Unusual news nuggets from around the globe:
LONDON — British police have arrested a man after a parent’s finger was bitten off during a fight before a school’s Nativity play. Northumbria Police said a 39-year-old man was detained after a brawl broke out when parents at Harton Primary School in the northeastern English town of South Shields, outside the city of Newcastle, gathered for a traditional festive performance by their children. A 32-year-old father was taken to a hospital for medical treatment after his finger was bitten off. Police did not disclose if medics were able to save the digit.
Ad executive sends holiday cards from grave
PITTSBURGH — The holiday cards from Bob McCully were truly a special delivery — from beyond the grave. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports about 400 people recently received macabre but humorous greetings from McCully, who died in August at 88. The front of the card shows the former Pittsburgh advertising executive talking on the phone in an office. It says: “Hello, please don’t call. I recently moved to a quiet neighborhood …” Inside, the card says: “My new place doesn’t have a phone and our gates close after dark.” Pictures show the gates at Allegheny Cemetery in Lawrenceville and McCully’s tombstone.
Maine soda-and-candy-powered car travels 239 feet
BUCKFIELD, Maine — The Maine guys known for creating colorful geysers from Diet Coke and Mentos candies say they’ve set a distance record for a vehicle with soda-and-candy-powered propulsion. Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz created a single-seat rocket car powered by 54 bottles of Coke Zero and 324 Mentos. They say the Mark II traveled 239 feet, improving upon last year’s 220 feet with only half the fuel. They posted video of a 209-foot attempt online. Voltz said they incorporated a simple piston-and-cylinder mechanism to get the vehicle moving.
Airline ribs Blagojevich with ‘seat-selling sale’
CHICAGO — He’s been a pitchman for pistachios and a contestant on “Celebrity Apprentice.” Now, ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has become the unwitting face of a discount airline’s fare sale. A day after Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison on corruption charges, Spirit Airlines announced $14 one-way fares from Chicago to seven cities. It tells customers to buy now or risk missing a “seat-selling” sale. Blagojevich was caught on tape trying to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama.
Good-luck urn for bingo games stolen from van
ROCHESTER, N.H. — A New Hampshire woman who brought her mother’s ashes to bingo games for good luck is hoping for their return after the urn containing them was stolen. Police say the urn was stolen from Diane Bozzi’s van in Rochester by someone targeting unlocked cars. Diane Bozzi says the urn was in a bag that she was planning to take to her bingo game later in the day. She and her mother loved playing bingo together. Before her mother died in 2002, Bozzi promised her she would take some of her ashes with her to play. Her mother agreed, saying she would bring Bozzi luck.
Woman charged with buttocks injections gone bad
RALEIGH, N.C. — A woman on probation for performing buttocks-enhancing injections that left three women with kidney failure in 2008 has been charged with allegedly injecting an exotic dancer’s backside with a disfiguring potion, sheriff’s deputies said. Lauretta Cheek, 42, of Greensboro was arrested and charged with one misdemeanor count of practicing medicine without a license. The victim was an exotic dancer from Charlotte who wanted to augment her assets and met Cheek in a hotel room for the injection last year. Cheek’s price was about $500, but the unknown substance sent the victim to hospital emergency rooms twice, a detective said, adding, “It appears that the substance that was injected into her basically burned its way back out.”
Thieves target toilet paper at diner
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico restaurant employee says he’s now seen it all, after three men left his diner with rolls of toilet paper and were nabbed in the parking lot by police. Burgers, Dogs and Wings employee Josh Flannery-Stewart told KOAT-TV in Albuquerque that he was immediately suspicious of the men when they came in because they weren’t talking and appeared “messed up.” The three went into the bathroom and emerged carrying about a dozen rolls of toilet paper. They got in a car in the parking lot, but didn’t get far. Albuquerque police apparently already had the trio under surveillance and quickly surrounded the car and arrested them. The toilet paper was returned to its rightful owner.