Lights Out for the Griswold Family Christmas

Sometimes your huge, crazy, dancing holiday light display can be a little too popular.

Cops asked a Deerfield Township, Ohio, man who covered his house with 25,000 Christmas lights rigged to dance when holiday music plays to pull the plug on the display after a car wreck Tuesday night, according to Cox News Service.

Carson Williams, the owner of the house, told police he would turn off his holiday decorations indefinitely.

As earlier reported in Out There, Williams spends nearly two months hooking up the 25,000 lights and programming them to dance — hundreds of cars drive by his house north of Cincinnati every night to see the display, which also is posted online.

Sheriff's deputies couldn't reach the scene of the accident because of the cars lined up on his neighborhood streets, Williams told a local Cincinnati TV station.

"He told us if we start having traffic problems that he would shut the display down for a while," Warren County sheriff's Lt. Ed Petrey told Cox News Service.

Williams' holiday light show drew national media coverage because the 25,000 lights are synched by computer with music beamed to car radios.

"I do a frosty song, 'God Bless the USA,' and then 'Wizards of Winter,'" as the three songs in the 12-minute show, Williams told Cincinnati's Local 12 News.

Around 7:30 p.m. near Williams' dancing-light display, two cars collided but there were no injuries.

"I told the neighbors, I told the sheriff, if they get any complaints, I'll shut it down, because the neighbors are more important to me than the Christmas lights," Williams said on NBC's "Today" show on Monday.

For now, Williams' eccentric light show will only be viewable on the Internet, motorists have been lining up between 6 and 10 p.m. since the display kicked off the week of Thanksgiving.

Williams, an electrical engineer, says he spent about $10,000 on his dancing Christmas lights.

— Thanks to Out There readers Tom R., Casey D., Ron M., Dan R., and Dave C.

— Click in the photo box above to see a picture of the Griswold family Christmas.

You're a Vile One, Mr. Grinch

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Meredith and Al Putnum were about to have their Christmas ruined by two robbers, but an eyewitness with some experience in chasing people arrived to save the holiday.

Meredith Putnum felt one of the men grabbing her purse as she and her husband headed for the parking lot at Concord Mills.

The other bandit was pushing Al Putnam to the ground.

The men ran off with the Putnums' presents, including a digital camera, clothing and an iPod for their three grandchildren.

John Mazzocchi, who was a defensive back for his college football team, was in his car when the scuffle broke out.

He followed the robbers in his car before jumping out.

The two men confronted him, but he treated one of them like a wide receiver and tackled the man carrying the packages.

The second robber fled, and when Mazzocchi got up, the guy he tackled ran off as well.

Mazzocchi recovered the gifts and returned them to the Putnums.

— Thanks to Out There reader Kathi C.

Zzzzzz, Wha? OK, I Guess I'll Move

EFFORT, Pa. (AP) — A black bear is going to have to find a new spot to hibernate.

As earlier reported in Out There, the bear has been sleeping under a porch in southeastern Pennsylvania. But Wednesday, wildlife officials moved it.

A couple of kids in Chestnuthill Township discovered the bear under their porch several days ago. The house isn't far from where 20 kids wait for their school bus.

State game officials estimate the snoozing bear weighed as much as 700 pounds.

The male bear was tranquilized and taken to state game lands several miles away.

Officials say the same bear had attempted to make his winter home underneath another porch two years ago.

— Thanks to Out There reader Greg M.

— Click in the photo box above to see a picture of the porch bear.

I Guess That Pizza's on Me?

OSLO, Norway (AP) — When Vegard Sjaastad delivered a pizza near the western Norwegian town of Aalesund, there was something familiar about the customer's credit card. It was his card, and had been stolen the day before.

"It was like I met myself in the doorway," the 24-year-old said by telephone Tuesday. "It was my picture on the back of the card."

Sjaastad, who manages a Peppes Pizza restaurant, his drivers license and his Visa card stolen from his car on Saturday night at his father's house. He canceled the card, and reported the theft.

He was training a new driver on Monday, and they delivered the pizzeria's 'Film Package:" a pizza, soft drinks, and the film "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" on DVD.

A man with a credit card answered the door, and clearly did not recognize Sjaastad from the picture embossed on all Norwegian Visa cards.

"I wasn't going to play hero. I'm pretty calm by nature. I just accepted the card and said 'I hope you enjoy the meal,' as we always say," he told The Associated Press.

With the address from the order form in hand, Sjaastad called the police to give an exact location of the suspects.

"I figured they could enjoy the pizza and film, as long as it lasted," he said.

Police arrived about 30 minutes later, arrested three people, and recovered suspected stolen goods, at least some of it Sjaastad's.

"I expect to get my stuff back tomorrow," he said. "This is just great. What you might dream of."

— Thanks to Out There readers Kevin N. and Beth M.

This Guy Won't Be Switching to Geico!

PORT JERVIS, N.Y. (AP) — A 19-year-old man was behind bars Tuesday after allegedly biting the head off a gecko as part of a bet.

Derrick Ford was being held in the Orange County Jail on charges of felony animal cruelty, police said.

Ford was at a friend's home Sunday when someone bet him $10 that he wouldn't bite the head off a gecko, police said.

Though Ford won the bet, it wasn't long before police showed up and placed him under arrest.

— Thanks to Out There reader Patrick H.

Whoa, That Monk Is a Total Stoner, Dude

TOKYO (AP) — A Buddhist monk was arrested Wednesday for growing marijuana near his temple in northern Japan, a police official said.

Michimaru Obara, 48-year-old monk at Eikoji shrine in Iwate prefecture (state), is suspected of cultivating about 5.3 pounds of marijuana, according to a police official who refused to give his name due to policy.

Authorities also suspect the monk sold at least 1.7 ounces of the illegal plant to an office worker near Tokyo, the official said.

Obara has already been arrested for drug possession, after police found marijuana at his home last month. The monk has admitted he cultivated the plant for personal consumption, but denies selling his harvest, reports said.

Drug penalties in Japan are harsh. Convicted drug users face up to life in prison under anti-narcotics laws, although most first-time offenders get suspended prison terms.

— Thanks to Out There reader Beth M.

Who Says That Size Matters?

SPENCER, Ind. (AP) — A Michigan real estate developer who was the highest bidder for a square-inch piece of land in Owen County came to town to pay $1,752 for the tiny parcel.

Burton Farbman's real estate development firm now owns what could be the world's most expensive piece of real estate. An acre of land at that rate would cost more than $10 billion, The Herald-Times of Bloomington reported Wednesday.

"This property fits in with the 30 years we have been in business, where nothing has been too small or too large for our company to handle," Farbman said when he paid for it Tuesday. "My passion is real estate. It would be part of history to own the most expensive and smallest piece of property ever sold."

The $1,752 covers the back taxes for the .0000000159 of an acre, which was put up for bid on eBay after it did not sell in a tax sale.

County attorney Richard Lorenz said after the story of the tiny parcel for sale was published, the county fielded questions about the land from Australia, Japan and Israel and got calls from newspapers and radio stations from all over the country.

Farbman offered to pay the future taxes — about $5 per year — on Tuesday, but the auditor said the money must be paid annually.

"So we will come back each year to pay our taxes and to visit the property," Farbman said.

Officials think the tiny piece of land in the county west of Bloomington was deeded to someone in the 1960s, when people had to own property to use a nearby lake.

— Thanks to Out There reader Angela M.

Compiled by's Andrew Hard.

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