Odds & Ends
By Devin D. O'Leary
JANUARY 19, 1999:
Dateline: Vietnam--Police searching for a missing man in
northern Vietnam believe that a local resident accidentally boiled
up his bones to make a traditional medicine. The unidentified
resident allegedly stumbled across the scorched skeleton of the
missing man at the site of a recent forest fire in Phu Tho province,
northeast of Hanoi. Thinking they were the remains of a large
monkey, the man brought the burned bones back to his home and
rendered them into a "glue-like substance." Forensic
tests performed on a skull found at the home prove that the bones
were human. Police now strongly suspect that they belong to the
missing man, who may have committed suicide by self-immolation.
Dateline: Philippines--Police in Manila have found a new
way for Santa to deal with people who have been naughty--by whipping
out his .44 Magnum. Over the Christmas holiday, undercover police
officers dressed like Santa Claus were stationed throughout the
Filipino capital. Each was dressed in the familiar red costume
and was packing a semi-automatic pistol. The Sgt. Claus patrol
was intended to combat the increase in purse snatchers and pickpockets
at Manila malls during the holidays.
Dateline: Texas--If you're thinking of dumping that dried-up
Christmas tree and you happen to live in Corpus Christi, then
you'd better think twice. Over the next six months, the city's
solid waste department plans to hide dozens of cameras in trees,
bushes or atop buildings to catch illegal trash dumpers in the
act. City officials estimate illegal dumpers toss out about 70,000
tons of furniture, construction material, household trash, yard
waste and other garbage each year.
Dateline: Connecticut--For the second year in a row, operators
of Connecticut's commuter train line into New York drafted a special
120-member task force to deal with their number one problem on
New Year's Eve--rivers of alcohol-fueled vomit. Last year, instead
of merely mopping up the aftermath of the drunken holiday, the
Metro-North Commuter Railroad began distributing motion sickness
bags to its tipsy passengers. The derisively dubbed "puke
patrol" was on hand again this year to direct "confused"
passengers, to watch for criminal activity and to hand out the
holiday barf bags. An estimated 30,000 passengers made their way
home from NYC celebrations after midnight.
Dateline: Ohio--While Times Square reveled in Dick Clark
and wall-to-wall disgorge, tiny Port Clinton, Ohio, rang in the
New Year in their own unique way. Instead of the Big Apple's famed
lighted ball, the self-proclaimed "Walleye Capital of the
World" celebrated the last moments of 1998 by dropping an
18-foot fiberglass fish from a crane. The 500-pound fish--nicknamed
"Wylie"--took 160 hours to create and had eyes made
out of two glass casserole dishes. Some 6,000 people gathered
in Port Clinton to watch the fish drop.
Dateline: Pennsylvania--Philadelphia residents two weeks
ago gobbled up the world's largest Philly cheesesteak. At 365
feet, 7 inches, the humongous hometown sandwich was longer than
a football field. Local residents were hoping that the record-breaking
lunch would also break a losing streak for the Philadelphia Eagles
football team. It did not. After fans at Veterans Stadium devoured
the 1,790-pound cheesesteak, the Eagles lost their 13th game this
season, breaking another record--for most losses in a season.
Dateline: New Mexico--Speaking of record-breakers: Carlsbad,
N.M., resident Kevin Cole earned himself a place in the Guinness
Book of World Records by blowing a 7 1/2-inch strand of spaghetti
out of his nose. Cole nabbed the record at a Dec. 16 competition
when he bested the former world record holder, Matt Welch, by
a starchy 2 inches. "It's not very often that Carlsbad gets
put on the map like this," Cole proudly told reporters.