Odd Stew – Weird and Bizarre News – Issue 10

Daniel Ganninger
January 8, 2016

hello-kitty-781142_1280Another issue of the Odd Stew: oddities plus other bizarre, strange, and fascinating things that have happened in the news that you may have missed.

Ha-Ha! That Wasn’t Funny

In Pennsylvania, Beaver County Sheriff Tony Guy received a gift through the mail at the county courthouse. The problem was, when the box was x-rayed, as all mail is done there, the box appeared to be holding a grenade. The courthouse was evacuated as a precaution for 80 minutes while authorities determined where the package came from.

It was found that the gift had a return label and was from a friend of the sheriff’s. It was, in fact, a grenade, but a gag grenade and fake. It had been mounted on a plaque that read, “Complaint department. Take a number.” A ticket was stuck to the pin of the grenade. There was no report if the sheriff put the plaque up in his office.

A Monkey Photographer

The ownership of a picture that went viral was decided by a federal judge, but the photographer wasn’t human, it was a monkey. The monkey took his own selfie that went viral, but a federal judge in San Francisco decided that he didn’t own the copyright to it.

Nature photographer, David Slater, was in Indonesia in 2011 when he had left his camera sitting on a tripod while photographing wildlife. It was taken by animals in the area, and a macaque monkey named Naruto took a picture of himself grinning. Slater contended that the copyright of the photo belonged to him. He asked Wikimedia Commons to take the picture off their website, but they refused, saying that it belonged in the public domain since it was taken by an animal and not a human. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) got in on the act and filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Naruto, claiming that he held the copyright to the photo since he took it.

According to the Associated Press, the opinion of U.S. District Judge William Orrick said, “while Congress and the president can extend the protection of law to animals as well as humans, there is no indication that they did so in the Copyright Act.” We’re not sure what Naruto’s response was to the decision.

We Would Like a Piece of That Luck, Please

A woman in Massachusetts won a $1 million prize from the state’s lottery not once, but twice, and after only seven months.

Jane Hoyt became the first grand prize winner in Massachusetts “Holiday Bonus” State Lottery game. She had previously won $1 million in the lottery’s “World Class Millions” game seven months before. She cashed out the winnings from both games and got two payments worth $650,000, before taxes. Of course she has since retired.

Is Saruman There?

The language translator on Google can sometimes be accurate, but there was a bug that ruffled some feathers. Google has said it has fixed the bug in their translator program when using the Ukranian-to-Russian translator. The bug translated the “Russian Federation” to “Mordor”, the dark lands in The Lord of the Rings.

Google said the process is automated and not touched by humans, so the bug was not intentional. The bug has also translated the word “Russians” into “occupiers”. This is a rather touchy subject since there is an ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. In 2014, Russia made several military incursions into Ukraine’s territory.

It’s Hello Kitty, and It’s Time to Fight

Who knew Hello Kitty could cause so many problems. An Australian couple staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas created a ruckus when the hotel staff mistakenly delivered 14 pieces of luggage to their room. The couple were vacationing with their children, but when the staff tried to get the luggage back, the couple wouldn’t open the door. And they didn’t for hours. What was their complaint? It was that the resort employees had broken a Hello Kitty toothbrush, and they demanded compensation for the item.

When they finally did open the door, the wife began yelling and pointing a finger in a police officer’s face. When the officer pushed her hand down, the husband  lunged toward the officers. Just for good measure, the wife grabbed the jacket of the hotel manager and dragged her into the room, then somehow found time to strike an officer in the ear. The police arrested the couple on charges of battery and grand theft. They were later released on bail. No one knows the fate of the Hello Kitty toothbrush.

Thanks for reading another issue of the Odd Stew.  Check back again next week for more bizarre and weird things that you may have missed in your news feed.

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