Don't Panic! Lighten Up!S

Black Cat

Wisconsin fire marshal resigns after consulting online psychics

A Wisconsin fire marshal who admitted consulting online psychics at work didn't need a crystal ball to tell him it was time to resign.

Tom Weber, a 22-year fire veteran, was put on administrative leave nine months ago after he was accused of asking an online psychic on a department computer whether he and others would be successful in removing Middleton's fire chief.


Mouse absconds with Maine man's dentures

Never underestimate a mouse's determination. There's a mouse in Bill Exner's house that he says he has captured three times. Each time, the mouse escaped, and the last time the rodent made off with his lower dentures.

Exner, 68, said he and his wife Shirley scoured his bedroom after the dentures disappeared from his night stand.

"We moved the bed, moved the dressers and the night stand and tore the closet apart," he said. "I said, 'I knew that little stinker stole my teeth' - I just knew it."

Bizarro Earth

Pensioner picks up wrong grandson

A short-sighted Croatian pensioner sparked a police manhunt when he mistakenly picked up another boy instead of his grandson from a kindergarten.

Luka Karlovic, 70, arrived at a kindergarten in Zagreb to pick up his five-year-old grandson Petar.

But when an employee called for the boy to come and meet his grandfather another Petar stepped forward, and Karlovic drove off with him.


Save the planet: Stop cow burps!

Cut down on flying, sell the car and recycle your bottles. But if you really want to tackle global warming, you should stop your cow from burping.

According to scientific estimates, the methane gas produced by cows is responsible for 4% of greenhouse gas emissions. And now, German scientists have invented a pill to cut bovine burping.

The fist-sized plant-based pill, known as a bolus, combined with a special diet and strict feeding times, is meant to reduce the methane produced by cows.

Evil Rays

God-fearing villagers snub "satanic" bar codes

MOSCOW - A hundred residents of a Russian village have refused to switch to new passports because they believe the documents' bar codes contain satanic symbols, state television reported on Wednesday.


Millionaire gives mansions to homeless

HONOLULU - Dorie-Ann Kahale and her five daughters moved from a homeless shelter to a mansion Thursday, courtesy of a Japanese real estate mogul who is handing over eight of his multimillion-dollar homes to low-income Native Hawaiian families.

Penis Pump

For the (dead) Chinese man who has everything: cars and Viagra

At Wang Sufang's shop on the outskirts of Beijing, you can buy a red Mercedes, a two-storey modern villa and a small horse, all for less than £40.

The only catch is that to enjoy them, you have to be dead.

The luxuries that Miss Wang sells are paper versions, traditionally burnt by Chinese as offerings to the dead in the hope that their presence will ease the travails of the afterlife.

In the old days, all that the dead could hope for was paper "heaven money", or perhaps a bit of food. But with economic growth, variety and quality are matching the ambitions of China's new rich.

Magic Wand

Money to burn! £4m ticket left in ashtray.

They were smiling yesterday at their £4.2million National Lottery luck, but their winning ticket nearly went up in smoke after these four road workers left it in their van's ashtray overnight.

The four - who scooped the roll-over just five weeks after being told they'd have to be made redundant - stopped on the way home to buy five Lucky Dip entries.

Trevor Kimber, 47, stuffed the ticket for safekeeping overnight in the ashtray of their Ford Transit.

Next morning he and workmates David Brock, 46, Tony Fitt, 56, and David Edwards, 63, realised they were winners.
Syndicate leader Mr Brock, who bought the winner in Downham Market, Norfolk, said: "One of us normally looks after the ticket. Trevor put it in the ashtray. I know it does not sound a very safe place.

Bizarro Earth

Pampers are not an invention of the devil

The world's biggest manufacturer of household and grooming products voiced hopes yesterday that an urban myth linking it to Satanism was being crushed after four men were ordered to pay almost $20 million (£10 million) in damages for spreading the rumour.

At the end of a 12-year legal case in Salt Lake City, Utah, a US District Court jury found against a group of distributors from a rival company who had left voicemail messages alleging that part of Procter & Gamble's profits went to devil-worshipping cults.

P&G - which owns brands such as Pampers, Gillette, Head & Shoulders and Ariel - has long been in despair over the stubborn refusal of such claims to go away.


What is the most annoying phrase in the English language?

The clumsy phrases you basically like, hate

Like some Crufts for ugly mongrels, hundreds of linguistic pet hates were sent in by readers yesterday. It started with a criticism by Noel Pepperall on Thursday's Letters page of draw down applied to withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

Chief among the breeds you loathe are empty speech-markers, equivalent to er, such as, basically, you know and I mean. Tudor Gwilliam-Rees counted Tony Blair saying "Y'know" 40 times during a Today radio interview.