Odds & Ends
A giant tortoise that escaped from a zoo in Japan’s Okayama Prefecture and managed to elude capture for two weeks was found by a family—a mere 164 feet from the zoo’s entrance. According to the Shibukawa Animal Park in Tamano, a female Aldabra giant tortoise named Abu was found by a father and his teenage son around 2pm, Wednesday, Aug. 16, on top of a steep slope near the zoo’s entrance. Since escaping on Aug. 1, Abu had managed to get a mere 500 feet from her own enclosure. Zoo officials said the father and son will receive the $4,500 reward offered for information about the missing animal’s whereabouts. “I feel relieved,” zookeeper Yoshimi Yamane told The Japan Times. “From now on, we’ll make sure to take perfect care of our animals.” According to the zoo Abu was uninjured and healthy after her long journey.
An 84-year-old woman who lost her wedding ring on her family’s farm found it 13 years later—wrapped around a carrot. Mary Grams lost her wedding ring back in 2004 on her farm near Armena, southeast of Edmonton. “I went to the garden for something, and I saw this long weed. For some reason, I picked it up, and it must have caught on something and pulled [the ring] off,” she told Global News. Before she had a chance to look for it, Grams says her son Brian hollered that he needed a ride out to the fields to help with harvesting grain. Though she knew the general area in which the ring fell—near the potato patch—Grams was unable to find it when she returned. “Usually, when I lose something—I don’t want to brag, but I’m usually pretty lucky at finding things. But not this time. No luck this time, boy.” Grams eventually purchased a replacement ring—without her husband’s knowledge—and went on with her life. More than 13 years later, however, Mary’s son Brian—who now lives on and runs the farm—stumbled across something in his mother’s old garden. “My wife was digging for carrots for supper, and I guess she came up with a carrot that had something on it.” Brian’s wife thought the carrot was deformed and was going to throw it out, but she spotted a sparkle around the carrot’s middle. “She showed me this carrot and said, ‘Do you know anything about this?’ I said, ‘I think I do.’ ” Mrs. Gram’s granddaughter eventually brought the carrot over to her house and reunited the woman and her jewelry. The ring still fit. “Anything I do outside, I’m going to take it off and it’s going to stay,” pledged Gram. “I should’ve put it in a safe place in the first place, but I didn’t.”
Emergency responders in Modesto were called to the scene of a possible drowning—but instead of pulling a dead body out of the waterway, they found an undead body. According to the Sacramento Bee, firefighters responded on the afternoon of Thursday, Aug. 10, after an employee at E. & J. Gallo Winery spotted something floating in nearby Dry Creek. What looked like a human body turned out, however, to be a life-sized Dracula doll, complete with cape. The stuffed figure was waterlogged, but intact. Battalion Chief Randy Anderson told the newspaper, “For sure that’s a better outcome than having to pull somebody up who’s demised or injured.” No word on what the Modesto Fire Department will do with Dracula.
The Scottish indie pop band Belle and Sebastian nearly had to cancel a gig after forgetting their drummer at a North Dakota Walmart. At 9:23am on Tuesday, Aug. 15, frontman Stuart Murdoch tweeted to fans that drummer Richard Colburn had been left stranded as the band made its way to St. Paul’s Palace Theatre in Minnesota. “Shit, we left Richard in North Dakota,” Murdock wrote. “Anyone want to be a hero and get him to St. Paul, Minnesota somehow? The gig hangs in the balance.” Murdoch told 89.3 The Current in St. Paul that the band made an early morning pit stop at the Walmart in Dickinson, N.D. Unfortunately, only six out of seven band members made it back to the tour bus before it left. The drummer was stranded at the superstore in his pajamas, having left his phone and wallet on the bus. “He had a credit card, but he still sat in Walmart for four hours,” Murdoch told the radio station. “He was thinking ... somebody was going to notice.” Once the band finally did realize their drummer was missing, a series of frantic calls landed Colburn a taxi to the airport in Bismarck, where he was able to fly to the Twin Cities. Colburn made it to St. Paul just in time for the Tuesday night gig.