Don't Panic! Lighten Up!S

Magic Wand

Price of Vanity: 'Bargain' Picassos netted fraudsters $20m

Becoming a player in the rarefied world of art sales had never seemed easier. Without moving from their armchairs, viewers of the cable TV show Fine Arts Treasures Gallery could become the owners of works by some of the greatest artists of the 20th century. Picasso, Chagall, Dalí all came up regularly on the show, often at surprisingly low prices.

But when the winning bidders received their authenticated artwork in the post, they realised that something was not right. Often the expensive artworks were sent uninsured by the dealers. Some of them arrived bent out of shape or with staples through them. Others appeared to be expensive photocopies, executed on ordinary copy paper. And while many of the artworks were signed, as promised by the auctioneers, they were not signed by the artists.

Bizarro Earth

The baby who came back from the dead

A woman who had an operation to remove her unborn child after being told that it had died in the womb has given birth to a healthy baby boy.

Julie Brown, 29, was told after a scan at five and a half weeks that no heartbeat could be detected.

A day later she had an operation to remove the foetus, but three weeks after the dilation and curettage procedure, another doctor told her she was still carrying a live baby.

No Entry

S.C. troopers make easy drug bust

It might have been one of the easiest drug busts in the history of the South Carolina Highway Patrol: A car with 43 pounds of marijuana crashed into a trooper's cruiser, authorities said.

The easy bust happened after two patrolmen parked their cars in each lane of northbound Interstate 95 near Santee early Sunday morning following a series of wrecks that had tied up traffic, Highway Patrol Capt. Chris Williamson said.

A Chevrolet Malibu going about 70 mph hit one of the cruisers, causing minor injuries to the trooper behind the wheel, Williamson said.


Alaska moose brings down helicopter

A helicopter is not necessarily a match for an angry moose. Instead of lying down after being shot with a tranquilizer dart, a moose charged a hovering helicopter used by a wildlife biologist, damaging the aircraft's tail rotor and forcing it to the ground.

Neither the pilot nor the biologist was injured, but the moose was maimed by the spinning rotor and had to be euthanized, wildlife officials said.

"It just had to be one of those quirky circumstance. Even dealing with bears and goats and moose and wolves, this is pretty unusual and truly a very unique situation," said Doug Larsen, regional supervisor for the Division of Wildlife Conservation.

Penis Pump

Teens Accused of Making Ostrich Impotent

Three teenagers may be on the hook for a hefty fine if a court decides that their festive firecrackers outside an eastern German farm scared the libido right out of an ostrich named Gustav.

Rico Gabel, a farmer in Lohsa, northeast of Dresden, is claiming $6,450 in damages for the alleged antics of the three youths, ages 17-18, between Dec. 27 and 29, 2005.

According to his lawsuit, the farmer claims that fireworks set off by the boys made the previously lustful Gustav both apathetic and depressed, and thus unable to perform for a half-a-year with his two female breeding partners.


Royal jokers: Wassup! This Is Liz!

Princely pranksters Wills and Harry have been accused of recording a bogus message on the Queen's answerphone.

The pair were asked for help by their regal gran when she was baffled by the technology.

But she was reported to be mortified when she heard the end result.

Their message said: "Hey wassup! This is Liz. Sorry I'm away from the throne."

The recording continued: "For a hotline to Philip, press one. For Charles, press two. And for the corgis, press three."

Bizarro Earth

Spiders: 'Chastity Belts' Protect Paternity

The fact that female wasp spiders have numerous sexual contacts is something which their male partners cannot prevent. What they can do, however, is ensure that no offspring ensue from these tête à têtes with their rivals: the male spiders simply place a chastity belt on their partner while copulating. The tip of their genital breaks off during intercourse, blocking the sexual orifice of the lady spider.

Magic Wand

Woman's bus adverts for egg donor

A 54-year-old woman and her husband are advertising for an egg donor on London buses in a last-ditch attempt to try to have a baby.

Monkey Wrench

Garage has nose for hidden snake

A mysterious smell in a family saloon car led mechanics to a grisly find - a dead snake behind the instrument panel.

Staff at Murketts Garage in Histon Road, Cambridge, said they spent about three hours exploring a Vauxhall Astra before locating a 3ft python.


Human liver, partial head mistakenly delivered to Michigan family home

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Two packages containing human body parts - including a liver and a partial head - that were intended for a lab were delivered to a home instead and officials said more than two dozen similar packages could be dispersed across the United States.

Comment: You gotta wonder where these body parts came from... given the stories one hears about the Chinese using prisoners for body parts.