Odds & Ends
DATELINE: RUSSIA—Officials in the province of Ulyanovsk are giving away prizes, including a refrigerator and an all-terrain vehicle, for its most fertile couples. Sept. 12 was officially “Family Contact Day” and was designed by Gov. Sergei Morozov as a way of “encouraging procreation.” A series of concerts and exhibitions were organized to promote family values and employers were encouraged to give workers a discretionary day off in order to, well, procreate their brains out. The event was timed precisely nine months ahead of next year’s Constitution Day so that mothers “ideally should give birth on June 12,” a spokesperson for the administration told England’s The Sun. Mothers who pop buns out of their ovens on the magic date will be included in a drawing for fabulous free prizes. Not all the locals were enthusiastic about the idea, though. Human rights activist Alexander Bragin complained, “We’ve already sunk to the level where the governor is ordering us on what day to conceive a child and on what day to give birth.”
DATELINE: ENGLAND—An 18-year-old burglar who vandalized a children’s summer camp was caught after he wrote his name on a wall at the scene. Peter Addison, of Heaton Mersey, Stockport, and his friend Mark Ridgeway of Poynton, Cheshire, smashed dishes and set off fire extinguishers at the Toc H center in Adlington, Cheshire. Addison defaced several posters and scrawled his gang’s name—the Adlington Massiv!—on the wall in black permanent marker. He also left behind the message “Peter Addison was here.” Police found the criminal genius by entering his name into their computer. “The crime is up there with the dumbest of all in the criminal league table. There are some pretty stupid criminals around, but to leave your name at the scene of the crime takes the biscuit,” Inspector Gareth Woods of Cheshire police told BBC News. “The daftness of this lad certainly made our job a lot easier.” Addison was ordered to pay nearly $1,500 in compensation and to perform 60 hours community service.
DATELINE: MICHIGAN—The body of a suicidal but industrious 41-year-old man was discovered in a wooded area next to a guillotine he had built and used to kill himself. The body was discovered last Monday in the Detroit suburb of Melvindale by workers from a shopping center near the man’s home. Allan Park Deputy Police Chief Dale Covert said the roughly 6-foot-tall guillotine was bolted to a tree and included a working swing arm. Covert said police also found several store receipts listing the materials used to assemble the device. “I can’t even tell you how long it must have taken him to construct,” Covert told reporters. “This man obviously was very determined to end his life.”
DATELINE: WISCONSIN—An 80-year-old driver crashed his SUV into a Burger King in downtown Wausau last Wednesday—for the second time. At about 3 p.m., Rouland Steppert crashed his Lincoln Aviator into the restaurant at 300 N. Sixth Street. “The old guy just pulled up in his SUV and all of a sudden he hit the handicapped sign first and then right up into the building and just crashed,” Jennifer Sparks, who was seated inside the restaurant several feet away from the impact, told the Wausau Daily Herald. Steppert was not injured in the crash, but a man inside the restaurant near Sparks was hospitalized. He was not directly injured in the crash but is believed to have suffered some sort of seizure as a result. Police Chief Jeff Hardel said Steppert crashed into the exact same Burger King on Oct. 15, 2005.
DATELINE: FLORIDA—A waiter who was sacked for stopping an armed robber has been inundated with new job offers. Juan Carnales, 42, lost his job at a Thai restaurant in Fort Lauderdale last week after his boss got tired of the media attention his employee was receiving. “I just felt bad for him because here is a guy who does the right thing and he gets fired for it,” Peggy Talerico of All Atlas Roofing told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Canales was fired earlier this month after subduing a knife-wielding robber who tried to steal a Honda car from a female customer. He disarmed the man and, with the help of three other men, managed to hold the robber down until police arrived. Mr. Canales spoke to police and the media afterward, but was fired when he returned to work after the lunch shift. “The owner got belligerent” about all the attention his scuffle with the carjacker generated, Canales said. Even so, Canales said he would “do it again because it was the right thing to do.”
Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to firstname.lastname@example.org.