Odds & Ends
Dateline: England—A British auction house is preparing to sell off Saddam Hussein’s giant bronze buttock. Nigel Ely, a British Special Air Service soldier, collected the approximately 2-foot-by-2-foot replica of Hussein’s hiney while working as a journalist in 2003. The metal fragment comes from a famed statue of Saddam Hussein, toppled by American troops during the invasion of Iraq. “When we arrived in Firdos Square in the heart of Baghdad, the statue had just been toppled and the U.S. Marines had erected a cordon of tanks to guard the square,” Ely told the BBC. “But I wanted a piece of the statue—and when I mentioned to the Marines that I was an old soldier and with the press they told me, ‘No problem, buddy—help yourself’.” Ely, who chose one of the statue’s choicest bits as his souvenir, says he plans to donate proceeds from the auction to helping injured American and British servicemen. The bronze replica of the Iraqi tyrant’s tush is expected to go up for auction at Hanson Auctioneers in Derbyshire on Oct. 27.
Dateline: England—In September, explosives experts were called to the Isle of Sheppey in Kent to remove 26 bombs, including two submarine depth charges and at least six 10-pound mortar bombs, that washed up on a nude beach. Then, earlier this month, the British Navy located another 61 bombs along the small stretch of sand known as Leysdown Beach. Some of the 87 pieces of ordinance unearthed—ranging from depth charges to bullets—date back to the late 19th century. North Kent coast guard manager Colin Irwin, who oversaw the Navy’s controlled explosions, told the U.K.’s Telegraph, “It was quite a find.” According to Irwin, “A lot of shooting and plane exercises happened around Leysdown. Sometimes the shells wouldn’t go off when dropped from a plane or shot from a rifle, but be cushioned by the mud and not explode.” Leysdown Beach is a longtime English tourist attraction. In addition, according to the U.K. Naturist Fact File, the East side of Leysdown is a popular nudist beach in daily “regular use by 20-30 naturists, with up to 100 on busy weekends.”
Dateline: Massachusetts—A terrified family of four called 911 on their cell phone after getting lost in a Halloween-themed corn maze. Police in Danvers say they got a distress call from a mother at around 6:32 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 9. The woman told the 911 operator she and her family were trapped in the Connors Farm corn maze, just outside Salem. “We thought this would be fun. Instead it’s a nightmare. I don’t know what made us do this,” the frantic woman told 911. According to the Danvers Herald, police were dispatched to the farm to locate the woman, her husband and two small children, including a three-week-old baby. Within nine minutes of their arrival, police and a tracking dog located the disoriented family inside the seven-acre maze. Witnesses say the family was found right near the exit of the maze, just 25 feet from the street. It’s unclear how long the family spent wandering the carved cornfield. Farm owner Bob Connor told reporters it typically takes visitors an hour to navigate the maze, which has been carved to resembles the Headless Horseman. “People like to take their time and we don’t like to rush people out of the maze,” Connor was quoted as saying on msnbc.com. “We like to give people their money’s worth.”
Dateline: Illinois—In a suspicious move, a St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department records clerk tried to get a speeding ticket dismissed by faxing a request directly to Centreville Village Attorney Carmen Durso. Unfortunately, records clerk Joann Reed accidentally faxed her handwritten request to the local newspaper instead. A copy of a Centreville Police Department ticket was included with a three-page note indicating, “This guy is the son of one of our deputies,” and ordering Durso to “dismiss this case.” Asked about the errant fax by the suddenly curious newspaper, Reed replied, “Guilty. Period.” Reed tried to tell the reporter the ticket wasn’t actually issued to the son of a county deputy, and that she only wrote that to “make sure” the ticket was dismissed. An investigation by the Belleville News-Democrat, however, confirmed 18-year-old Jonathon Yates—issued a $175 ticket for driving 43 in a 20 mph zone—is the son of St. Clair County Sheriff's Deputy Cerether White. For his part, Durso told the paper, “I get these calls all the time.” Despite what people think, the village attorney says he does not have the power to dismiss violations of state law such as speeding tickets. Sheriff Mearl Justus, who employs both Reed and White, has promised an investigation into the incident. “If she has to be disciplined, she’ll be disciplined,” said Sheriff Justus.