Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Devin D. O'Leary
5 min read
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Dateline: The Netherlands— The Dutch national museum admitted last Thursday that one of its prize possessions, a rock supposedly brought back from the moon by U.S. astronauts, is actually just a hunk of petrified wood. The Rijksmuseum acquired the rock after the death of former Prime Minister Willem Drees in 1988. Drees received it in 1969 from then U.S. Ambassador J. William Middendorf during a European goodwill tour by three Apollo 11 astronauts. Middendorf, who now lives in Rhode Island, told Dutch broadcaster NOS news that he had gotten the rock from the U.S. Department of State, but couldn’t recall the exact details. The fist-size red stone was last exhibited in 2006. At the time, a space expert informed the museum it was unlikely NASA would have given away any moon rocks three months after Apollo returned to Earth. Researchers from Amsterdam’s Free University said they could see at a glance the rock most likely did not originate on the moon. Now, extensive testing reveals it to be a piece of common petrified wood. “It’s a nondescript, pretty-much-worthless stone,” geologist Frank Beunk concluded in an article published by the museum. Rijksmuseum spokeswoman Xandra van Gelder said the museum would keep the curiosity anyway, adding, “We can laugh about it.”

Dateline: England— A man who came to “Antiques Roadshow” with what he thought was an expensive antique bottle was told by appraisers that he had spent some £1000 ($1,628) on a used bottle from a local Tesco supermarket. The show’s glass expert informed the man, “It’s an empty olive oil bottle. Tesco, circa 2008.” The footage will not be shown in September’s new series, however, to save the unlucky collector some serious embarrassment. The show’s host, Fiona Bruce, told London’s Daily Mail , “It would have made great television, but it was just too cruel. The guy was devastated. Poor chap.”

Dateline: New Hampshire— An Allenstown senior, angry that his street was blocked off for a parade, decided to drive his car through the celebration, plowing through a barricade and hitting a police officer. Paul Boucher, 77, was charged with felony reckless conduct and felony second-degree assault. Police said that Boucher’s street was blocked off for the Old Home Days parade and would have been reopened in about 10 minutes. “He told the officer he was going to go through the parade anyway,” Chief Shaun Mulholland told WMUR-9 News. “The individual cut the wheel, swerving his vehicle around and hit the officer.” Officer Michael Debisz was able to reach inside the car and grab the keys. The officer suffered an injury to his right leg and was taken to a hospital. He has since returned to duty. During a court arraignment last week, prosecutors asked for high bail, saying they have some concerns about Boucher’s ability to control his temper. “He did operate the vehicle in a reckless way after swearing at the officer in a fit of anger. So the state is concerned about the, basically, popping of his anger,” Assistant County Attorney Christina Brooks told the court. The judge did not agree, however, and set Boucher’s bail at $7,000 personal recognizance. Boucher is due back in court on Sept. 8.

Dateline: Connecticut— A Wal-Mart employee who had been reprimanded for poor job performance responded to the criticism by grabbing an aluminum baseball bat and repeatedly hitting an assistant manager in the store’s toy aisle. Police in New Haven said the attack happened at about 12:20 a.m. last Monday. Assistant Manager George Freibott was allegedly hit about a dozen times with the bat by 26-year-old Barry Griffin. A female employee was also struck during the fray. Freibott, 29, suffered “serious injuries” in the assault and was treated at the emergency room of Yale-New Haven Hospital. Police are currently searching for the suspect, who fled the store before officers arrived. The injured assistant manager told police Griffin had been reprimanded for “poor work.” According to police, the incident was all captured on the store’s security system. It shows Griffin grabbing a bat from a display rack in the sporting goods section, finding Freibott in the toy area of the store and then hitting him. If caught, Griffin will be charged with first-degree assault and breach of peace.

Dateline: Ohio— Police say a Cleveland barber got so angry over some bad beef jerky that he returned to the store where he bought it and robbed the owner. Last Thursday night, the unidentified 28-year-old barber walked into the party store, which is located just two doors down from his barber shop, and demanded money. The owner recognized the man, who was wearing a small cloth over his mouth, and told him so. At that point, the barber became irate and grabbed the store’s cash register. The owner then chased him out of the store with a baseball bat. The first officer who arrived on the scene was also familiar with the barber, since the suspect cuts the officer’s hair. Police quickly arrested the barber at his girlfriend’s house a few miles away. A total of $98 was taken from the party store, but the man told police he spent it on pizza. After his arrest, the barber admitted to police he was angry over some beef jerky. “He bought a beef stick, and it got him and his dog sick,” a laughing Sgt. Tom Shoulders told the Cleveland Plain Dealer . “That’s why he robbed the place. He said it with a straight face.”

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

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