Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Devin D. O'Leary
4 min read
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Dateline: England

A nearly 90-year-old chunk of dried-out mold sold for almost $15,000 in London last week. Why? Because it came from the laboratory of Dr. Alexander Fleming, who used mold to discover penicillin, the world’s first antibiotic, back in 1928. The 89-year-old piece of gray fuzz is preserved in a round glass case and came from the collection of Fleming’s niece, which was auctioned off on March 1 at Bonham’s auction house. A label on the back of the case, written by Fleming himself, describes the sample as, “the mold that first made penicillin.” The Scottish-born doctor is believed to have made dozens of such keepsakes from his original sample of fungus. Matthew Haley, director of books and manuscripts at Bonham’s, told the Associated Press that Fleming “sent these samples out to dignitaries and to people in the scientific world, almost as a kind of holy relic.” Some of Fleming’s mold samples are believed to have ended up with Pope Pius XII, Winston Churchill and Marlene Dietrich. This particular sample sold for 11,875 pounds ($14,595) to an unnamed buyer.

Dateline: The Netherlands

Police in Nijmegen-Zuid, 75 miles southeast of Amsterdam, arrested a 99-year-Dutch old woman—but only because it was on her bucket list. The woman, identified as “Annie,” had not committed any crime but said it was her lifelong dream to be arrested. Local police obliged, placing the grandmother in handcuffs and booking her into a jail cell for a brief stay. Annie’s time in jail was recorded in a series of photographs, which the Politie Nijmegen-Zuid posted on its Facebook page. A caption accompanying the pics said the law-abiding granny wanted to “experience a jail cell from within.” The “arrest” was arranged by Annie’s niece, who got in touch with police regarding the unusual request. No word on what else is on Annie’s bucket list.

Dateline: Australia

An Australian man has pleaded guilty to drunk driving after a viral video posted on Facebook caught him joyriding on a motorized plastic beer cooler—which is odd, because it seems the only time anyone would ever ride a motorized cooler is when they’re drunk. A lawyer for 21-year-old James Wallace of Camden, New South Wales, entered a guilty plea on Monday, Feb. 27, admitting he was drunk when he took a ride on a beverage cooler that had been outfitted with wheels and a gas-powered engine. According to news9.com.au
Wallace blew a 0.162, almost three times the legal limit, when he was stopped by police on January 26—a national holiday known as Australia Day. Video of Wallace’s Aussie Day ride was posted by staff at the Camden Hotel, where the unusual motorist got gassed up. Wallace’s lawyer said his client, who was not present at last Monday’s hearing, admits to driving the cooler while intoxicated but plans to fight charges of operating an unregistered and uninsured motor vehicle when he returns to court in April.

Dateline: Texas

Police in the tiny Northeast Texas town of Krugerville (population 1,662) have their hands full trying to stop an ongoing crime spree that has seen scores of plastic order numbers stolen from the local Whataburger. The red-and-white-striped plastic “tents” are emblazoned with numbers and placed on tables at the fast food restaurant to track customers’ orders. The Northeast Police Department, based in Krugerville, said the plastic numbers have become a frequent target for teenagers, who steal them as part of a “game.” A recent traffic stop turned up 19 of the stolen order numbers—more than the burger restaurant has remaining in its local store. The department
posted pictures on Facebook comparing the size of the seized haul to what was left at Whataburger. The department also mentioned an unrelated call about three weeks ago that uncovered 70 of the stolen order numbers. “We have learned that it has become a game for area teens to be removing the plastic ‘order numbers’ from the restaurant when in attendance,” said the Facebook post. “Removing these items without consent is theft, which could result in a citation being issued for Theft of Property under $100.” Northeast Police Chief James Edland said Whataburger has been struggling to keep up with the losses. “Whataburger is ordering a new bundle [of the numbers] every week because they disappear so fast,” Edland told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “It might be a cool thing to do, but it’s still stealing.”

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

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