Odds & Ends

Devin D. O'Leary
4 min read
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Dateline: Indonesia—Public works officials on Sumatra Island are worried that a local bridge may collapse because too many people are taking a leak on it. According to the Jakarta Post, the Ampera Bridge, a landmark of Palembang City, the capital of South Sumatra province, has begun to lean at an angle and now rocks slightly when traffic is heavy. “We are concerned that one of its main support piers has been weakened by urine, as it is a popular spot for locals to relieve themselves,” Azmi Lakoni, an official from the public works department, told the Post. Lakoni added that the corrosive properties of human whiz could eventually contribute to the steel bridge's complete collapse. Cargo vehicles weighing more than one ton are now being diverted from the bridge.

Dateline: Washington—A 24-year-old Kent man was killed in a freak accident when he placed a lava lamp on his kitchen stove to see what would happen. What happened was the lamp exploded, killing the man. Last Sunday, Philip Quinn was found dead in his kitchen by his parents, Bill and Claudia Quinn of nearby Auburn. “I looked around the corner and saw his body slumped there in the corner and just couldn't believe what I saw,” Bill Quinn told KOMO TV news. “There was glass from the kitchen clear to the living room,” said Mrs. Quinn. “They said it appeared that a piece of glass punctured his heart.” Philip had apparently placed the lava lamp on the kitchen stove because he didn't think it was bubbling fast enough. “Philip has been a kid who tinkers with things ever since he was little,” said Mrs. Quinn. A lava lamp consists of a sealed glass bottle filled with wax and water heated by a 40-watt bulb. The Quinns noted that their son's stove was on its lowest setting. The King County Medical Examiner ruled Quinn's death accidental.

Dateline: New Jersey—Kevin Winston, 46, of Newark was so upset his teenage daughter came home drunk and unruly at 2:30 a.m. last Friday night that he telephoned the local police to teach her a lesson. The 16-year-old girl got the last laugh, however. When police arrived, she led them to a hidden crawl space above the home containing her father's secret stash of eight guns, 617 vials of cocaine and assorted pieces of drug paraphernalia. Winston was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled and dangerous substance, possession with intent to distribute, drug possession within 1,000 feet of a school, three counts of possession of a high-capacity magazine, three counts of a defaced weapon and possession of assault weapons while in commission of drug-related crimes. “He called us on her and ended up getting locked up himself,” said Newark Police Director Anthony Ambrose, shaking his head. The 16-year-old and four younger daughters were taken by the state Department of Youth and Family Services and temporarily relocated in the custody of a relative, Ambrose told The Star-Ledger.

Dateline: Minnesota—Thieves in Minnesota made off with a 10-foot-tall SpongeBob Squarepants balloon from atop a Burger King restaurant, which is promoting the cartoon star's latest feature film outing. Police even located a ransom note demanding “10 Krabby Patties, fries and milkshakes.” The note also threatened that SpongeBob's starfish friend Patrick “is next.” Minnesota isn't the only place missing one of the giant yellow balloons, however. Dave Scherba, president of Inflatable Images in Cleveland, which manufactured and installed about 4,800 of the balloons throughout the United States, told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle in New York that between 50 and 100 of the inflatable icons have gone missing. “I think we have a cult item here,” he told the newspaper. Three of the inflatables have disappeared in the Rochester, N.Y., area alone. Several of the giant SpongeBobs have popped up on the popular Internet auction site eBay, selling for as much as $600. Many promoters are scrambling to get back the balloons, offering everything from cash rewards to three-foot stuffed gorillas in exchange. Gorham, Maine, Dunbar, Pa., Norfolk, Va., and Mt. Juliet, Tenn., are among the most recent communities to find themselves spongeless.

Dateline: Minnesota—The Associate Milk Producers Inc. butter packing plant in New Ulm, Minn., caught fire last Wednesday, sending some three million pounds worth of melted butter pouring out of the refrigerated facility. The intense fire consumed half of the roof, but there were no immediate reports of injuries. Officials did worry, however, that the river of melted butter would interfere with the railroad tracks bordering the plant's east end. A plant employee discovered the blaze in a utility area, and the 30 workers in the butter packaging plant were evacuated and sent home. Officials are still investigating the cause of the blaze.

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

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