Release Your Inner Ninja

At long last, college students in New Zealand have a legitimate excuse to release their inner ninjas.

Ninjasoc — a social club reserved exclusively for those with a penchant for parading around in black pajamas, ridding the world of evildoers — is taking Canterbury University by storm, New Zealand’s Stuff reports.

The masterminds behind the martial arts madness say their quirky club started as a joke, but quickly ballooned to include 250 members.

Plastic ninja sword-brandishing Michael Down, one of the founding four, says the club taps into people’s secret need to be ninjas.

"You always, as a young man, want to be a ninja or a pirate. I guess we just made it a club and people thought, 'That looks like fun,'" he said.

Fun indeed.

The society’s Web site even goes as far as to claim "the only thing cooler than your mum in this crazy world is a ninja.”

But the club isn’t so much a group of skilled and stealthy fighters as it is a bunch of people who just want to have a good time.

"I don't think they are a secret bunch of real ninjas. I think they do stuff that is more ninja-aimed. I don't really know what, but they have had a couple of barbecues. Ninjas have to eat," University of Canterbury Students' Association president Warren Poh said.

Keeping the Streets Free of Skimpy Swimwear, Hissing Badgers

REXBURG, Idaho (AP) — Law enforcement agencies depend on citizens in the community to be their eyes and ears. But officials in this southeastern Idaho town aren't sure how to respond to reports of skimpy bikinis, lost TV remotes and menacing squirrels.

Those kinds of calls come in daily to police.

"You try to help, you don't want to seem uncaring," said Randy Lewis, a captain with the Rexburg Police Department.

Once, he said, he had to use a lasso to capture a hissing badger running loose in an apartment.

"What a mistake," he said. "It about drug me off."

Even though many calls don't fall within normal police duties, officers still respond to complaints of loitering ducks and children who won't mind their parents. Lewis said the Rexburg police probably get more of those types of calls than larger departments.

"We don't have a high frequency of serious crimes, though we do have murders, rapes, child molestations and bank robberies," Lewis said. "Thank goodness they don't happen every day."

Rexburg Police Lt. Ron Larson said he thinks many of the calls are caused by residents not knowing the difference between civil and criminal offenses.

Most of the unusual calls come during the summer, he said, and already the department has fielded calls about mean notes taped to trash bins and reports of residents receiving offers of being hypnotized over the phone.

Congratulations to the Graduating Class of — YOINK!

GALLATIN, Tenn. (AP) — The valedictorian of Gallatin High School is still waiting for his diploma after he tried to steal the microphone at his graduation and deliver the speech traditionally given by the student body president.

Chris Linzy, 18, grabbed the microphone as his name was called out with the rest of his classmates and said about two sentences before he was cut off.

"I just felt like I had something to say," Linzy said Monday after meeting with school Principal Rufus Lassiter. "Nothing against the speech by the student body president, but I felt like what I had to say was equally important."

"I'm a little bit frustrated. I felt like I should be able to speak. I was the valedictorian and I was the one who achieved the most," Linzy said.

Lassiter said school officials have not awarded the diploma and were still trying to decide what action to take against Linzy.

After the meeting, it was agreed that Linzy would write letters of apology to school faculty and the Sumner County School Board.

"It drew attention to Chris instead of the 2006 graduation class," Lassiter said.

The school has allowed the student body president to speak for about 30 years, Lassiter said.

Schools Director Benny Bills said other valedictorians have asked in the past why they weren't allowed to talk at graduation, but he doesn't expect the tradition to change. The student's father, David Linzy, said the move was unusual for his son.

"I never, ever would have expected it of him, but if my son — who is probably the quietest person in the world — felt the need to get up there to speak, he must have felt very strongly," his father said.

It's Isn't 'New Coke,' It's 'Ew Coke'

ATLANTA (AP) — It isn't "New Coke" but it isn't the Coke you're familiar with, either.

Coca-Cola has partnered with the Culinary Institute of America to design specialty beverages that combine unusual flavors to pair with foods, similar to selecting different wines.

Coca-Cola Food Service and Hospitality Division President Chris Lowe said the recipes run "from the tame to the exotic."

One is Fresca Pomegranate, which is Fresca, Odwalla PomaGrand pomegranate juice and Seagram's Club Soda, plus a pinch of pomegranate seeds.

Another is the Coca-Cola Hot Tamale, a blend of Coke, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, fresh lime and black pepper.

The products are being marketed in restaurants only, though Lowe said if the product turns out to be "a runaway hit," it could make its way into grocery stores.

Thanks to Out There reader Rob E.

Man on Fire

CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio (AP) — A stuntman has revived his tradition of lighting himself on fire and diving into the Chagrin Falls in northeast Ohio.

Ted Batchelor took the flaming plunge Saturday, the 30th anniversary of his first jump. A crowd of about 1,000 cheered as he burned while wearing a flame-retardant suit for about a minute, then dove into the Chagrin River. Some onlookers gasped as he leapt and held their breath for a moment before he surfaced.

Batchelor performed the stunt annually for 10 years beginning in 1976 and often was arrested afterward. The last time he did it he was fined $1,000 and given two years' probation, with the threat of a 90-day jail term if he did it again. It was not known if authorities followed through with the threat.

Batchelor was a high school student when he first made the jump on a bet to win money for the prom. He went on to be a professional stuntman and holds the world record for the longest full-body burn without oxygen, earning a spot in the "Guinness Book of World Records."

Compiled by's Taylor Timmins.

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