Man, Tractor Meet Again

No, it's not a story pulled from the Soviet propaganda archives.

Mike Hottman of Aberdeen, S.D., recently got back together with his first love — a tractor.

His farming parents bought the 1964 Ford Series 2000 tractor (search) in 1965, when Hottman was just a toddler, reports the Aberdeen American News.

"I can still think of days where Mom was driving the tractor, and I was sitting there with her," he told the newspaper.

In the early 1990s, Hottman's now-widowed mother sold the tractor, and the three-stall garage that housed it, to another farmer in the nearby town of Ashley. Not much later, she herself passed away, never telling her son to whom the tractor went.

Hottman became a Chevrolet salesman and began fixing up old tractors in his spare time. Two years ago, a man from Ashley who'd just bought a car mentioned the photos of tractors on Hottman's office walls.

On a whim, Hottman asked the customer if he knew anyone in Ashley who'd bought an old Ford tractor along with a three-stall garage.

"He thought it was Randy and Eva Becker," Hottman told the American News. "I thought if I could meet this Randy and just visit with him and see it, maybe I'd have a chance at getting it back — but a real small chance."

The Beckers did have it. There was one catch — Randy Becker would only give it up in exchange for another antique tractor.

Hottman did find one on eBay, but Becker didn't like it.

"I thought I'd never get the little Ford tractor back!" said Hottman.

Finally, on March 29 of this year, Becker called to say he'd found something acceptable. The next day, the Ford was in Hottman's hands.

"I was very excited and emotional," exclaimed Hottman. "I thought, 'Can this really be?'"

Fully restored, the Ford is now running in parades and at agricultural shows.

Hottman may give the tractor to his 20-year-old daughter. He may not fix up any more tractors.

"The Ford was my ultimate goal," he told the newspaper.

Cowboy Boots Turn Couple On

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) — Two out-of-towners got caught in a rain shower, and decided to seek refuge by breaking into a shoe store.

Then one thing led to another — at least that's what the couple told the officer who found them having sex amid new boots in the store's display window.

The officer responding to a burglar alarm at Hacienda Western Wear (search) on Tuesday tapped on the glass door, disturbing Pauline Grace Rainwater, 20, and Brandon Lee Clark, 18.

The couple was naked, but Clark managed to cover himself with one hand, and wave at the police officer with the other.

The officer told the couple to get dressed. Court records show they did — and then they took off running. A call for backup brought more officers to the streets, and the two were arrested.

Clark and Rainwater were charged Thursday with burglary, resisting an officer, assaulting an officer and indecent exposure. Bail for each of the transients was set at $7,500.

Inmate Hires Stripper for Prison Talent Night

OSLO, Norway (AP) — Hoping to boost morale among his fellow inmates, a Norwegian prisoner secretly hired an exotic dancer to spice up the prison's monthly culture night.

The woman got all her clothes off, to the cheers of the male inmates, before guards could react on Wednesday night at the Hof minimum security prison in southern Norway.

"Everything had been agreed in advance with the inmates, who also had permission to invite the woman," warden Kjesti Solberg told the P4 radio network Thursday. "What we didn't know was that the hired dancer could do more than dance."

Every month, the prisoners are allowed to have a culture night, usually organizing it themselves after the show is approved.

Wednesday's show began tamely, with an inmate doing a standup comedy routine. As he left the stage, raunchy music filled the auditorium, and the woman started dancing and taking her clothes off.

"By the end, she was completely naked," Solberg said, adding the woman danced on stage for a few minutes before guards hustled her off to the roar of the inmates' laughter.

Even though Solberg seemed to be a good sport about the surprise, she said the inmate, who was not identified, would have to explain himself.

Chewing Gum Helps Hunters

DEERBROOK, Wis. (AP) — What goes in your mouth, tastes like pine trees and helps mask human-smelling breath?

The answer: Gum-o-Flage (search).

It's a new product that creator Neil Bretl is marketing to deer hunters to help fool the animals' hypersensitive noses to human scent.

Hunters already can use special soap, shampoo and clothing detergent to eliminate human smell. Some even pay $300 for scent-control coveralls or rub themselves with horse manure.

Now, for $4.99, hunters can get 12 olive green, Chiclet-style tablets in a blister pack.

"It's sugar-free, by the way," said Bretl, 35, whose license plate reads "GUM GUY."

The idea came seven years ago when Bretl, a gun hunter since boyhood, began going after deer with a bow and arrow.

That meant hunting at closer range, and Bretl took precautions to eliminate his human odor, including wearing carbon-lined clothing that was kept sealed in plastic bins with pine boughs.

Deer still picked up his scent. He turned to his brother and then-dental student Nicholas, who suggested the problem might be his breath.

Bretl contacted an organic chemist friend and began cooking gum recipes in a microwave.

"My first few batches were hideous," he said. "It was tough chewing."

But he kept experimenting and ultimately settled on a formula that incorporates anti-microbial agents, chlorophyll and three kinds of pine oil.

Bretl has no clinical evidence the gum works and hasn't done any official studies. But he says he and his associates used it after smoking cigarettes, drinking beer and eating onions and found it erased the odors.

Pumpkins Carved Underwater

KEY LARGO, Fla. (AP) — Divers submerged in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (search) over the weekend for an unusual knife-based activity — a pumpkin-carving contest.

The wacky brainchild of personnel at the Amoray Dive Resort (search) in Key Largo, the Saturday event attracted more than 30 people, some who worked individually and others in teams to carve pumpkins creating a variety of designs amid some yellowtail snapper and even a curious grouper.

Richard Patino, of Miami, won for his detailed carving that produced a traditional jack o' lantern. The team of Marvin Mayo, Jeremy Crumbley and Ray McCormick, from Atlanta, were second; John Calle, of Jacksonville, was third.

Judges looked for design originality, steadiness of hand while carving and scuba skills. The event occurred about 25 feet below the water's surface at Elbow Reef (search), about eight miles off Key Largo.

Singapore Encourages Road Manners

SINGAPORE (AP) — In its latest effort to drive home good manners, Singapore plans to reward motorists for courteous behavior on the island's roadways.

The government has launched a Road Courtesy Campaign urging drivers to wave and signal early when changing lanes.

"Whenever you start your car engine, why not consider what acts of courtesy and consideration for others you would display as you take to the roads that day," said Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs Ho Peng Kee.

"Spotters" will be in place watching for courteous drivers so they can be rewarded, Ho said Friday. Motorists spotted demonstrating good road behavior — such as signaling early, giving way, or waving to say thanks — will be given souvenirs and prizes.

Singapore, a tiny, wealthy city-state, is well-known for its campaigns to modify behavior. Among its efforts have been campaigns to teach Singaporeans to speak English properly, and to show people how to be more romantic.

Critics have denounced the numerous promotions of morality as Orwellian and condescending.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

Got a good "Out There" story in your hometown? We'd like to know about it. Send an e-mail, with a Web link (we need to authenticate these things), to