Make It Black for My Bottom

Your roll of toilet paper is soon to be back in black.

Fancy restrooms across Europe are now offering a chic new basic black shade of toilet paper, and many Web-savvy Australian shoppers are buying it online, according to Agence France-Presse.

Earlier this year in Spain and Portugal, Portuguese paper producer Renova put out a line of black toilet paper — and just started selling it to French shops, a company official told the AFP last week.

"The intensity of the interest in this product we got from all over the world was unexpected," Renova's international brand manager, Jose Manuel Pinheiro, told the AFP.

Calling it the world's first-ever black toilet paper for swanky hotels and restaurants, Renova, based in Torres Novas, Portugal, has taken Web orders from as far away as Australia and Japan.

After a huge splash of orders on the firm's Web site, it plans to release the shady toiletry for sale in the U.S. and Canada early next year, Pinheiro told the AFP.

Calling the black booty tissues "elegant, rebellious, alternative and eternally fashionable," Renova charges about $4 a roll, or you can grab up a pack of six rolls for a little more than $7.

— Thanks to Out There reader Greg M.

Santa Ain't Visiting This Christmas Eve!

Santa Claus won't be stopping by this Christmas Eve: Pasadena, Texas, police say she's been a very naughty girl.

Christmas Eve Hall, 19, is charged with filing a false report to police, according to the Pasadena Citizen.

Christmas Eve is on Santa's naughty list after allegedly lying about her car being stolen to collect on the insurance money, investigators told the paper.

Cops also arrested Christmas Eve and impounded her car, police said.

— Thanks to Out There reader Beth M.

Oh Baby, It's Cold Outside

GERMANTOWN, Tenn. (AP) — A man wearing only socks was arrested along a busy street after witnesses said he fired a gun at afternoon traffic.

Temperatures were in the 40s when the incident occurred Tuesday. Police said no witnesses were injured.

Glenn Higgs, 44, of Germantown, was charged with reckless endangerment, indecent exposure, firing a weapon in the city limits and public intoxication, authorities said.

"I couldn't believe it," said Eddie Cox, who was driving home from the bank when he saw the naked gunman in this Memphis suburb.

Cox called police, who arrested Higgs at the scene and found a revolver in a nearby yard.

Higgs was sent to a hospital for a foot injury sustained when he earlier jumped from the second story of his home, authorities said.

— Thanks to Out There reader Beth M.

Look Out, This Old Broad Can Brawl

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A 17-year-old Omaha girl who apparently tangled with a 76-year-old churchgoer has learned a lesson: Pick on someone your own age.

Pearl Fritts was dropping off her recycling when she heard someone behind her offering to help. When she refused assistance, Fritts says she got clobbered.

"She just slammed my head against that bin," Fritts said. "I was so shocked."

So shocked — and now angered — that she whipped around and put up her dukes.

"I think she was surprised that a little old, gray-haired lady with glasses would come around swinging," Fritts said.

The teenager was taller, Fritts said, but couldn't weigh more than 100 pounds.

The girl said she wanted Fritts' car, Fritts told police. Soon she realized Fritts wasn't about to give up the car and she ran. The girl was found and picked up at a nearby restaurant.

In My Day, I Would've Been Fined $1 Million

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Bad words are costing Hartford Public and Bulkeley high schoolers $103 each.

Police officers assigned to the schools have fined about two dozen students for cursing in a new program to curtail unruly behavior. The joint effort by school and police officials targets students who swear while defying teachers and administrators.

"We're sending a message to the parents and to the teachers," said Sandy Cruz-Serrano, senior adviser to Superintendent of Schools Robert Henry. "We are trying to bring back order to the schools."

Parents are required to pay the fines if the students cannot.

"Our heads are spinning with that," said Sam Saylor, president of the district Parent Teacher Organization. "The kids are really indecent with their swearing and they're swearing at teachers. This is their way of curtailing it — making the parents pay."

Keila Ayala, 17, a Hartford Public sophomore, said she was ticketed for shouting an expletive in an officer's face while handcuffed for taking a swing at him.

"It'll stop me from swearing," she said. "Well, it won't stop me from swearing, but I won't cuss at the teachers."

George Sugai, who teaches school discipline at UConn's Neag School of Education, is skeptical of the effort. "Research says that punishing kids doesn't teach them the right way to act," he said.

But Hartford Police Officer Roger Pearl said the program is working. "Before, the kids were swearing all the time. It went from many incidents to almost nothing," he said. "It's quiet in the halls."

Stowaway Cat Comes Home

PARIS (AP) — Emily the cat is heading home, in style. The wayward tabby from Wisconsin who disappeared two months ago and wound up traveling across the Atlantic to France boarded a Continental Airlines flight Thursday — in business class.

Travel conditions leaving Europe promised to be a bit more comfortable for Emily, who arrived as a stowaway in a cargo container after straying from home in Appleton, Wis.

"I don't think she'll drink champagne but I think she will be happy to rest," said Continental spokesman Philippe Fleury, at Charles de Gaulle airport to see Emily off. The airline offered to fly the cat home from Paris after her tale spread around the world and she cleared a one-month quarantine.

"This was such a marvelous story, that we wanted to add something to it," Fleury told AP Television News. A full-fare ticket for Emily's seat would normally cost about $6,000, and the airline provided a company escort for the cat.

Emily vanished from her home in late September. She apparently wandered into a nearby paper company's distribution center and crawled into a container of paper bales.

The container went by truck to Chicago and by ship to Belgium before the cat was found Oct. 24 at Raflatac, a laminating company in Nancy, France. Emily, who turned 1 year old that very day, was thin and thirsty but still alive.

Workers at Raflatac used her tags to phone her veterinarian in Wisconsin, and the vet called her owners.

Emily faced one last packed day of travel before her homecoming. She was due to arrive in Newark, N.J., later Thursday, board a connecting flight to Chicago, and then be driven home to Wisconsin, Fleury said.

Emily's escort, Newark-based Continental employee George Chiladze, said he was thrilled to be taking Emily back across the Atlantic.

"I will make somebody really happy to deliver this poor traveler back home," he said.

— Click in the photo box above to see a picture of the stowaway kitty.

Driving Mr. Machida

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese man who skipped out on his cab fares after crisscrossing the country in a taxi won't be going anywhere soon.

Koichi Machida, 37, was sentenced to a year and eight months in prison, a court official said.

Machida had a tab of $4,391.67 for three separate rides clocking a total of 1,240 miles, Aomori District Court spokesman Tsutomu Maekawa said.

Over the summer, Machida rode 620 miles from Inabe to Sendai, about 19 miles from Nagoya to Inabe, and about 601 miles from Toyohashi in central Japan to the northeastern city of Aomori, the spokesman said.

Machida told one driver a family member was in critical condition, the spokesman said.

Compiled by's Andrew Hard.

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