Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Devin D. O'Leary
5 min read
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Dateline: China— A Chinese woman who had not cut her hair in 10 years called police to report that her lengthy locks had been purloined. Xiao Hong, 30, of Siping told the Beijing Evening Post someone cut off her 4-foot braid as she walked out of a shopping mall. “People were squeezing together out the door, and when I stepped out I felt I lost something,” she explained to the newspaper. “I subconsciously touched my hair, but it was gone.” In the past, Xiao said she had been offered the equivalent of $500 for her hair, but refused to sell it.

Dateline: Germany— A scientific journal published by the respected Max Planck Institute wanted to adorn its cover with some classical Chinese poetry, but ended up with the text of a sex club flyer. Editors had dedicated an entire special issue of MaxPlanckForschung to China and wanted a block of Chinese text to grace the cover. Instead of poetry, however, they wound up with an ad for “Hot housewives in action!” The text of the flyer, believed to have originated in Macau or Hong Kong, went on to extol the “enchanting and coquettish performance” of these “pretty-as-jade” housewives. The Max Planck Institute was quick to acknowledge its error, explaining that it had consulted a German sinologist prior to publication of the text. “To our sincere regret … it has now emerged that the text contains deeper levels of meaning, which are not immediately accessible to a non-native speaker,” the institute said in an apology. Among its “deeper levels,” the text promises “hot bodies for the daytime visitor.” The publication of the quarterly journal has touched off the ire of some Internet users in China who feel the institute published the text on purpose to insult China. “By publishing this text we in no way intend to cause any offense or embarrassment to our Chinese readers,” the institute assured.

Dateline: Germany— A manhunt is underway in western Germany for an inmate who escaped from jail by mailing himself to freedom. The 42-year-old Turkish citizen, who was serving a seven-year sentence for drug dealing, had been employed in the making of stationary with other prisoners. The stationary is typical shipped out of the prison and sold in area shops. At the end of his prison work shift, the inmate sealed himself into a cardboard box. When the weekly express courier arrived to pick up several boxes of merchandise, the one containing the prisoner was also loaded into the back of the truck. It is believed the prisoner made a dash from the vehicle shortly after leaving the prison gates. His whereabouts are still unknown. Beate Peters, the chief warden of the jail, told the BBC this was an embarrassing incident. Authorities at the prison in Willich, near Duesseldorf, said the man was tall and broad-shouldered and had hidden himself in a box that was approximately 4 feet by 4 1/2 feet. “I was not surprised that an escape happened on my watch,” Peters told the BBC. “For years I have been asking for more security guards from the government. But now they’ll have to listen.”

Dateline: England— Fed up with the annual squabble over who gets the best seat in front of the television for the Christmas holidays, a British granny put the coveted spot up for auction on eBay. With a 25-strong “rabble” expected to descend on her house for Boxing Day (the day after Christmas), Bev Stewart advertised “a very comfy and popular item”—a chair with a clear view of the TV screen and easy access to the remote control. “There is always arguing over who gets it, it’s the perfect seat,” Bev told the UK’s Telegraph . “It is straight in front of the TV and has got the coffee table at the side for you to rest your drink on and the TV remote, so everybody wants to sit there.” The online auction was only open to members of her family and close personal friends. Stewart even offered to throw in a free cushion. After a fierce bidding war involving 17 of the holiday guests, Bev’s daughter-in-law Alexis Stewart and her 11-month-old son Mark will take the seat. The winning bid: £13.50 ($20).

Dateline: Indiana— According to a report in the Muncie Star Press , a 32-year-old woman was jailed early last Friday after asking an Indiana State Trooper whether it was OK for her to light up a cigarette. The reason? She chose to light up a marijuana cigarette. Honesty Knight was a front-seat passenger in a vehicle that Trooper Eric Perkins stopped for a traffic violation. While Perkins was talking to the driver about the violation, Knight thoughtfully obtained permission from the officer to spark up a cigarette. She was arrested, however, after Perkins asked to see the cigarette and determined it contained marijuana, not tobacco. Knight was preliminarily charged with possession of paraphernalia and taken to Delaware County jail, where she was released after posting a $2,500 bond.

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

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