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 V.17 No.22 | May 29 - June 4, 2008 

Odds & Ends

Eric J. Garcia

Dateline: Japan--Yosuke the parrot, who recently flew out of his cage and got lost, was returned to his owners after doing exactly what he was trained to do--reciting his name and address to a stranger willing to help. Police rescued the African gray parrot three weeks ago from a neighbor’s roof in the city of Nagareyama, near Tokyo. After spending the night at the station, Yosuke was taken to a nearby veterinary hospital while police searched for clues. After a few days with the vet, his beak loosened up and he began chatting. “I’m Mr. Yosuke Nakamura,” the bird told the veterinarian, according to policeman Shinjiro Uemura. The parrot also provided his full home address, down to the street number. “We checked the address, and what do you know, a Nakamura family really lived there. So we told them we’ve found Yosuke,” Uemura said. The Nakamura family told police they had been teaching the bird its name and address for about two years. Though he spoke and even sang for veterinarians, Yosuke clammed up around the cops. “I tried talking to him, but he completely ignored me,” Uemura said.

Dateline: Romania--Two produce dealers who broke into a rival’s warehouse to steal his entire stock of grapes were caught after they hired three taxis to remove the massive haul. Police from Iasi county in eastern Romania spotted the three taxis traveling in convoy. When the vehicles were stopped, police saw nearly 1,300 pounds’ worth of ill-gotten grapes filling the trunks and interiors of the three vehicles. Greengrocers Ladislau Darocz and Florin Calin complained their rival, who had a larger store, was putting them out of business. The two now face charges of robbery.

Dateline: Mexico--Police in southern Mexico have thrown an unruly donkey in jail on charges of assault and battery. The animal was locked up at a local jail normally used to hold people for public drunkenness and other disturbances after it bit and kicked two men near a ranch in the state of Chiapas, police said last Monday. Officer Sinar Gomez told reporters the donkey will remain behind bars until its owner agrees to pay the men’s medical bills. “Around here, if someone commits a crime, they are jailed,” Gomez said. “No matter who they are.” The victims said the donkey bit Genaro Vasquez, 63, in the chest on Sunday and then kicked 52-year-old Andres Hernandez as he tried to come to the rescue, fracturing his ankle. Police said it took a half-dozen men to control the enraged burro. The burro’s owner, Mauro Gutierrez, said he would try to reach a friendly agreement to pay the men’s bills, estimated at $420. This is not the first time Chiapas police have thrown animals in the slammer. In March, a bull served time for devouring corn crops and destroying two wooden vending stalls. In 2006, a dog was locked up for 12 days after biting someone. His owners were fined $18.

Dateline: Minnesota--Last week, the Bloomington-based health care nonprofit HealthPartners unveiled its new mascot, a 6-foot, 11-inch walking vial of urine. Petey P. Cup is designed to appeal to a younger demographic that understands irony, YouTube and social networking. The plush-covered graduated cylinder even has his own Facebook profile, which claims he enjoys watching “Grey’s Anatomy,” listening to Coldplay and assisting in urinalysis, drug testing and pregnancy tests. HealthPartners is using the new mascot to persuade 40 percent of its clinic patients to sign up for a new website service that will allow them to schedule appointments, access medical records and consult with doctors from their computer.

Dateline: Colorado--Two men, fighting over a parking space, got into a Taser duel outside a Boulder restaurant last Saturday. A police report said Harvey Epstein, co-owner of Mamacitas restaurant, and Casey M. Dane, a supervisor at Colorado Security Services, Inc., were arguing over a metal boot that one of Dane’s guards had clamped on a wheel of a van parked behind Mamacitas. Dane told police he was afraid Epstein was going to hit him with a 2-foot-long pair of bolt cutters. Epstein told police he had only tried to remove the boot with the bolt cutters and hadn’t threatened anyone. The guard claimed the van, owned by a Mamacitas employee, was improperly parked on property he was hired to patrol. The van owner denied that. The argument escalated with both Epstein and Dane pulling out their Tasers. “They shot at each other,” Police Sgt. Pat Wynton told the Daily Camera newspaper. “It was just kind of a boneheaded deal.” Officers said neither man needed medical attention after the shocking confrontation. Epstein was arrested on suspicion of felony menacing and using a stun gun.

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

 

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