Dateline: Australia--Santas in Australia’s largest city have been told not to use St. Nicholas’ traditional “ho, ho, ho” greeting because it may be offensive to women. Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reported last Thursday that streetcorner Santa Clauses have been instructed to say “ha, ha, ha” instead. One rather unjolly Santa told the newspaper a recruitment firm wanted him not to use the traditional greeting because it might frighten children and was too close to “ho,” the American slang for prostitute. “Gimme a break,” Julie Gale, who runs the campaign against sexualizing children called Kids Free 2B Kids, told the newspaper. “We’re talking about little kids who do not understand that ‘ho, ho, ho’ has any other connotation, nor should they.” An Australian spokesperson for the U.S.-based Westaff recruiting firm said it was “misleading” to say the company had censored the dialogue of its Santas. The “ho/ha” substitution was being left up to the discretion of the individial Santas.
Dateline: Alaska--Della Miller, 73, plowed her 2006 GMC Envoy through the front window of Tina’s Hair Pros Salon in Soldotna last Wednesday morning, knocking one customer across the room and causing $15,000 worth of damage. But at least she didn’t miss her hair-styling appointment. After the injured were taken to the hospital and the vehicle hauled off, Miller proceeded with her hair appointment, Alaska’s Peninsula Clarion reported. Although two large plate-glass windows were destroyed, walls damaged, the stonework front outside the salon smashed and some hot water heating pipes wrecked, local police did not cite Miller because the accident took place on private property.
Dateline: New York--One week after unveiling the world’s most expensive dessert--a $25,000 ice cream sundae made with rare imported cocoa and five grams of edible gold shavings--upscale Manhattan eatery Serendipity 3 was shut down by city health inspectors for numerous health code violations. Officials closed the restaurant last Wednesday night after it failed its second inspection in a month. “Both inspections revealed rodent and fly infestation and conditions conducive to pest infestation, including stagnant water in the basement,” the department said in a statement. At least one live mouse, more than 100 cockroaches and countless flies of the house and fruit variety were spotted by the health inspector. The previous Wednesday, Serendipity 3’s “Frrrozen Haute Chocolate” was declared the world’s most expensive dessert by Guinness world record executives.
Dateline: Washington--A man attempting to loosen a stubborn lug nut on his car’s rear wheel resorted to using a 12-gauge shotgun. Surprisingly (or not, actually), the shotgun pellets ricocheted off the car’s wheel, peppering both of the 66-year-old repairman’s legs with buckshot and debris. Both of his legs were severely damaged and he suffered injuries as high as his chin, according to a sheriff’s office report. The 66-year-old had apparently spent the last two weeks repairing a Lincoln Continental at his home northwest of Southworth, about 10 miles southwest of Seattle. The man had removed all but one of the lug nuts on the car’s right rear wheel by Saturday afternoon, Kitsap County Deputy Scott Wilson told reporters. “He’s bound and determined to get that lug nut off,” Wilson said. “Nobody else was involved and he wasn’t intoxicated.” The man was taken to Tacomoa General Hospital. His injuries were not described as life-threatening.
Dateline: California--According to a Los Angeles Times report, workers at Disneyland’s popular “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride were forced to shut down the attraction after a guest was spotted sprinkling an unidentified substance into the water. Disney quickly dismissed the incident and Anaheim police decided not to take a report because they lacked a good description of the female suspect. Within hours of last Friday’s incident, however, online columnists and bloggers who track news from the park said they were recieving e-mails from Disney employees claiming the episode was a case of someone surreptitiously scattering human ashes. Disney officials told the Times they were unaware of any confirmed ash-scattering incidents in the park, but anonymous employees claim the practice is becoming increasingly common. It is a misdemeanor violation of California’s Health and Safety Code to scatter human ashes on private property, although officials say the ashes pose no human health threat.