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Bizarre News Archive

Week of 16 Jun 2003

 




Jack's Bizarre News of the World

Published whenever I get around to it....


What Water Bill?

Fort Pierce, Florida (AP): A homeowner who has been paying a monthly sewer bill since 1979 learned after plumbing trouble that he has a septic tank and has never been connected to the city utility. Donald Griffith went to court Tuesday with a civil lawsuit against the Fort Pierce Utilities Authority, asking for his money to be returned with interest. Griffith, 66, says the utility company has been billing him unfairly since 1979. After his system backed up last year, Griffith said he discovered he has a septic tank, not a sewer connection. The retired sheet metal and roofing contractor said he tried to work out a deal with FPUA, but the utility turned him down. The company owes him $16,000 in paid bills, the suit claims. "We tried to resolve this amicably, but that was not possible," said Bud Boudreaux, FPUA utilities director. "If it has to go to court, it has to go to court." Griffith said FPUA originally agreed to hook his home up to the sewer system and pay him a few thousand dollars for past bills. After Griffith met with an attorney, FPUA took its offer off the table, he said.

Great White Shark Gatecrashes Tuna Dinner Party

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A Great White Shark has gatecrashed a tuna research project in Australia, mysteriously appearing inside a fishing pen containing around 100 tuna. The 13-foot shark, weighing about 1,500 pounds, is thought to have either bitten its way into the tuna pond or leapt a 7.5 foot electrified fence while chasing a seal last Thursday. Scientists at the pen off the coast of the South Australian tuna fishing town of Port Lincoln said Tuesday the shark had swum contently around the pen, but they were not sure how the tuna felt about their uninvited guest. A head count of the tuna showed two had disappeared. "When the shark swims to the surface the tuna swim to the bottom of the net and vice versa," said a spokesman for the South Australian Research Development Institute. The scientists, who are studying tuna feeding, said they eventually coaxed the Great White from the cage by using a net to funnel it out through underwater gates.



Lightning Strikes Peeping Toms

Taipei, Taiwan: (SMH.AU):As if it was divine retribution, three men were struck by lightning while they peeped at a pair of passionate lovers having sex in a car in a hillside area in Taipei. Hiding in a broken hut and each using a high-powered telescope, the three were so oblivious as they watched the lovers' act that they did not notice lightning flashing in the sky before a bolt hit the hut, police said yesterday. "All three were hit at the same time, but survived as they appeared to have evenly shared the impact of the super-high voltage electric current when the lightning struck," a police spokesman said. The officer said the three, who remained speechless for several hours, suffered minor burns in the skin of their hands and legs, while their hairs were all standing and their stares were fixed. Doctors later said the three had a narrow escape because if there had been only one of them in the hut, the one struck would have been killed instantly. As for the lovers, they quickly drove the car away after the lightning flashed and heavy rains started pouring down - without even knowing what had happened, the officer said.

New Zealand to Tax Flatulence

Christchurch, New Zealand (Ananova):New Zealand farmers are angry after the government announced plans to tax the flatulence of their livestock. Farmers face a levy of up to 25p a head on cattle and 3p on each sheep as part of the government's policy to combat global warming. Methane from the animals' belching from the grass they munch, and nitrous oxide from their dung and urine accounts for more than half of all New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions. The government will spend the tax it collects from the flatulent animals on researching ways to make them less windy. Farmers accused the government of a political sleight of hand in making them pay for research after promising the agricultural sector would be exempted from emission charges. Federated Farmers' president Tom Lambie complains New Zealand is the only country to impose a levy like this on its farmers

Man Sets Marathon Record in Diving Suit

Edinburgh, Scotland (Ananova):An athlete dressed in a deep-sea diving suit has set a new world record for the slowest marathon time. Lloyd Scott, 41, finished the Edinburgh Marathon six days, four hours, 30 minutes and 56 seconds after setting off in his 130lb diving suit. The former footballer and firefighter who previously battled to overcome leukaemia, completed the 26 mile 385 yards course to raise money for charity. Mr Scott, a father of three from Rainham in east London, crossed the finish line at the Meadowbank Stadium in the Scottish capital shortly after 1pm. He said: "I'm feeling OK. It was a fantastic finish at the stadium, everyone was on their feet clapping and we had a piper. It was a wonderful reception. I'm still on a bit of a high and I will probably still be on one tomorrow when I realise I don't have to get the suit on. Now I'm having a dram of whisky to celebrate." Last year Mr Scott took five days to complete the London and New York marathons in the suit, but this time it took him even longer because he was hit by food poisoning. He said: "I had to keep dashing to the loo and on the Royal Yacht Britannia there was a problem trying to get the suit off in time to get to the toilet." Mr Scott walked for an average nine hours a day and covered just half a mile every hour although on the Wednesday he only managed one mile because of stomach cramps. Despite his slow time, Mr Scott was not the last person to cross the finish line because he set off on Monday while the other runners started this morning. Later this year he is hoping to complete a marathon under water by walking the full length of Loch Ness in diving equipment, and next year he is planning to run the Edinburgh marathon in a suit of mediaeval armour.

Year of the Cockroach

(Various Wire Reports)In May, Reuters reported on the increasing popularity in Australia of large cockroaches as pets (won't hurt children, very low maintenance). However, at about the same time, health authorities in Thailand decided to confiscate and destroy about 1,000 pet cockroaches, calling them pests, but reluctantly showed sympathy for the owners' losses by holding a Buddhist funeral rite for the cockroaches. And a few days before that, artist Catherine Chalmers opened her "Executions" exhibit in New York City, featuring photographs of cockroaches dying simulated "human" deaths (hanging from tiny nooses or executed in a small prison electric chair) and, in a video, arising from the "dead" in a gas chamber (gruesomely knocked out by carbon dioxide, then revived as the gas dissipates).

Custodian Trashes Library Art Exhibit

BOULDER, Colo. - It's art to some, yes, but apparently not to the custodian who threw away the newest exhibit at the Boulder Public Library. After being pulled out of the garbage, "My Favorite Place to Walk in Boulder: Or Found Trash Objects" officially opened Friday at the downtown library. The display features common trash found by University of Colorado art students in otherwise scenic spots citywide. "This is a slightly different kind of art," said Karen Ripley, director of cultural programs. "It's not meant to be beautiful. "One of the comments our maintenance guy made was that it smells," said Ripley, who saved the artwork. She said the odor could have been coming from a soggy brown leather clog found in a drinking fountain. When the janitor dumped the display, there were no signs or barriers to indicate it was anything but what it looked like: a pile of rubbish, Ripley said. Intended as a social commentary on ecology, the exhibit includes a green Frisbee, a plastic cookie cutter, a cigarette package and a drink coaster.

German loses licence for driving mower drunk

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German gardener has been fined and stripped of his licence for driving his lawnmower while drunk. A court fined the 45-year-old man 400 euros and banned him from driving all vehicles on Tuesday., including his mower, for three months after police did a check on him as he was parking the vehicle, which has a maximum speed of 6 km/h (4 mph). Defence lawyer Stefan Deppe told Reuters his client would appeal. "The mower does not pose the remotest danger to the public and common sense should have been applied," he said. Police breath-tested the gardener after detecting the smell of alcohol as he finished mowing a lawn for a client. "He said he'd had a bottle of wine," Deppe said.

Billy the pigeon gets plane trip home after wrong turn takes him to US

LONDON (AFP) - A homing pigeon who took a wrong turn on his return to Britain from France, ending up in the United States, is to be flown home by British Airways, the airline said. "We promise Billy's trip home will be more comfortable than his trip out," a BA spokeswoman said. Billy, from the town of Bootle in northwest England, had been expected to arrive home seven hours after being released from Fougeres in northern France, on June 6. The two-year-old's owners, John and Maria Warren, thought Billy had died after failing to return but the couple received a telephone call earlier this week to say he had turned up in New York. Maria Warren, 49, said: "Birds often hit power lines so we thought the worst. He's only a youngster and this was his first Channel race." She added that Billy had become a star in America and had been renamed Tony Blair (news - web sites), after the British Prime Minister, "for his guts and determination". Ann Edwards, of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association, said it was unlikely that Billy had flown all the way to the United States, saying he had probably stowed away on a ship. Billy was expected back in Britain next week, but will have to spend 32 days in quarantine before he can return to his loft.

Dumb Crime Dept.

Kansas City, Missouri (AP):A man impersonating a police officer was arrested after he tried to pull over a motorist who turned out to be a real cop. The off duty officer became suspicious because the lights on the imposter's car were blue. Kansas City police use a combination of blue and red flashing lights, said police spokesman Capt. Rich Lockhart. The officer called a dispatcher and a nearby patrol car tried to stop the suspect, who was driving a blue Crown Victoria, a vehicle commonly used by police. The suspect led police on a six-mile chase that ended after officers used "stop sticks" to puncture the suspect's tires. The man lost control of his car and crashed into a utility pole, Lockhart said. The 30-year-old suspect, who was not identified, jumped out of his car and ran a short distance before he was captured. Authorities were questioning the man Wednesday and had not released a possible motive. No charges had been filed as of Wednesday afternoon.

Valdivia, Chile (Ananova):A Chilean man who tried to commit suicide by shooting himself, drove to hospital after he failed in his attempt. The 41-year-old put the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger but the bullet went straight through the back of his throat. He drove to hospital in the city of Valdivia in his underwear and checked himself into the casualty department. Doctors told La Razon newspaper his wound was bleeding heavily but wasn't life threatening. A police spokesman said: "This is tragic-comic. He wanted to die but all he could manage was a neck wound. "He was very embarrassed because he had to drive here and ask to be treated after trying to end his life. He will really need some therapy now."

Staffordshire, England (Ananova):A Staffordshire county councillor who used civic funds to buy police a mobile speed camera has been caught speeding by the same camera. Robert Marshall, who is also a South Staffordshire district councillor, was caught doing 42mph in a 30mph zone in Bilbrook, near Wolverhampton. He was snapped by the mobile camera two months ago. Prior to that he was caught speeding by a fixed camera while travelling between Wolverhampton and Dudley. Now he has six points on his licence - three from each offence - and has had to pay two 40 fines, says the Express & Star. He said: "If more people are caught by these mobile speed cameras then more people, like myself, will get the message about speeding. I have now got to be careful for three years." After three years he can apply to have the six points removed from his driving licence. If he reaches 12 points during the three years then he could lose his licence and be banned from the roads. Councillor Marshall added: "The county council allocates all councillors 10,000 to spend on good causes and projects in our patch. I thought that helping to buy this mobile speed camera would be good."

The Times Reporter (Dover-New Philadelphia)A 70-year-old man and a 60-year-old woman pleaded no contest to public indecency in New Philadelphia, Ohio, in June after their arrest for engaging in sex acts in a booth at a Hardee's restaurant. Though it was the couple's first lewdness charge, the prosecutor told the judge that it was not the first time they had done something like that.

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