Turning the Dead Into Jewelry: A South Korean company has developed a process to transform cremated ashes into decorative ceramic beads.
The ashes are heated until they become drops of lava-like liquid that are then shaped into little balls. The color of the beads, with no artificial substance added, varies from jade to sky blue.
Exotic Manure: The Philadelphia Zoo isn’t letting its animal waste go to waste. Instead, it is selling the manure for $2.95 per 2-pound bag.
Plant lovers are reportedly snapping up the fertilizer, which comes from the zoo’s elephants, hippos, rhinos, giraffes, zebras and camels. Zookeepers say they pick up about 600 pounds of excrement daily--and that’s just from their two elephants.
Non-Kosher Jail: A conviction for writing a bad check got Neil H. Lederman 11 months in jail. But he was out in three weeks because Virginia jail officials couldn’t afford his kosher meals.
The 43-year-old Orthodox Jew was sent home and placed on home detention. The special meals would have cost the jail an extra $70 a day, a deputy said.
Legislator Attacks Opponent’s Hex Life: A Florida state senator has accused a campaign worker for a political opponent of using voodoo to try to sabotage a ballot recount in their election race.
Death Tax Deep-Sixed: The deceased in a Denver suburb won’t have to pay hotel taxes anymore. When Wheat Ridge adopted the tax decades ago, it listed mortuaries among the “other accommodations” subject to a hotel tax. But in the Nov. 3 election, voters rescinded the $18 tax imposed on the dead while they await burial.
Navy Monopoly: Do not pass Go. You’re off to the brig. The latest version of Monopoly isn’t for landlubbers--it’s a U.S. Navy edition, the first to be dedicated to a military service.
The game features pewter playing pieces, including a partially submerged submarine and an anchor, and the Chance and Community Chest cards have been replaced with Atlantic Fleet and Pacific Fleet cards.
Dr. Bad Penmanship: The old stereotype about doctors’ handwriting might be true. A computerized study of 92 health workers in Wales showed that even when doctors were asked to write as neatly as possible, they produced an illegible scrawl that was much worse than other professionals’.
* German prostitutes may soon be able to claim full state pensions, unemployment benefits and other employee rights, a government official said.
* A British teenager who had sex with a calf was sentenced to two years’ probation after a judge said society appeared to be more liberal about bestiality.
* “Walker, Texas Ranger” star Chuck Norris is reportedly marrying a woman who introduced herself with a topless photo.
* Chinese doctors have crafted a new penis for a boy who lost his in a scuffle with a temperamental donkey, state media said.
* Lightning killed all 11 members of a soccer team during a match in the Democratic Republic of the Congo but left the opposing team untouched, a Kinshasa newspaper said.
Wide World of Weird is published on Sundays. Off-Kilter runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.