Odd News Roundup
August 05, 2013 11:15 AM | 446 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Discarded NYC theater prop sparks bomb scare

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City playwright who directed a show called the "American Suicide Bomber Association" unwitting sparked a bomb scare when he threw a prop from the production into the trash at his home.

Playwright Ethan Fishbane tells The New York Post he wasn't thinking when he discarded the fake bomb while cleaning out his Manhattan apartment Tuesday.

A building superintendent saw the prop the next morning and called police.

That brought out the bomb squad.

It didn't take long for investigators to figure out what had happened.

Fishbane says he was stunned when officers knocked on his door, but he praised the department for its quick response, saying it was "wholly appropriate."

The 23-year-old wrote the play while attending New York University's Tisch School of The Arts.

Information from: New York Post, http://www.nypost.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Former Redneck Olympics under way in Maine 

HEBRON, Maine (AP) — Despite being forced to changes its name, the event formerly known as the Redneck Olympic Games continued its tradition Saturday of holding unorthodox competitions like lawn mower races, mud runs and tire burnouts.

A full day of events was on tap during the Maine Redneck "Blank" Games. Organizer Harold Brooks changed the name under pressure from the International Olympics Committee, but noted that "everyone knows what the 'blank' stands for."

Friday's events included a wedding and a demolition derby. Other events over the weekend included bobbing for pigs' feet, toilet seat horseshoes and a greased watermelon relay race.

The idea behind the event, Brooks said, was to have what amounts to a great big outdoor picnic and pig roast for hardworking people who've earned the right to blow off some steam.

Being a redneck, he said, isn't about living in a trailer, or getting drunk.

"A redneck is someone who works hard. They say their neck is red because they work outside. A redneck can make fun of himself and have a good time," said Brooks, who's a general contractor.

The Redneck Olympic Games kicked off three years ago. But the name was changed after the International Olympic Committee came after him, telling him he couldn't brand his event as an Olympic event.

That still doesn't sit well with Brooks because he doesn't think anyone should own the rights to a word.

"The word was around before they were around," he said, pointing to the Olympics' origins in ancient Greece. "If they want to complain, then they should have the Greeks call and tell me to stop using it."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Pennsylvania sideburns contest celebrates 1813 battle hero

ERIE, Pa. (AP) — A sideburns contest honoring a U.S. Navy commodore known for his impressive facial hair is marking the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie.

The Erie-Times News reports that the winner of the Perry Burns contest will be named this week. Judges will decide who sports the sideburns most like those of Oliver Hazard Perry, who defeated British forces in September 1813. He is considered a War of 1812 hero.

Historical portraits suggest that Perry wore long mutton-chop sideburns that extended toward his lips.

Erie residents say the town had a beard-growing contest marking the battle's 150th anniversary in 1963.

Participant Kevin Kantz says he's been growing out his sideburns since July. He says he was inspired by the 1963 contest, which he attended at age 11.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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4-year-old mayor is re-elected in northern Minnesota

DORSET, Minn. (AP) — Robert "Bobby" Tufts hasn't made it to preschool yet, but he's already been elected twice as mayor of a tiny tourist town in northern Minnesota.

Mayor Tufts' name was picked Sunday during annual Taste of Dorset festival to be mayor of Dorset for a second term. It has no formal city government and has a population of 22 to 28, depending on whether the minister and his family are in town.

Anyone could vote as many times as they like — for $1 a vote — at any of the ballot boxes in stores around town. The proceeds go toward organizing the festival.

Bobby was only 3 when he won election last year. His mother, Emma Tufts, said she and her son, who turns 5 in October, got choked up when his name was pulled for re-election Sunday.

The boy picked a random man out of the crowd to pick the name out of a clear tub. and the man was blindfolded twice, she said.

While this was happening, Bobby told the crowd how to musky fish, she said.

"He's been going since 3 o'clock yesterday with cameras on his face," she said Sunday afternoon. "He's having a long day but he's done really well. I'm surprised."

Asked how he felt during a phone interview, a tired Bobby made clear he was done answering questions. "I want to be with the boys," he told his mother.

They were on their way to dinner and then planned to go fishing or have a bonfire to celebrate. Bobby, of nearby Nevis, starts preschool this fall.

Emma Tufts said her son's agenda includes raising money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley in Fargo, N.D., and a new welcome sign for Dorset, which bills itself as the Restaurant Capital of the World.

They already raised $750 from a walk this summer and planned to donate half the proceeds of Sunday's T-shirt sales to the charity. He wants to do a snowshoe scavenger hunt this winter to raise money, she said.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Man to go solo hauling ton of bricks across Lake St. Clair

ALGONAC, Mich. (AP) — A long-distance swimmer who calls himself "The Shark" is ready to jump into Lake St. Clair for a 30-hour, 22-mile dip.

If that isn't enough, Jim Dreyer plans to haul dinghies filled with 2,000 pounds of bricks.

The 49-year-old has made direct crossings of each of the five Great Lakes.

He plans to begin his latest swim Monday from a spot near Algonac, and it'll end Tuesday at Detroit's Belle Isle.

And he's doing it without a support boat.

One of the dinghies is equipped with a radar target so Dreyer will show up on radar screens of passing freighters. He has to feed himself and won't leave the water until coming ashore in Detroit.

Dreyer is trying to raise money and awareness for Habitat for Humanity.

Online: Corner Stone Strength

Information from: The Grand Rapids Press, http://www.mlive.com/grand-rapids

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Drunk, naked man arrested in stolen Bobcat front-end loader 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The explanation seems sound, allowing for alcohol consumption.

Joseph Michael Hall told police he stole a Bobcat front-end loader from a landscaping nursery in Knox County because he was naked.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported police found the 19-year-old Hall driving the machine along a highway shortly after 7 a.m. Sunday, sans clothing.

The arrest warrant states Hall said he was trying to hide his nudity by taking the Bobcat.

A caller to 911 reported someone smashed through a fence with the machine and drove off in it. Hall was arrested less than a mile away and the owner was called to come and retrieve his machine.

It wasn't immediately known where or why Hall lost his clothes. Among the charges are felony theft, DUI and indecent exposure.

Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Francis Bacon's brushes among oddities in auction 

LONDON (AP) — Art lovers who can't afford a painting by Francis Bacon can bid on the late artist's paintbrushes at an auction of unusual items.

The eight brushes — given by Bacon to fellow artist Clive Barker in 1978 — are in a paint-splattered butter bean tin inside a clear box. They have an estimated price of 20,000 pounds to 25,000 pounds ($31,000 to $46,000).

Bacon's paintings have sold for as much as $86 million at auction.

Also among the 150 lots in Christie's Out of the Ordinary sale: a rocking horse as tall as a house; a flying machine from Steven Spielberg's "Young Sherlock Holmes"; a stuffed ostrich; and a Triceratops skull valued at between 150,000 pounds and 250,000 pounds.

The sale will be held Sept. 5 in London.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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China's heat wave brings 'dead' man back to life

BEIJING (AP) — Having the dead guy jump up for a drink probably wasn't part of the script.

A staged protest claiming that city officials had beaten a sidewalk vendor to death in central China went awry when the man playing dead under a white sheet was overcome by the region's heat wave and sprang up to quaff a bottle of water, state media reported Monday.

"It's too hot. I can't bear it anymore," the man was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua News Agency.

More than 10 men had gathered Saturday with a gurney that purportedly carried the vendor's body, covered by a sheet, in the Hubei provincial capital Wuhan. They were demanding tens of thousands of yuan (thousands of dollars) in compensation for the alleged death, Xinhua said.

The incident drew 300 onlookers and about 80 police officers.

It was not immediately clear how the group intended to press their claims without submitting the body for an investigation and autopsy. In any case, the game was up when the man — as Xinhua reported — jumped up from under the sheet.

The man on the gurney was identified as Han, who has been detained for disturbing social order, said a district administration official in Wuhan contacted by telephone. She refused to give her name.

Han told the police that urban management workers — known as "chengguan" — clashed with the group of vendors earlier Saturday after telling them that their drinks stands were blocking traffic near a subway stop, Xinhua said.

Many members of China's public have long resented the heavy-handed tactics of the country's chengguan. Though they have no legal authority to use force, they are often accused of beating people who commit minor infractions in shows of power that have fueled social tension, triggered riots and aggravated public discontent against the government.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Utah pageant winner accused of throwing bombs

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Police say the recently crowned Miss Riverton, Utah, has been arrested on suspicion of throwing homemade bombs out of a car.

A report from the Salt Lake County Jail says Kendra McKenzie Gill, who was set to compete in the Miss Utah pageant, was taken into custody early Saturday, along with three others.

Police say the four admitted buying plastic bottles, aluminum foil and household chemicals before putting together the explosives and throwing them in neighborhoods. Nine incidents were reported, although police say nobody was injured.

The others arrested on suspicion of detonating an incendiary device were John Patrick Reagh, Shanna Marie Smith and Bryce Christopher Stone. It wasn't immediately clear if they had attorneys.

Stone reportedly told police that he and his friends were "pranking" with fireworks.

The South Valley Journal reports Gill won a $2,000 scholarship in the June 8 pageant. About 40,000 people live in Riverton, 20 miles south of Salt Lake City.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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