Alibi V.16 No.44 • Nov 1-7, 2007 

Odds & Ends

Eric J. Garcia

Dateline: England--Vince Mattingley of Watford, Hertfordshire, has proudly showed off his tattoo for the last 26 years. The tat, emblazoned across his chest, spells out his name in Chinese characters--at least that’s what he thought. According to England’s The Sun, Mattingley was on a recent trip to Thailand when a barman asked him why he had “Coca-Cola” written on his chest. “I thought it was a joke, then I found out that’s what it said.” Mattingley got the tattoo’s design by asking the staff of his favorite restaurant to write out his name in Chinese characters. “The restaurant staff must have had a good laugh about it.” Mattingley says he now plans to get another Oriental tattoo to cover up the name, adding, “I’m going to go with something Japanese this time.”

Dateline: England--A 3-year-old from Cullompton, Devon, spent three hours with a traffic cone wedged on his head after deciding it would make an excellent Harry Potter wizard hat. The Daily Mail reports that Charlie Thomas was on a family outing near his home when he tried the orange plastic cone on for size. “He loves Harry Potter, and when he put the cone on he was so pleased with himself. It was very sweet,” said his mother, Louisa. Unfortunately, the makeshift hat wouldn’t come off, even when his mother and father tried dousing it with soapy water. In the end, the fire brigade was called. It took six men and half an hour to free Charlie using cutting tools and pliers. Mrs. Thomas said Charlie was left with some slight bruises to the noggin as a souvenir. “We shouldn’t have laughed, but we had a chuckle. He looked so comical even though he was a bit upset,” she told the newspaper.

Dateline: Iran--According to a story from the Florida-based All Headline News Corp, Iranian authorities have arrested more than a dozen squirrels for espionage. “In recent weeks, intelligence operatives have arrested 14 squirrels within Iran’s borders,” the state-sponsored IRNA was quoted as saying. “The squirrels were carrying spy gear of foreign agencies, and were stopped before they could act, thanks to the alertness of our intelligence services.” Iran claims the rodents were being employed by Western powers in an attempt to “undermine the Islamic Republic.” Iranian police commander Esmaeil Ahmadi-Maqadam seemed to confirm the report, saying, “I have heard about it, but I do not have precise information.” The commander said a number of squirrels were caught within Iran’s borders and were taken into custody within the last three weeks.

Dateline: New Jersey--Not to be outdone, however, foreign terrorists may be employing tree-dwelling rodents for their own nefarious ends. Lindsay Millar, 23, was in her Bayonne home two weeks ago when her 2006 Toyota Camry suddenly blew up. Firefighters called to the scene said the culprit was a squirrel that had chewed through overhead powerlines and ignited before falling on top of the car, setting the engine compartment ablaze. Millar’s brother, Tony, told the Jersey Journal his sister was fully insured. “It’s something to laugh about once she has a new car,” he told reporters. “It’s not funny yet.” Police said there were no injuries--except for the suicide-bombing squirrel.

Dateline: Alabama--A robber who cleaned out a vacationing couple’s home was forced, at gunpoint, to clean it up. When Adrian and Tiffany McKinnon returned to their Centennial Hill home last Tuesday after a week away, they discovered the house had been burglarized. “Tears just rolled down my face as I walked in and saw everything gone and piles of trash all over my house,” Mrs. McKinnon told the Montgomery Advertiser. Mr. McKinnon sent his wife to her sister’s house a block away while he inspected the piles of ransacked items. As he made his way to the back of the house, a strange man walked in the back door. “My husband caught the thief red-handed in our home,” Mrs. McKinnon told the newspaper. “And what is even crazier, the man even had my husband’s hat sitting right on his head.” Mr. McKinnon held the suspect, 33-year-old Tajuan Bullock, at gunpoint and told him to sit on the floor until he decided what to do with him. “We made this man clean up all the mess he made, piles of stuff he had thrown out of my drawers and cabinets onto the floor,” explained Mrs. McKinnon. Once police arrived, Bullock complained to them about being forced at gunpoint to clean up the house. “This man had the nerve to raise sand about us making him clean up the mess he made in my house,” said Mrs. McKinnon. “The police officer laughed at him when he complained and said anybody else would have shot him dead. That made the man shut up.” Police arrested Bullock on burglary and theft charges. He is being held in Montgomery County Detention Facility on a $30,000 bond.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to