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 V.21 No.26 | June 28 - July 4, 2012 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: China

Residents in rural China are red-faced after the rare double-headed mushroom they unearthed turned out to be a rubber sex toy. Villagers in Liucunbu, outside the western Chinese city of Xi’an, discovered the oddly shaped object while drilling a new well. “When we dug down to about 80 meters deep, we fished out this long, fleshy object,” one of the villagers told television reporter Ye Yunfeng. Ye, of the news program “Xi’an Up Close,” filed a report from the village and appeared similarly perplexed by the item. “We can see there is something like a mouth, and on the other side there is a hole that connects all the way through to the other end. It is very smooth. It feels very much like meat.” Villagers reportedly determined the item was a rare shelf fungus known as lingzhiprized for its legendary ability to impart immortality. “When the Emperor Qin Shi Huang was on the hunt for the secret to longevity, it is said he discovered this lingzhi was the answer,” said Ye. After her report aired, however, many viewers called the television station to identify the “mushroom” as a silicone sex toy. The next day, the Xi’an news station posted an apology on Sina Weibo, a Chinese blogging website, expressing regret for the “uncomfortable and misleading” report. “Our reporter is very young and sheltered,” said the station by way of explanation.

Dateline: Michigan

Detroit resident Ronald Page must have thought he hit the jackpot when Bank of America inadvertently changed his checking account status, allowing him to withdraw unlimited funds from an ATM. Unfortunately, he didn’t hit the literal jackpot, gambling away more than $1.5 million of the bank’s money at area casinos. Between late 2008 and early 2009, Page used the technical glitch to pull $1,543,104 from the bankdespite the fact that he only had $300 in his checking account. The day that the error first cropped up, for example, Page withdrew $312,000 from the ATMs at the Greektown Casino and $51,727 from ATMs at the MGM Grand Casino. The bank put a hold on Page’s account 17 days later. By that time, however, the retired General Motors worker had already racked up a seven-digit loss at the gambling tables. Page pled guilty to charges of theft of bank funds and could face 15 months in jail. Prosecutors have called his crime a “lapse in judgment” and have placed some of the blame on BofA for allowing the withdrawals in the first place. In addition to the jail sentence, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has suggested Page repay the funds and be prohibited from gambling in any capacity. “If his gambling addiction is not addressed, he is very likely to cause further financial hardship to himself and his family,” read the U.S. Attorney’s sentencing memorandum.

Dateline: Ohio

The Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Bandit has struck again. And again and again and again. Northern Ohio’s Morning Journal reports that a thief is regularly targeting a Sunoco gas station 30 miles west of Cleveland in the city of Lorain. Employees aren’t even sure how many times he’s hit the place, but they do know his favorite chocolate-and-peanut-butter treat is flying off the shelves at an alarming rate. According to employees, the Bandit has stolen between four and six hundred dollars’ worth of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in the last couple of months. “This is a constant problem at Sunoco and it usually happens after midnight,” a clerk at the store told police. Owners even installed a security camera, but have been unable to stop the sweet-toothed snatcher. The Bandit appeared most recently on the night of June 19 around 1 a.m. A clerk leaped over the counter and tried to block his exit, but the thief pushed past him, taking a bag of chips in addition to peanut butter cups. The Bandit is described as a black male, approximately 18 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall, 140 pounds, wearing all black clothing.

Dateline: California

A Marin County man is suing the California Department of Fish and Game after he says a “mismanaged” deer attacked him. According to Thadeusz Wyrzykowski’s handwritten court filing, the Bolinas resident suffered injuries from falling into a window after a wild deer jumped into his fenced yard and “attacked me (twice) on a narrow path.” Wyrzykowski is suing for unspecified damages because, as he states in his document, the wildlife department “mismanaged negligently its animal.” According to the Marin Independent Journal, Wyrzykowski filed another handwritten lawsuit in federal court last year against the Marin County Assessor-Recorder’s Office. That office had been trying to collect overdue property taxes from Wyrzykowski, who refused to pay because he is an “independent dignity ambassador” and an “orator/scholar/artist.” Deputy County Counsel Edward Kiernan said Wyrzykowski’s previous suit was full of “nonsensical, irrelevant non sequiturs” as well as “legally meaningless and pointless facts.” That suit was dismissed in court. A case management conference for the mismanaged deer lawsuit has been scheduled for Oct. 19.

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

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