Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

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

A Nova Scotia man is fighting with the government to prove that his last name isn’t too offensive for a vanity license plate. Lorne Grabher told CTV he’s so proud of his German family name he had the vanity plate “GRABHER” made for his father back in 1991. Since then, the name plate has crossed Canada and been held by three different generations of Grabhers. But in December, Grabher received a notice from Nova Scotia’s Registrar of Motor Vehicles, informing him it had gotten a complaint and had deemed the license plate “socially unacceptable.” Grabher complained and got back a response from Janice Harland, road safety director at the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, saying, “While I recognize this plate was issued as your last name, the public cannot be expected to know this and can misinterpret it as a socially unacceptable slogan.” The term “grab her” has become an infamous one, ever since audio of current US President Donald Trump explaining how he could grab any woman by a certain part of her anatomy was released just prior to the election. Grabher says he is considering taking his case to court to get his personalized license plate back.

Dateline: England

A team from Oxford University defeated a team from Cambridge in a long-standing boat race competition—but not until a marine policing unit removed an unexploded World War II-era bomb from near the start of the race. The seventysomething-year-old bomb was discovered by a member of the public near Putney Bridge in southwest London, just yards from the starting line of the famous row-off. The aged ordinance was found submerged on the Chelsea shoreline of the River Thames and had to be removed before the race could start. London was heavily bombed by German planes during World War II, and unexploded devices are occasionally uncovered in the city. Oxford ended up winning the 163rd boat race by a length and a quarter. No explosions were reported.

Dateline: Germany

Someone stole a gold coin weighing 200 pounds from a museum in Berlin. The coin, which has a diameter of more than 20 inches, was taken from the Bode Museum sometime after 2am on the morning of Monday, March 27. Nicknamed “The Big Maple Leaf,” the coin was issued by the Royal Canadian Mint in 2007 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s state visit to Germany. The extra-large pizza-sized coin has a purity of 999.99/1000 gold and is currently valued at 3.7 million euros ($4 million). The coin has been in the Bode Museum collection since 2010 when it was lent to the institution’s coin collection by wealthy art collector, real estate developer and vice-president of the World Jewish Congress Boris Fuchsmann. “It’s an absolute catastrophe for the museum, an absolute catastrophe for us all,” Bernhard Wiesser, the director of the Bode Museum’s Numismatic Collection, told England’s
Globe and Mail. Berlin police say they found a ladder near some railway tracks close to the museum and believe it was used to access a window on the museum’s top floor during the 2 1/2 hours in the early morning when Berlin’s public transportation is shut down. Police believe the entire crime—including shattering a bulletproof case and lowering the 200-pound coin down on a winch—took less than 25 minutes. “It’s definitely a case that involved a high amount of criminal energy,” said Mr. Weisser.

Dateline: Japan

A famous hot springs resort is offering visitors a chance to
bathe in a pool of hot maple syrup. The Hakone Kowakien Yunessun is offering a “hot cake bath” in honor of Japanese confectionary company Morinaga, which is celebrating the 60th anniversary of it iconic pancake mix. According to rocketnews24.com, the special bath is scented like sweet maple syrup with “gentle notes of vanilla.” Three times a day staff refresh the bath by pouring in bottles of real maple syrup. The “hot cake bath” is located in the resort’s “swimsuit area,” meaning unlike the more traditional hot springs, bathers are not nude. Hakone Kowakien Yunessun is famous for its bizarre baths. Past promotions have afforded visitors the opportunity to swim in ramen, coffee and wine. The resort is located about two hours from Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station. The hot maple pool will be open until April 25.

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

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