Out-of-the-ordinary news from the folks at "Studio B"

Animal Farm

You could tell morale was low among workers at England's famous Blackpool Resort (search) because all their ears were drooping. They were tired of being treated like slaves and being beaten down like government mules.

So a group of 200 donkeys and 40 horses unionized. They "heeed" and "hawed" and finally got the workers' rights they deserve. The "Donkey Charter" entitles them to an hour lunch in a nine-hour workday. Their beach trips are limited to 200 yards. And they get regular medical exams by vets of their hooves, ears, teeth and coats. And, they have Friday's off. Sometimes it's good to be a jackass.

Really Lucky Fortune Cookie

Lottery officials thought someone cracked the code when 110 players hit five of the six numbers in the big Powerball drawing on March 30th. They had to shell out as much as a half-million dollars each.

So the lotto people dug deep. They studied everything from TV shows to numerical patters when all they had to do was order the General Chow's combination plate. Turns out, the lucky numbers all came from a fortune cookie. The fortunes were being churned out at a factory across the river in Queens. The numbers were picked out of a bowl. So it really was, just a lucky lotto drawing.

'Jesus' Can't Drive in West Virginia

A lot of people over the past 2,000 or so years have claimed to be Jesus Christ. One guy says he can prove it: He's got a U.S. passport and a Social Security card that says he's the son of man. But he just about needs to perform a miracle to get a driver's license in West Virginia.

The DMV wouldn't buy that he was really Christ since his Florida birth certificate had his old name on it. Mr. Christ — who is moving from Washington, D.C. to West Virginia — told them that he changed his name because of his love for the other Jesus. The official name change is being tossed around in the D.C. courts even though he says he's been using the name for years. When asked for a comment on the legal fight Jesus said, "Christ is not speaking to the press at this time."

Chicken Congestion

All they wanted to do was get to the other side. Instead, they caused a traffic jam in a booming California community of 50 residents. So they got a ticket and ended up in court.

Now, the judge wants to know, "Why did the chickens cross the road?" Probably because they didn't know it was illegal to jaywalk. The owners are crying "foul," saying the cops are trying to make an example of them. And that it's not fair to tar and feather the chickens. Police say it's no joke and that chicken congestion is a big problem. The trial is set for May 16th.

Sex for Steak

He was short on cash and, apparently, short on love. One thing he wasn't short on was meat.

Cops in Providence say a guy who worked for a meat company offered a prostitute two Grade A T-bone steaks for a little lovin'. It turns out the prostitute was an undercover cop — and possibly a vegetarian. He plead not guilty to the charges.

Police say a case of "sex for steak" is rare. In fact, they think it's the first time.

Burger Belly Buster

They took it as a personal insult: A woman — weighing in at 100 pounds — made minced meat of the mammoth 11 pound burger at Denny's Beer Barrel Pub (search) in Clearfield, Pennsylvania. And to add insult to a heart attack, a rival eatery introduced a 12-and-a-half pound burger named "Zeus."

So, Denny's Beer Barrel Pub fought back with 10-and-a-half pounds of ground beef, 25 slices of cheese, a head of lettuce, three tomatoes, two onions, and a cup-and-a-half each of mayonnaise, relish, ketchup, mustard and banana peppers and a big bun. The winner and, once again, "Burger King" weighed in at 15 pounds — the "Beer Barrel Belly Buster." The restaurant's owner says it can feed a family of 10. And only costs $30.

Last weekend, four men tried to bust the "Belly Buster," but walked out with doggy bags.

Filling the Sexual Void — in a Droid

It's not news from the future. It's news from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away about a little droid named R2D2. A droid who needed a little excitement on the boring desert planet of Tatooine.

You see, according to Contact News, the 70-year-old actor who actually wears the metal R2 costume in the "Star Wars" (search) movies told the film crew that he's going nuts in the tight little garbage can, take after take. So this time around during Episode III, along with all those circuits, they wallpapered the inside of R2 with pictures of naked ladies. Droid morale is now high. No word on if Princess Leia, in her Jabba the Hutt slave outfit, made the cut.

Boozin' at Zero Gravity

It's a high and dry community: No bars, no speakeasies to speak of. It's outer space.

But one Russian cosmonaut, who just got back down to Earth, says he should have been allowed to have a drink. He said a little wine or cognac would have helped settle his nerves and actually would have improved his work on the International Space Station (search).

Don't Stiff Girl Scouts

When the Girl Scouts (search) come a knocking, you can usually count on some cookie goodness. But, now you might be facing legal action if you don't pay for what they bring.

A group of Girl Scouts in Wisconsin is suing a few alleged deadbeats for taking the famed cookies and not paying for them. The Girl Scouts say they've been trying to collect cash from several people for two years. Now they've had enough and have filed lawsuits in small claims court to collect.

Crook with a Conscience

It started out as your typical robbery. A woman in northern Oklahoma came home to find her TV, VCR and stereo had all been stolen. She called police to report the crime and life went on.

Then, a few days later, the woman once again found her home had been broken into. But instead of finding anything missing, she found everything returned. Her TV, VCR and stereo were back where they used to be with the wires reconnected. The robber even repaired the doorjamb which was damaged in the original break-in! Cops are calling it a crook with a conscience.

Unflattering Comparison

He was just appointed to the job, but some folks in the Czech Republic say their new prime minister has a familiar face.

The new head of government was put into office last month, after the previous prime minister resigned in a political scandal. And, now, a Czech tabloid is making an unflattering comparison.

It claims he looks exactly like Springfield Mayor Joe Quimby — from the TV cartoon "The Simpsons." Quimby is described on the show as an illiterate tax-cheating, wife-swapping, pot-smoking, spend-o-crat. No word on what the prime minister thinks of the comparison.

Too Good to Be True

It sounded like a great deal: A sprawling mansion in the heart of India's capital city, with water and electricity running 24-7. It was too good to pass up for one businessman here in the U.S.

According to an Indian newspaper, the man answered the online ad and shelled out $800,000 for a house he'd never actually seen. When he arrived in India to check out his prize, he was stopped at the gate. Turns out the house the man thought he had purchased belongs to the prime minister of India. And it wasn't for sale. Indian intelligence is investigating the online fraud.

Popcorn Mystery Solved!

They've discovered solar systems billions of miles away. Yet one mystery of science has baffled the smart people for more than a half-century: Why don't all the popcorn kernels pop?!?

You know, you nuke a bag of microwave popcorn and at the bottom of the bag there are always a few pieces that didn't go along for the ride. And we've all nearly broken our teeth trying to eat them anyway.

Well, scientists at Purdue University (search) say they've figured out snacking's unsolved mystery. They say it has to do with the shell and how hard or soft it is. The harder it is, the more moisture it holds in and the more pressure that builds up and explodes once it's heated. Those pesky leftover kernels mean too much moisture escaped the shell, making it unable to pop. The findings will be published in the July edition of Biomacromolecules.

Sleepy Juror

The court reporter was typing away when she suddenly stopped. She probably didn't know how to spell out a long, obnoxious yawn.

That's what juror No. 2386 did right in the middle of an L.A. courtroom during jury selection for an attempted murder trial. The judge said it was rather audible and the potential juror said back, "I'm sorry, but I'm really bored." So the judge added a little juice to the proceedings. He put the guy in contempt of court, fined him a $1000 and called his behavior lousy. "Are you bored now?" the judge asked.

The fine was reduced to $100 and he paid it. Oh yeah, by the way, he was not selected for trial.

'Mad Max 2' Fanatics

They were drifters in a post-apocalyptic wasteland — a fearless legion of doom — road warriors blocking a road in San Antonio and surrounding a tanker truck. Only they were armed with fake machine guns and movie tickets.

You see, they weren't real road warriors — just a group of hardcore fans of the film "Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior." They were on their way to a movie marathon and they got pretty into it, dressing up like the characters. They even decided to re-create one scene. But nobody told the drivers on the San Antonio highway who, apparently, are not fans of Mel Gibson's ruthless, savage and spectacular action flick. They called cops and told them an apparent militia was in town.

The 11 guys were charged with obstruction of a highway and a couple of them with carrying illegal knives. By the way, that movie marathon — canceled.

40,000 Hilda Schrader Whitchers

You've probably never heard of Hilda Schrader Whitcher. But it turns out some 40,000 people have impersonated Mrs. Whitcher.

You see, she was a secretary for a New York wallet manufacturer in the 1930s. The company she worked for started including fake Social Security cards in its wallets. The card was the wrong size, the wrong color and it even had the word "specimen" scrawled across it. But there was one real thing about it: the Social Security number, 078-05-1120, was Hilda's digits.

Over the next few decades, tens of thousands of wallet-buyers thought her Social Security number was theirs. They even used it on their tax forms. Mrs. Whitcher was eventually given a new Social Security number, saying she didn't understand how people could be so stupid.

Honoring the President

A man came down on a flaming pie and said, "You shall be called The Beatles — with an 'a'." That's how the late John Lennon explained the naming of his fairly well known rock n' roll band.

Well, a new group of beetles — with an "e" — got its name from Washington. A professor at Cornell University (search) named three new species of beetles after the president, vice president, and the secretary of defense. She says she's honoring them for having "the courage of their convictions."

You can find the Bush-eye beetles in Ohio and North Carolina. The Rumsfeld-eye and the Cheney-eye beetles make their homes south of the border in Mexico.

A Computer Geek Forgot to Save

You know the drill: You buy a brand new computer — all the bells and whistles — and it's a dinosaur the next day. Well, someone — back when computers were the size of Cadillacs — told you so. He's Intel (search) founder Gordon Moore — the Carnac of computer chips.

Moore's law said computer chip performance would double every year or two. Many couldn't imagine that when it was published 40 years ago in the now defunct Electronics Magazine. That issue is now the Dead Sea scrolls of the computer world. Nobody has it and techno geeks consider it history. Even Moore lost his copy.

So, listen up, pack rats. Moore is offering $10,000 to anyone who has a copy of the April 19, 1965 issue — in mint condition, of course. And how fitting — he posted the want ad on eBay.

Super Senior

You may have heard of the "super senior" — a college guy on the five, six, or even seven-year plan.

Well, John "Bluto" Blutarsky (search) has nothing on one student at The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Twenty-eight-year-old Johnny Lechner is now on his 11th year. He's compiled 234 credits — about 100 more than he needs to walk down the aisle. But Johnny doesn't want to enter the real world.

The school wants him out so bad they've installed a so-called "slacker tax." It doubles your tuition after you pass 165 credits. But Johnny, whose new goal is running for student body president, says he's not worried. He's going to try to make it an even dozen.

When asked when his college career will cross the line from amusing to pathetic, he quipped, "probably three years ago."

Rest in Peace, Pope John Paul II

I hope you were up Friday morning, for this funeral for the ages. A production like none the world has ever witnessed. The stage — among the most spectacular in all the world. The lighting — amazing. A bright and shining morning. Then cloud cover for the Mass. Then, as the pope's body was lifted for its final trip into the Basilica, the sun peeked out from behind the blanket of clouds — stunning. The choir and the organ, the priests and the cardinals, the kings and queens and the presidents and prime ministers — all hit their marks, as the Vatican had planned for many years. The Church is very good at pageantry. The pope seemed to understand how to craft it for the media — how to script it. It was perfect.

The variable here was the crowd — 10 times what the fire marshal would allow in the ancient theater. Yet in they came and I think they stole the show. Italian hosts with open arms. The Polish pilgrims with their flags and heavy hearts. Muslims and Jews. Young and old. From around the planet they journeyed to sleep in the streets, to stand in the lines, to suffer and to celebrate. Not here for the production they witnessed, but for the man, the pope, they admire and respect. For the teacher, yet they were the teachers today. They taught me that people of all faiths, political adversaries, ideological opposites, battlefield opponents, can unite around one man and one idea. The pontiff's message was love. Today they embodied it. Today they proved, as the world watched, that love is more powerful than any other force — just like Karol Wojtyla (search) instructed all along. It was quite a production. But it's the spirit of the pilgrims that will come home to America — with me.

Loogie Patrol

No matter how much you like the city you're living in, there's always something that could be improved. For instance, in Los Angeles there may be too much smog, or in New York too many taxes.

Well, a new survey of people in Beijing shows the thing they have too much of is spit. Spitting in public came in number one on the list of things people living in Beijing can't stand — easily beating out lovers who show affection in public. Folks there agree that the city should punish people who "hock their loogies" where other people walk.

5-for-1

They say the house always wins. But that's not the case at the Bluff's Run Casino (search) in Iowa — at least for one night.

One machine in the casino made everyone who used it a winner. But it wasn't a slot machine; it was a bill-changing machine. When you put in a $100, you're supposed to get five $20s. But this machine had it backwards, giving out five $100s for one Benjamin. Casino management says it went on for about six hours. The mistake was realized when the machine came up short at the end of the day — $46,640 short.

Turns out a casino worker loaded the machine wrong, leading to the mistake. Needless to say, the worker has been fired. Casino management says they've tried to use security video to recover the cash. So far, they're having little luck.

A Cure for Snooze-aholics

How many times do you hit the snooze button on your alarm clock in the morning: once, twice, maybe five times? Some people just can't stop. They're snooze-aholics. Well, now there's an alarm clock that won't take all that snoozing lying down. It'll take off running. Literally.

MIT scientists have invented an alarm clock that bolts to another part of the room every time you hit the snooze button. It has padding and wheels and everything. And everyday "clocky" finds a new place to hide. The inventors say the search should be stressful enough to keep even the sleepiest snooze-aholic from going back to bed.

Summer Skiing

Tin foil is a modern marvel of sorts. You can use it for so many things: wrapping up leftovers, getting those hard to find TV stations — for those of you who remember the pre-cable years — and wearing it as a helmet to keep the government from reading your mind.

Well, the Swiss government has found another use. This summer they're planning to wrap mountain glaciers in it, so they won't melt. You see, they want to ski in the summer and some scientists think the tin foil will reflect the sun. Others are calling the plan absurd, instead suggesting that four million gallons of sunscreen should do the trick.

A Round on the House

It's considered a landmark in the Houston area — a place known around the country as a unique folk-art site. But over the past decades, it's been slowly falling apart. The reason? It's a house surrounded by cans — beer cans — the brew buff.

The man who owned the place attached the cans to his house instead of fixing it up. He made fences out of beer cans and even hung beer can garlands from his roof. Now, thanks to some donations, the house won't be "canned." A group says once it's all fixed up, the place will be opened to the public.

Ireland Forever

Erin Go Bragh — probably the only piece of the Irish language you've ever heard. It means "Ireland Forever." On this Saint Patrick's Day, students under the golden dome in South Bend — the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame — are keeping the Irish language alive — forever. Almost 900 undergrads are taking at least one class in Irish studies, including 155 taking Irish language, even though most of their elders left their history on Ellis Island.

Saddle Up

One third grader in Bismarck, North Dakota doesn't need a bus pass to get to school. She doesn't need to carpool; she doesn't need a bike or even her own two feet. All she needs is a saddle and some grain. She takes the half-hour ride to her one-room school on a mule named Ruth. She's been burrowing to school since the first grade. And her dad has to pry her off Ruth on days when it's below zero because Ruth has to wait outside tied to a tree. Ruth has to be tied down because the nine-year-old girl learned her lesson when her other mule ran home without her.

New Addition

A new listing in Webster's New World College Dictionary reads: noun: a prank in which the victim's under-shorts are jerked upward so as to become wedged between the buttocks. It's listed under the letter "W". Wedgie — making people walk funny for years — now a part of the English language.

Still no listing for atomic wedgie. If you want the definition of that, see anyone in your old high school A-V club — or ask George Costanza.

Strike!

Smells commonly associated with a bowling alley — hot dogs, beer, smoke, sweat, B.O., feet. Do they really think that spray does anything to those shoes? Now, one company is offering an oasis from the odor. Storm Products INC is now selling fruit-scented bowling balls: green apple, cherry, orange and 40 others. About half the bowlers on the pro tour are using them. One kingpin said it even helped him win — because the licorice scent distracted his opponent.

An Out-of-the-Ordinary Holdup

Cops in Cranberry, PA are looking for a guy who tried to rob Gordon's Mini Market. He's described as having a yellowish complexion, floppy ears, and a collar on that said: If lost, return to Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Magic Kingdom, Orlando, Florida. Turns out the gunman was wearing a Pluto mask. The clerk was laughing so hard at him that he barreled over and totally ignored the thief. Pluto was just stumped out of frustration. Bad dog!

In a related incident — a white duck wearing only a sailor's shirt and no pants was seen later on in the night streaking down the street.

Man's Best Friend

They say Murphy Smith was a little bit puzzled when he got the subpoena in the mail. He was being called to testify at the murder trial of Albert Smith. Both of them lived at the same home in Bentonville, Arkansas. So Murphy did what it said on the subpoena and showed up at court. But when he got there, the court wanted nothing to do with him. You see, Murphy Smith is only five years old. And that might not have been a problem except Murphy is also a dog.

Turns out Albert Smith sent his dog, Murphy, a letter from jail. That's where prosecutors got Murphy's name.

Speeding Donkey

It was a serious accident. A motorcycle hitting another vehicle on the road in the Colombian capital of Bogotá. The driver flying off and breaking a few bones. So when police arrived on the scene, they followed the law and impounded both of the vehicles involved. Now, in the Bogotá impound, there lies a scratched-up motorcycle and a slightly damaged donkey named Pacho. The motorcyclist's family says Pacho acted like a jackass — which he is. Pacho's owner, asking police to release him, says you can't pin the blame on the donkey.

Stolen Fingers

America's spy agency has taken heat for all kinds of things — but this kind of puts things in perspective.

According to a British news service, Serbia sent spies into London's world-famous wax museum Madame Tussauds. Their mission: To collect a small "shaving" of wax from one of the displays. Apparently, Serbia wanted to make sure its wax museum was just as good. So the secret agents went to the museum and returned not with a shaving, but with two wax fingers.

Serbia — apologizing to the museum — admitted there was a "miscommunication." Madame Tussauds says they would have gladly given Serbia a finger — if only they had asked.

Partying Hamster

The neighbors were sick of it — loud music blasting from an apartment in Germany for
days, all the lights on 24-7. Must have been some party, right? So finally they called the cops. The police rang the bell — no one answered. They thought someone was dead. So they knocked down the door to find a hamster — livin' it up while his daddy was out of town. A friend of the owner says he kept everything on so the hamster wouldn't feel lonely.

What ever happened to a hamster wheel?

Not Your Average Roof Rack

Drivers put all kinds of things on top of their cars: mattresses, bikes, skis. One woman in Idaho got the attention of a random guy as she was driving on the highway. The man came up to her car — pointing to the roof. The woman couldn't quite figure out why. She thought maybe her ski rack came loose — but that wasn't the case. It turns out her cat was perched up there and had been, in fact, for the past 10 miles. The woman didn't even notice the orange tabby when she stopped for gas.

The cat, we're told, is doing just fine.

Strange Traffic Stop

It's never fun for drivers to get pulled over by police. One woman in Illinois says she's gotten her share of tickets and the sound of a police siren is enough to make her jump. But the last time she was pulled over was something she'll never forget.

She was with her boyfriend at the time and the cops claimed the problem was a busted brake light. The driver got out to see for herself.

Then, she was asked to take a sobriety test for a police training tape. Her boyfriend was asked to do the same thing. When it was his turn, he got down on one knee and pulled out an engagement ring.

His girlfriend said yes.

We're told police were in on the proposal the whole time.

Traffic Stop With a Twist

Police in Rock Hill, South Carolina (search), pull over a U-Haul truck because it had a burned out taillight. The driver told the cops he was hauling a couch for a friend. But then they heard scratching sounds coming from the back.

So the cops opened the latch and found 20 people inside — partying it up with kegs and whiskey. They say they rented the truck for someone's 21st birthday and that they were just driving around because all the bars were closed.

The truck's driver was charged with reckless driving and 11 people were cited for underage drinking.

Forecast Is Cloudy

You can't control the weather, but meteorologists (search) can control the forecasts. They've got all kinds of fancy equipment to help them do it. They aren't always right, but for the most part, they give it their best shot.

But in Romania, one weatherman's best just wasn't enough. The top meteorologist in the country's been fired for giving "lousy" forecasts. Romania's environmental minister says his predictions were either too good, or too bad.

Taking Carding to a New Level

There's a funny thing about getting carded. When you're underage, it's that terrifying moment when you wonder if it's all over. When you're on the cusp of being legal, it's a moment of pride. When you're older it can even be a compliment.

But, at Pick 'n Save and Copps Grocery Stores in Wisconsin you have to show proof of age every time you buy cigarettes, or alcohol. No one gets a free pass. Not even a 74-year-old woman who comes in all the time. She says the carding was flattering the first time. But now, she says it's just a nuisance.

Small World

It wasn't love at first sight, because they had already met each other — only they didn't know it.

A lonely Jordanian man and woman started chatting on the Internet (search). They exchanged romantic e-mails, probably even a few of those yellow electronic "kissy faces." It was a love they thought was so strong that cyberspace couldn't contain it, so they decided to meet.

Turns out… they were already man and wife. Small world, eh?

At the not-so-blind date the husband screamed, "You are divorced, divorced, divorced!"

The wife yelled, "You are a liar!" and fainted dead away.

Hook 'em Horns!

It looks like there's a bit of a cultural divide between Texans and Norwegians (search). For whatever reason, folks in the Scandinavian country were watching President Bush's inaugural parade yesterday, when they saw the leader of the free world salute the devil.

The president and his family threw up their right hands with the index and pinky fingers raised. At home in Texas, it's a salute to the University of Texas Longhorns. But overseas, it's a sign of the devil.

The White House is not making any apologies.

Woolly Mistake

New Zealand (search) is the country that proudly declares it has 10 sheep for every human, so the government thought it would be a nice idea to dedicate a stamp to the woolly creatures. The stamp features a female sheep... an ewe with a full body and powerful, curled horns.

The problem is, ewes don't have horns like that. They only have tiny stumps! In fact, the proud symbol of New Zealand looks more a ram on the stamp.

Politicians — demanding an explanation from the artist. His answer... he took some artistic liberties.

Now That's a Supersize Burger

Someone has finally stood up to the challenge at Denny's Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield, Penn. by eating a six-pound hamburger along with five pounds of fixin's in less than three hours.

That includes a whole onion, two tomatoes, a half-head of lettuce, more than a pound of cheese and a cup each of mayo, ketchup, mustard, relish, peppers and pickles. All of that... on top of a six-pound burger!

That's more than one-tenth of the total body weight of Kate Stelnick. She's the one who accomplished the feat, finishing that entire thing in two hours and 54 minutes.

The 100-pound college student from New Jersey says she didn't eat for two days so there'd be enough room to get the whole thing down.