The Odd Side – September 10, 2013

Man Tried to Enter U.S. Via Red Chile Shipment

COLUMBUS, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say an immigrant suspected of entering the country illegally attempted to make his journey in an unusual but hot place — a shipment of red chile.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at a New Mexico border checkpoint said the man was discovered Thursday face down among a commercial load of the spicy stuff.

Columbus Port Director Robert Reza says next to the “highly intoxicated” 35-year-old was a bottle of tequila.

The man, who authorities described as a Mexican national, told agents that he climbed into the commercial hopper while it was being staged in Mexico. He got into the truck full of chile in hopes of catching a ride to Chicago, the El Paso Times reported.

Agents said he got less than 100 yards into New Mexico before he was discovered. He will be returned to Mexico, officials said.

The red chile shipment was later released.

Stork Detained as Spy in Egypt Found Dead

CAIRO (AP) — A stork once detained by Egyptian authorities on suspicion of being a winged spy has been found dead.

Mahmoud Hassib, the head of Egypt’s southern protected areas, said Saturday that local residents found the dead bird on an island in the Nile, south of the ancient city of Aswan.

In August, a local resident found the stork in Egypt’s Qena governorate, some 280 miles southeast of Cairo. Both he and police were suspicious of the European wildlife tracker found on it. Authorities later let the bird go.

However, controversy trails the bird into death. An Egyptian wildlife organization claimed the bird was “eaten by local villagers.” Hassib denied that the bird had been eaten, though he didn’t know an exact cause of death.

1,200 Calif. Chickens to Retire On the East Coast

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Their egg-laying days behind them, some 1,200 Northern California chickens are heading for a cozy retirement on the East Coast, where they will live outside of cages and have plenty of room to spread their wings.

The Sacramento Bee reports that an anonymous $50,000 donation is funding Operation Chicken Airlift, which will send the hens on a cross-country cargo flight to upstate New York on Wednesday evening.

From there the white Leghorn chickens will be ferried to different sanctuaries. Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary in New York, where 200 of the birds will end up, is providing perches, grass and even a wooded area where they can roam.

Laying hens are generally too lean for human consumption and are usually slaughtered after they stop providing eggs.

Cat Survives 11-Story Fall at Alaska Apartment

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A housecat in Alaska learned the hard way not to chase mosquitoes after following one out a window and falling 11 stories.

The two-year-old cat, named Wasabi, survived but suffered a fractured leg and broken bones.

The Juneau Empire reports the cat was chasing the mosquito Monday in her owners’ apartment in Juneau, about two blocks from the state Capitol.

The mosquito escaped out a window, and Wasabi went after it. Stephanie Gustafson says her mother watched the cat fall.

Wasabi landed in a parking lot, and Gustafson found her huddled nearby.

The cat underwent an operation, and has pins and wires holding together her fractured leg and broken bones in a joint. She also is sporting a pink cast.

Gustafson says Wasabi is expected to heal in about six weeks.

Droopy Beijing Duck Gets a Breath of Fresh Air

BEIJING  (Reuters) – It would never have been allowed on the table in the home of Peking duck, but at least a giant rubber duck gracing a Beijing park will now have the taut, crisp skin required of its culinary peer after an urgent injection of air.

The 160-foot tall duck, on show at the Beijing International Expo, appeared wrinkled and its beak drooped, prompting a barrage of ridicule, the official Xinhua news agency said on Sunday.

The duck, a copy of one designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman that had been on show in Hong Kong harbor in May, was reinflated late on Friday and its beak reassembled in an eight-hour operation, the report said.

“There were some flaws when inflating the duck, and we have adjusted it overnight,” Zeng Hui, deputy manager of the Beijing Design Week Organizing Committee, told Xinhua.

UMass Students Feast on 15,000-Pound Fruit Salad

AMHERST, Mass. (AP) — In what’s become an annual tradition, the University of Massachusetts celebrated the start of the new academic year with a delicious, healthy, record-breaking dish.

About 500 students and staff at the Amherst campus on Monday sliced, diced, pitted and peeled 150 varieties of fruit to create a salad weighing more than 15,000 pounds. The salad was mixed in a 15-foot diameter swimming pool.

It included 20 varieties of apples, weighing more than 3,600 pounds; 19 varieties of melon, weighing more than 2,500 pounds; peaches; bananas; oranges; berries; and more exotic fruits including quince, passion fruit and rambutan.

A Guinness World Records representative certified the record.

Minn. Yearbook Misspells School’s Name on Cover

MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) — Students who worked on the Moorhead High School yearbook this year have learned a hard lesson about proofreading, after misspelling the Minnesota school’s name on the front cover.

A Forum News Service report says the 2013 yearbook arrived this week with the school’s name spelled “Moorehead.”

Moorhead school officials say the mistake slipped past an adviser and two classes of students who worked on it during the school year. They finalized it after graduation and sent it to be printed this summer.

The district can’t afford to reprint the yearbooks. Principal Dave Lawrence says one option is to use a high-quality adhesive label to cover the mistake.

District spokeswoman Pam Gibb says people feel very bad about what happened.

The yearbook’s title is “Moments Fade, But Memories Stay.”