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 V.13 No.35 | August 26 - September 1, 2004 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Romania—A justifiably superstitious man, who refused to leave his house on Friday the 13th, died after being stung by a wasp in his own kitchen. Police in Cluj, central Romania, said that Florin Carcu, 54, had gone so far as to call in to work and ask his boss for permission not to go to work that day. “It was the strangest request I've ever received, but I ended up giving him permission to stay at home because he seemed to be really scared of something bad happening to him on that day,” Carcu's boss, Gheorghe Dosma, told the press. Doctors from the emergency services in Cluj said Carcu had been making coffee when he was stung by a species of wasp nicknamed “the wolf.” The insect is quite rare in Romania and its sting is poisonous. The unlucky Carcu died instantly.

Dateline: England—A Bedfordshire man recently received a letter from an insurance company addressed to “Mr. A. Shagslikeadonkey.” The letter to Nick Mann was signed by the Prudential company's marketing chief Andy Lucas. The letter began, “Dear Mr. Shagslikeadonkey, Moving your home insurance to Prudential could save you about £80 ...” According to the Sun newspaper, the letter was sent to Mr. Mann's home in Leighton Buzzard by insurance firm Churchill, which underwrites Prudential policies. A Prudential spokesman said the name was put in the system years ago by a prankster who has since left the firm. “One individual let us down,” said the spokesman. “We'll review our safeguards.”

Dateline: Brazil—A Brazilian veterinarian is now offering plastic surgery for vain pets. “Beauty is something desirable,” Rio de Janeiro-based bet Edgard Brito told Las Ultimas Noticias. “We all like to talk to someone who looks good. It is the same for dogs.” Brito offers wrinkle removal, ear correction, face lifts and even Botox injections for his canine clients. Prices for treatment start at $30.

Scott Rickson

Dateline: Washington—A black bear in Washington state is sure to have a bear of a hangover after passing out drunk at a local campground. “We noticed a bear sleeping on the common lawn and wondered what was going on until we discovered that there were a lot of beer cans lying around,” said Lisa Broxson, a worker at the Baker Lake Resort, 80 miles northeast of Seattle. The beer-guzzling bear, estimated to be about 2 years old, had broken into campers' coolers and stolen several cases of beer. Using his claws and teeth, the animal opened and downed some 36 beers. The bear sampled some Busch beer, but quickly switched to locally brewed Rainier Beer as his drink of choice. Wildlife agents chased the inebriated bear away, but he returned the next day for some hair of the dog. Eventually, a cage trap was set using some doughnuts and two cans of Rainier Beer. The bear was quickly captured and transported to another location.

Dateline: Illinois—Discount warehouse outlet Costco is hoping to make the funeral industry cheap and convenient by offering low-budget caskets alongside bulk toilet paper and economy-sized laundry detergent. Last Monday, Costco Wholesale Corp. began test marketing caskets alongside mattresses at their North Side Chicago store. They will also be sold at a suburban Oak Brook outlet. “This is certainly something that can be an easy value,” Gina Bianche, a buyer in Costco's corporate office in Issaquah, Wash., told the Associated Press. “I don't want to say cheap value, but it just needs to be done.” Six different models are available for purchase. Colors include lilac and Neapolitan blue. The caskets, all make of 18-guage steel, are priced at $799.99 and can be delivered to customers within 48 hours.

Dateline: Ohio—A convicted felon had the misfortune of bumping into his ex-wife after robbing a bank in Middleton last Tuesday. The woman spotted Daniel Waggoner, 31, driving his distinctive black pickup truck on a Middleton street and wondered what he was doing in the area. When the woman reached her destination, a Fifth Third Bank branch at the local Kroger grocery store, she found it closed due to a bank robbery. She went to another branch and told the teller that her ex-husband had been in Middleton shortly after the robbery and that he had gotten out of prison a year ago after serving a sentence for bank robbery. The ex-wife was shown a photograph taken by the bank's surveillance camera, and immediately identified Waggoner as the culprit. Police took Waggoner into custody later that afternoon at his mother's home in Xenia, where he was living. Waggoner took officers to a creek bed in Greene County where $1,391 believed to have been taken in the robbery was found wrapped in a scarf and hidden under a rock.

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

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Children can practice their reading in a relaxed atmosphere with a registered therapy dog.

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