in the northeastern state of Gombe and found that a good quality machete was now selling for 400 naira (about $3) compared with 800 naira (about $6) before the elections, which were marred by politically motivated violence in many states.

Dateline: ArizonaWho would carjack the Wienermobile? An Arizona highway patrolman pulled over the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile last week, believing the iconic, hot dog-shaped vehicle to be stolen. At the time, the Wienermobile was on the road for a promotion in which contestants sing the Oscar Mayer jingle for a shot at appearing in a commercial and winning “American Idol” tickets. The 27-foot-long, 11-foot-tall hot dog on wheels was in a construction zone on Interstate 10 in downtown Tucson last Wednesday morning, slowing traffic. Officer Korey Lankow caught up to it and ran its “YUMMY” license plate to make sure it was street legal. The plate came back as stolen. Lankow pulled over the Wienermobile, and two more officers arrived to help. It was eventually determined that the Wienermobile’s license plate had gone missing in Columbia, Mo., back in February. The loss was reported and the plate was eventually replaced. Oscar Mayer representatives notified the Missouri police about the replacement, but the plate was obviously still listed as stolen. The drivers of the Wienermobile handed out hot dog whistles and took pictures with the officers. They were eventually released.

Dateline: MichiganA state forensic scientist who said she tested her husband’s underwear for DNA to find out if he was having sex with another woman is being investigated to determine whether she violated policies banning the use of state equipment for personal reasons. Ann Chamberlain-Gordon of Okemos testified in March 7 divorce hearings that she ran the test last September on the underwear of Charles Gordon, Jr. to find out if he was cheating on her. Asked by his attorney what she found, she answered, “Another female. It wasn’t me.” Gordon, a defensive back who played in the Canadian Football League throughout the ’90s, denied his wife’s accusations that he admitted to the infidelity after being presented with DNA evidence. Now the Michigan State Police, which overseas the Lansing forensics laboratory where Chamberlain-Gordon works, is conducting an internal investigation to decide whether disciplinary actions should be taken. Chamberlain-Gordon insists she performed the test on her own time with expired chemicals.

Dateline: IllinoisPolice in suburban Chicago tracked down a 4-year-old girl who dialed 911 nearly 300 times in the last month using a discarded cell phone. Unbeknownst to her mother, the girl used a deactivated cellphone to call Carpentersville dispatchers 287 times in Junesometimes as often as 20 times a shift. “We asked [the caller] what she wanted. She said she wanted McDonald’s," Steve Cordes, executive director of QuadCom's emergency center, told the Elgin Courier News. “We talked with her and we convinced her if she told us where she lives, we would bring her McDonald’s,” he said. “She finally gave us her address. So we sent the police overwith no McDonald’s.” After police arrived, the girl’s mother took away the phone, Cordes said.

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

 

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