This was only a test
Police in Spain have arrested a woman for kidnapping herself in order to test her husband's devotion to her. Police say the woman took a picture of herself bound and gagged and sent it to her husband's cell phone with a ransom demand of nearly $27,000 and instructions not to contact police. Ignoring the message, her husband contacted police anyway. Authorities quickly found the woman at a shopping mall on the Mediterranean coast. When confronted, she eventually confessed to authorities she wanted "to find out what her husband would be willing to do for her."
Union of the snakes
For 20 years, the Cambodian village of Svay Rolum has had a massive female python as a town pet, but villagers didn't know what to make of a younger, smaller male python that arrived in early December. So they went to fortunetellers: "We were told that the two pythons are husband and wife and they need to live together, and if we don't marry them we will meet bad luck," one villager told reporters. The villagers quickly organized a serpentine wedding ceremony to bind in wedlock the 16-foot, 200-pound female and her new male mate. Replete with wedding music and flowers, two Buddhist monks blessed the snakes before they slithered away happily ever after.
In the tank
Once would be a minor mistake. Ten to 15 times would be a bit of a concern. Ninety-two? A scandal. That's the case in the English town of Devon, where police filled up their squad cars with the wrong fuel 92 times over 2½ years, costing taxpayers almost $15,000 in repairs to damaged engines. Most cases involved putting diesel fuel in non-diesel cars, or vice-versa. A Taxpayers' Alliance spokesman told the Mid Devon Star police misfueling nationwide has cost Brits $1.6 million: "Too much taxpayers' money is still being wasted due to sheer carelessness."
No dancing shoes
If you have spent years trolling eBay or Craigslist fruitlessly looking for a life-size wax sculpture of Patrick Swayze, you'll probably be kicking yourself: A wax likeness of the deceased actor was auctioned on Liveauctioneers.com with a starting bid of $500 before an anonymous internet bidder finally purchased it for $750. But the winner isn't through spending: The wax Swayze comes with a black polo and khakis, but without shoes.
Away from home during a mid-December weekend, Steve and Betty Ehlers of Newell, Iowa, had family member Jim Ehlers check on their house. What he found was so unusual that he took pictures to document it: The house was filled with snow. A snowstorm with winds up to 50 miles per hour had apparently blown open a side door on the house and sent snow blowing and drifting deep into the home-even into closets and cupboards. The Ehlerses say Jim and his wife shoveled most of the snow out of the house before they returned to it.
Burden of proof
Attorney Howard Lotven recently won a case in a Kansas City, Mo., court. Lotven's response: "We are disappointed." Lotven's client had been ticketed after a traffic camera spotted him running a red light, and the judge in the case bought Lotven's argument that the city's red light cameras violated defendants' rights to due process. But Lotven says he needed the judge to rule against his client so he could take his battle up the judicial food chain and eventually get to argue his claim in front of the Missouri Supreme Court, if not the United States Supreme Court. Lotven had argued that since the red light camera cannot identify who is actually driving the car, simply ticketing the car's owner violates citizens' constitutional right to due process. Now, although his client's ticket has been dismissed, Lotven says Kansas City is free to continue issuing tickets and foisting the burden of proof onto the defendant.
A recent memo sent from Alberta Health Services in Canada to its ambulance drivers has a lot of drivers seeing red. AHS has directed its drivers to refrain from exceeding a road's posted speed limit-even when the ambulance has lights on and sirens blaring. "So, what, I'm called to a call where a child is choking, and because I can't go past 50 kilometers an hour, I make way for the fire engine who is going to get there before the trained paramedics?" said Elisabeth Ballermann, president of a union representing emergency medical services workers. But AHS insists that non-speeding ambulances will be safer for other motorists and for drivers as well.
The chill of victory
The New Year arrived for Spaniard Ignacio Gonzalez first with exuberance and then with fright. Gonzalez, who lives in Spain's northern Basque country, was amazed when one of the lottery tickets he bought along with 14 other friends turned out to be the winner of a $14 million jackpot. "The New Year was off to a very good start, with a shower of millions, but on the other hand I couldn't find the ticket," Gonzalez told a local radio station. That's when his experience of winning the lottery turned into a nightmare as he turned his house over looking everywhere for his winning ticket. Fueled by the fear of what his 14 friends would do if he could not produce the ticket, Gonzalez became desperate and headed out to his neighborhood's garbage dumpster and emptied its contents onto the street. There, after rifling through bags of refuse, Gonzalez finally found the ticket that entitled him and each of his friends to roughly $800,000.
One South Carolina man unwittingly has given the rest of the world another reminder not to imitate video games. Or an episode of Seinfeld. The undisclosed man was hit by an SUV on Dec. 27 while trying to scamper across a busy four-lane highway in Clemson, S.C. His friends told police he was a fan of the classic arcade game, Frogger, and was trying to imitate the way the video game character navigates through a maze of traffic on a roadway. Hospital officials in Clemson say the 23-year-old man was in stable condition. During a 1998 episode of Seinfeld titled, "The Frogger," George Costanza attempts to navigate a classic Frogger arcade console across a busy Manhattan street in the style of the video game.