Odds & Ends: This Week’s Weird News

Odds & Ends: This Week’s Weird News

Devin D. O'Leary
5 min read
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Dateline: South Korea— A would-be motorist has finally passed the written exam for a driver’s license—after her 950 th attempt. Cha Sa-Soon, 68, has spent more than 5 million won ($4,200) in application fees and has taken the test on a near-daily basis since April of 2005. Until now, the vegetable seller had failed to score the minimum 60 out of 100 possible points needed to get behind the wheel for her driving test. But police officials in Jeonju, 130 miles south of Seoul, confirmed last Wednesday that Cha finally passed the test with exactly 60 points. Officials were unsure how many times Cha had failed the written exam, but local media put the estimate at 950. Now all she’s got to do is pass the physical driving test.

Dateline: Germany— An unknown thief accidentally stole a van with an unusual passenger—a 5-year-old circus lion named Caesar. The Mercedes van was stolen from Circus Probst early last Wednesday in Wuppertal, located in Western Germany. The thief drove off with the vehicle but abandoned it with the engine running after crashing into a road sign. It was unclear whether the thief’s sudden awareness of the animal in the back of the van had inspired him or her to abort the mission. The van was towed away by police and the lion was returned to his owners some 12 hours after the adventure began. “Caesar is fine,” circus spokesperson Laurens Thoen told the U.K.’s Telegraph . “We’re not worried about him.”

Dateline: North Carolina— Administrators at Rosewood Middle School in Goldsboro came up with what they thought was a brilliant solution to their budgetary woes—institutional bribery. Now, in the wake of public criticism, school officials have given up on their plan to sell grades for money. The school announced the innovative fundraising scheme, which would have allowed students to buy up to 20 test points for $20, after last year’s chocolate sale flopped. For their $20, students could add 10 points to the grades of any two tests, lifting the final results by a full letter grade. After word of the grades-for-cash swap got out early last week, officials at the Department of Public Instruction denounced the fundraising effort, saying it teaches children the wrong lesson. By Wednesday of last week, the News & Observer of Raleigh reported Wayne County school administrators had scrapped the idea. Rosewood Principal Susie Shepherd said no extra credit will be awarded and any money collected so far will be returned.

Dateline: Florida— Tampa resident Joshua Basso apparently had a problem: He was horny and out of minutes on his cell phone. So he called the one number he knew was always free—911—and asked if anyone there wanted to have sex with him. When 911 operators hung up on him, he called back. Four times, according to a police report. Fifteen minutes after his last call, police arrested Basso at his home. He was taken to Hillsborough County Jail and held without bail. Jail records cited in the St. Petersburg Times list Basso as having been arrested before on at least a dozen different charges including grand theft auto, violation of probation, domestic violence battery, possession of marijuana, trespassing and burglary.

Dateline: Oregon— Joining the surprisingly long list of stoners who have called police to report stolen marijuana is 21-year-old Salem resident Calvin Hoover. The incident began at 12:52 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 10. A man called 911 and told police dispatchers that someone had broken into his truck while he was drinking at the Freeloader Tavern and had stolen $400 cash, a jacket and 3/4 of an ounce of marijuana, valued at about $180. Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Clark went to the tavern but was unable to find the driver. About an hour later, the driver called 911 again, angry that deputies had not arrived. According to the Statesman Journal , dispatchers had a difficult time understanding the caller “because he was driving and had to stop several time to vomit.” Deputies eventually found Hoover and his truck. The vehicle was parked and Hoover was about 100 feet away. He told deputies that he was out looking for the people who had stolen his “weed.” Hoover was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants.

Dateline: Texas— Inmates at a state prison discovered 25 pounds of marijuana hidden in a shipment of fruit, which had been donated by local police. Prisoners working in the mess hall of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Segovia Unit found the drug shipment hidden in a crate of bananas and other fruits last Friday. The fruit—which was donated by the Edinburg Police Department—originally came form a produce truck from which officers had seized more than half a ton of marijuana, police Chief Quirino Muñoz told the Brownsville Herald . The inmate who found the marijuana immediately reported it to prison guards, and prisoners were strip-searched to make sure no one had taken any of the drugs. “We always inspect those donations before they are delivered,” Muñoz told the newspaper. “I guess these drugs were inadvertently missed by the officers and our drug dogs.”

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

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