EBay Auction: Fighter Jet, Assembly Required

A Navy fighter jet is for sale on eBay (search) for a mere $1 million — if the buyer feels like assembling and painting it, that is.

Those who expect their F/A-18A Hornet jets to come fully ready for flight have to plunk down a little more: $9 million, to be exact, The Associated Press reports.

Only U.S. residents can bid in the aircraft auction, which is scheduled to end Thursday.

Mike Landa, of Landa and Associates (search), the Washington state brokerage that has listed the fighter on the Internet auction service, wouldn’t say who the original owner was.

But Landa told The Virginian-Pilot that he got his hands on it legally, the fighter jet is in parts and it came from military service in 1994.

"This thing obviously slipped through the system somehow," Landa said.

The jet once belonged to the Navy’s Blue Angels (search) aerial demonstration team, has just passed the $1 million mark on the online auction site. An F/A-18 in 1997 cost the military $28 million, according to the Blue Angels' official Web site.

The FBI paid Landa a visit after he put the jet up for bidding. They wanted to know "what are you selling here," he said. "They wanted to have the scoop on it."

Landa said he has no doubt that someone will surface to claim the Hornet. The jet's model can fly about 1,400 mph and climb 30,000 feet in a minute.

Forked Tongues Won't Be Wagging

A new fad called tongue-splitting has never been for the faint of heart – but it's become criminal in one state and could in another if a bill passes that make it illegal for anyone but a doctor to perform the procedure.

After Illinois made the trend a crime, the West Virginia House of Delegates majority leader in Charleston also wants to put an end to forked tongues, so he proposed the legislation, according to The Associated Press.

"That's a new fad, like tongue piercing, and once it's done it's permanent, you can't sew it back together," said West Virginia House Majority Leader Rick Staton. "We have some health issues that are associated with it."

At the urging of a lawmaker who is a dentist, the Illinois Legislature passed a law allowing only a physician or dentist to perform such an operation, and then only for medical purposes. There are no known medical purposes for splitting a tongue, and few doctors are known to perform the procedure.

Medical professionals say tongue-splitting can cause nerve damage, infection, heavy bleeding, permanent speech problems and swelling, among other complications.

The tongue-splitters say they find the look fetching and eye-catching, and they’re excited about being able to move both sides of the tongue independently after the slicing is over.

Most people have the procedure done at tattoo or piercing parlors, said Staton, who learned about the practice from an Associated Press story last summer.

The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, where it has yet to gain a hearing. "We may look at it," said Judiciary Chairman Jon Amores, D-Kanawha. "We need to first determine if there is a bona fide problem."

Tacky Pig Might Get Roasted

STAFFORD, Va. (AP) — Rick Ivey is big on his pig. He's got a giant fiberglass pig over his barbecue place, the Virginia Barbecue Company (search), on US1 in Stafford County, Va.

But county officials want to give the porker the boot. Ivey has been given a month to remove the swine or face a fine.

Stafford Supervisor Kandy Hilliard likes the food at Ivey's restaurant, but says the pig is tacky and makes the area look bad.

Ivey isn't about to let his $1,100 pig get a roasting. He says he'll appeal the ruling that his pig violates the local sign ordinance.

Man Uses Iraq War to Fake His Wife's Death

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — A man believed to have been the victim of a cruel prankster who told him his wife had been killed in Iraq has admitted concocting the story and was arrested Sunday, authorities said.

Edward Valentin, whose wife Betsy is an Army Reserve sergeant, was charged with making a false statement to police, falsely reporting an incident concerning a death and harassment, Police Chief Neil O'Leary said.

Valentin was being held in lieu of $5,000 bail. "As far as why he did it, there's no clear answer," O'Leary said. "He claimed he did it because he has been struggling with three children. And if everyone felt sorry for him, including the military, they'd send Betsy home."

O'Leary said investigators also discovered that Valentin had been trying to date another woman, who was not interested in dating a married man.

Valentin told reporters that he received a call Wednesday from someone identifying himself as a colonel at the Department of Defense (search). The caller, he said, told him his wife had been killed in an explosion.

On Thursday, however, he received a call from his wife. There had been no explosion and no injuries. That led investigators to believe there had been a hoax.

Police said Saturday that Valentin admitted making up the story.

Valentin's story began to fall apart when a reporter for The Republican-American of Waterbury, who had previously interviewed Betsy Valentin, e-mailed her in Iraq. Hours later, she returned the e-mail and called her husband.

It was unclear Sunday whether Betsy Valentin knew her husband had been arrested. Maj. John Whitford of the Army National Guard said that the news would be passed through the chain of command.

Maybe He's Never Heard of the Wright Brothers

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — With directions from the Internet and an old Russian truck motor, a Vietnamese farmer fulfilled his dream of making his own helicopter. The job took two friends, seven years and $30,000.

Now, military officials say he can't fly it, because he didn't get approval to build it, and they confiscated the makeshift copter.

"It's my hobby," farmer Le Van Danh complained by telephone Monday from his hometown of Tay Ninh, in Vietnam's southwest. "I will do whatever I can, including going to the prime minister, to get the permission."

True, he admits, the helicopter is still a work in progress: It only rises about 18 inches off the ground. "We are in the process of a fifth test of moving forward and backward, left and right," Danh said.

Getting approval to keep working on the chopper won't be easy. No Vietnamese individual has ever been granted a government license to build an aircraft, said Le Cong Tinh, director of the Air Transport Safety division of the country's Civil Aviation Administration.

The farmer said he won't give up, vowing to sell his house or 25 acres of land if that's what it takes to get the license. "If I cannot do it, my children or my grandchildren will do it," he said.

Vermont Ice-Melting Contest: Better Than Watching Paint Dry?

WEST DANVILLE, Vt. (AP) — Residents are gearing up for an annual rite of spring, but no one knows when it's going to happen.

The 17th annual Joe's Pond Ice Out (search) invites people to guess when the ice on a pond will start to melt. When the water is frozen, organizers place a cement block on a wooden pallet that sits atop Joe's Pond in West Danville, about 20 miles northeast of Montpelier.

Attached to the block is a rope connected to an electric clock inside a nearby house. When the pallet breaks free of the ice, the rope triggers the clock, which records the time.

Don Walker and others sell tickets. Half of the money goes to the person with the closest guess; the other half helps pay for the July 4 fireworks display at Joe's Pond. Organizers sold almost 6,500 tickets last year, including some to adventurous guessers in California and The Netherlands.

"It's a pretty big deal and people get into it," Walker said.

The ice gave way on April 28, but Walker has recorded a melting date as late as May 6.

Compiled by Foxnews.com's Catherine Donaldson-Evans.

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