Stranger Than Fiction 

The surging war, sagging economy and early presidential races dominated headlines this year, but plenty of news fell between the headlines. In the world of fashion, the big stories were pants (Judge L. Roy Pearson) and diapers (astronaut Lisa Nowack). In case you missed these or other odd-news dispatches, here are 2007's oddest.

Curses, foiled again
Four men surrounded a man in a parking lot in Sumter, S.C., and threatened him with a poisonous snake. They fled before harming the victim, however, after the snake bit one of them.

When a man demanded $5,000 from a bank teller in Peterborough, Ontario, she informed him she could give him only $200 and that he'd have to pay a $5 transaction fee because he wasn't a regular customer. The teller filled out the paperwork and handed him $195.

Hoping to avoid ground-level alarms, burglars cut through a roof to enter a business in Des Moines, Iowa. They forgot to take into account the overhang, however, and wound up on the sidewalk outside.

Ultimate fans
The Milwaukee Brewers offered two free tickets to any man who underwent a rectal exam for prostate cancer before a May 8 game. One Web site reported that 420 fans showed up for the "free and confidential" exams at a mobile clinic outside Miller Park.

Who needs guns?
A 27-year-old man broke into a home in Uniondale, N.Y., and beat the homeowner with a karaoke machine, while the 64-year-old victim tried to defend himself with a vacuum-cleaner hose.

My bad
Amanda Lee McDaniel, 23, told sheriff's investigators she broke into a neighboring home in Lane County, Ore., and set fire to it because she thought one of the neighbors had stolen her keys. While McDaniel hid in bushes across the street watching the fire, she found the keys in the pocket of the pants she was wearing.

Mistaken identity
After receiving a call from a 39-year-old man saying he had just tried to perform CPR on a dead woman, sheriff's deputies in Hilton Head Island, S.C., discovered that the woman was actually a large bale of pine straw.

Order in the court
An unidentified man who ordered goat at a butcher shop in Fairfax County, Va., but was given chicken became so upset that he stepped behind the counter and cut off his own hand.

Beep, beep
Pointing out that the quiet electric motors of hybrid motor vehicles pose a threat to blind pedestrians, who rely on sound to cross streets safely, the National Federation of the Blind proposed requiring all hybrids to make a sound loud enough to be heard over other ambient noise.

Instant karma
Australian authorities reported that three male occupants of a dinghy stood up and "bared their buttocks" at some people on shore but then lost their balance and fell into the water. The engine continued to run in gear, causing the unoccupied vessel to circle until its rotating propeller struck one of the mooners, causing serious facial injuries.

Fancy fetishes
Verle Peter Dills, 60, was arrested in Sioux Falls, S.D., with evidence indicating that his hobby is having sex with road signs.

Three women complained to Ontario police that a man approached them and asked them to kick him in the groin. Police noted the man's request is not a crime but said they were concerned nonetheless.

Space-age medicine
Brent and Stacey Finley admitted bilking friends and family out of $873,786.94 by convincing them that she was a government agent who could arrange to have their medical problems diagnosed by satellite imaging. The couple assured their victims that if any problems did show up, secret agents would administer medicine to them while they slept.

Homeland insecurity
Officials detained an Iraqi national who tried to pass through security at Los Angeles International Airport with a half-inch magnet hidden inside his rectum. New Jersey resident Fadhel al-Maliki, 35, explained that the magnet, which was wrapped with a piece of gum in a napkin and then coiled with wire, and a round, polished stone also found in his rectum have therapeutic properties.


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