Odds & Ends

Devin D. O'Leary
4 min read
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Dateline: Angola– Ten contestants will show off their beauty, their brains and their missing limbs in an attempt to capture the title of Angola’s Miss Landmine 2008. The project, created by Norwegian theater director Morten Traavik, is intended to raise awareness of the plight of landmine survivors. The Southern African nation of Angola has a problem with landmines, leftovers of the country’s 20-year civil war. The competitors range in age from 19 to 35 and represent their home provinces. Almost all were injured while tending fields or fleeing soldiers in the ’80s and ’90s, according to their pageant biographies. Along with fame and glory, Traavik announced the winner will receive a golden prosthesis fitted to her specifications.

Dateline: Norway– Oslo resident Leif Harry Ersland wanted to return a nail gun he had borrowed from a friend, so she sent the owner a text message reading, “the gun is on the cabin steps.” Unfortunately, Ersland sent the message to the wrong phone number. The stranger who received it called police early last Tuesday to report what he thought might be an illegal gun deal. Police soon showed up at Ersland’s door looking for explanations. Ersland was not at home, but his roommate, Hilde Pedersen, told the Haugesunds Avis newspaper she faced a confusing 45 minutes of intense interrogation. “I was shocked to see them,” Pedersen was quoted as saying. “I became even more shocked when I learned what they wanted. … It was very unpleasant.” She said about a half-hour after the police left, they called her to say the whole thing had been a misunderstanding about a message gone astray.

Dateline: England– A 34-year-old man from Horsham, West Sussex, nearly choked to death after a four-hour yawn sent him to the hospital. Store worker Ben Shire was making himself a cup of tea when a massive yawn caused him to dislocate his jaw. Shire collapsed in his kitchen, unable to breathe or swallow. “I couldn’t breathe because I was choking. It felt like two fingers down my throat,” Shire told England’s The Sun. “The more I panicked the more I struggled for breath.” His frantic wife phoned for an ambulance and Shire was rushed to the hospital. Paramedics used a suction device to keep his airway clear. After nearly four hours at East Surrey Hospital, Shire’s jaw was finally reset. “We can laugh about it now,” said Shire of his epic yawn. “But it wasn’t funny at the time.”

Dateline: Wisconsin– A man in rural New London, upset that his wife wouldn’t buy him beer, shot his family’s pet goat in retaliation. Peter W. Mischler, 48, was charged last Monday in Waupaca County Circuit Court with mistreatment of animals, possession of a firearm while intoxicated and disorderly conduct with a dangerous weapon. According to the criminal complaint, Mischler came home Saturday from hunting and became angry with his 22-year-old daughter for letting the goats out. While she was on the phone talking to her mother, Mischler instructed her to tell his wife to bring home some beer. His wife refused. He then threatened to shoot the goats, the complaint stated. His wife soon arrived home, at which point Mischler went outside and shot one of the pet goats. The injured animal was later put down by a sheriff’s deputy. Mischler was eventually arrested at a nearby bar.

Dateline: Wisconsin– A former employee of a car wash in Fond du Lac faces charges for stealing more than 71 pounds of quarters from the business. Scott Schmitz appeared in Fond du Lac County Circuit Court last Friday, charged with burglary, theft, criminal damage to property and bail jumping. Schimtz is accused of breaking into Buggy Bath Car Wash on the night of Nov. 2 and stealing 5,619 quarters–$1,400 worth–and $1,000 in bills from change machines at the business. Buggy Bath employees told police they immediately suspected the former employee. In the course of their investigation, Fond du Lac police learned Schmitz was apparently angry with the owner of Buggy Bath and had talked about getting back at him. Police also learned Schmitz told a woman the night of the burglary that he did not have enough money to purchase drugs but called her the next day saying he now had cash to buy cocaine, according to the police report. In the week following the burglary, Schmitz, who didn’t have a job, bought a car and was seen purchasing items using only quarters.

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

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