Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Devin D. O'Leary
4 min read
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Dateline: Japan— Puzzled zookeepers at the Kushiro Municipal Zoo in Hokkaido have finally figured out why a pair of polar bears intended for breeding have failed to get it on: turns out neither is a lesbian. Since June, Tsuyoshi, a four-year-old “male” polar bear, has been paired with an 11-year-old female partner named Kurumi. Neither showed much romantic interest in the other, leading zookeepers to a belated conclusion. “Observing his behaviors, we got suspicious as to whether or not Tsuyoshi was really a male,” the zoo said in a statement. The zoo put Tsuyoshi under an anesthetic early last month for a gender checkup and determined that he was a she. “I have mixed feelings,” Yoshio Yamaguchi, head of the zoo, told reporters. Tsuyoshi is very popular at the northern Japanese zoological park, and Kyodo News agency reported that zoo officials would not change his name to a female name. Tsuyoshi is a common Japanese name for boys. Experts say when polar bears are young, it is difficult to determine their gender as their long hair covers reproductive organs.

Dateline: Japan— A man was arrested over his elaborate plot to scare female commuters with hundreds of worms. Manabu Mizuta, 35, was arrested shortly after releasing hundreds of beetle larvae inside a moving express train in Japan’s Osaka prefecture. “I wanted to see women get scared and shake their legs,” police quoted Mizuta as saying. Mizuta was arrested by a patrolling police officer who spotted him working his magic on the Keihan line. “He would go close to women on the train, any woman, and pour the worms from containers,” a police spokesperson said. Local police had been on alert after 18 similar cases of worm-related assault were reported in November by the same train operator. “When the arrest was made, the man had nearly emptied a container, which is believed to have held 200 worms,” said the police spokesperson. According to the police report, Mr. Mizuta had 10 clear plastic containers in his backpack filled with an additional 3,600 worms.

Dateline: England— A dead Polish composer has finally had his dying wish fulfilled after British actor David Tennant used his skull on stage during a recently concluded run of Hamlet in Stratford-upon-Avon. When André Tchaikowsky died of cancer in 1982 at age 46, he donated his body to science. But he added a stipulation that his skull “shall be offered by the institution receiving my body to the Royal Shakespeare Company for use in theatrical performance.” Since then, Tchaikowsky’s skull had been used in several rehearsals, but no actor felt comfortable performing opposite it on stage. Unbeknownst to the paying public, Tchaikowsky finally made his stage debut as poor Yorick in Hamlet earlier this fall. Tennant, known for his role as Doctor Who on the BBC, delivered Shakespeare’s famous soliloquy to the skull in 22 performances of Hamlet . The skull will now travel with the Hamlet production to the Novello Theater in London.

Dateline: Florida— A 12-year-old schoolboy has been arrested for “deliberately passing gas” in his junior high school classroom. The farting offender was also accused of shutting off the computers of classmates at Spectrum High School in Stuart. Busted by school authorities for disruption of a school function, the boy was taken to the County Sheriff’s Office. Police said the boy, whose name was not released due to his age, admitted the offenses and was released into the custody of his mother.

Dateline: Kentucky— The Grinch couldn’t stop Christmas from coming to Whoville–but the lawyers for Dr. Seuss sure can. San Diego attorney Barbara J. Orr sent a cease-and-desist letter to the city of Louisville ordering them to scrap plans for a Dr. Seuss-themed display at the annual Light Up Louisville celebration. The How the Grinch Stole Christmas -inspired display had called for an area named “LouWhoVille” and would have featured costumed characters from the Dr. Seuss classic. “It appears these lawyers’ hearts are two sizes too small,” Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson said. Orr’s law firm, which represents Dr. Seuss Enterprises, said the “Whoville” name and image, as well as the Grinch, are copyrighted and cannot be used without permission. The cease-and-desist letter demanded the city and the Louisville Convention and Visitors’ Bureau halt any use of the characters for the Christmas display and agree not to use the characters in future. Kerri Richardson, a spokesperson for Mayor Abramson, said the city has complied with the request.

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

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