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News of the Weird: A Pregnant Pause 

Bizarre but true stories from around the world

Wait, What? Ikea has taken advertising in a whole new direction with its recent print ad for a crib. The ad, which appears in the Swedish magazine Amelia, invites women who think they might be pregnant to urinate on the paper to reveal a discounted price. "Peeing on this ad may change your life," the ad reads at the top of the page. "If you are expecting, you will get a surprise right here in the ad." Adweek reported that the agency behind the gimmick adapted pregnancy test technology to work on a magazine page.

Recurring Themes In more extreme weather news from Australia, The Daily Telegraph reported on Jan. 8 that record high temperatures near Campbelltown had killed more than 200 bats, found on the ground or still hanging in trees. Cate Ryan, a volunteer with WIRES, an Australian wildlife rescue organization, came across the flying foxes and put the word out for volunteers to bring water to rehydrate the bats that were still alive. "I have never seen anything like it before," Ryan said. "Ninety percent of the (dead) flying foxes were babies or juveniles."

Bright Idea Chris McCabe, 70, of Totnes, England, escaped a frigid death thanks to his own quick thinking on Dec. 15. McCabe owns a butcher shop, and he had entered the walk-in freezer behind the shop when the door slammed behind him. Ordinarily that wouldn't be a problem, as a release button inside the freezer can open the door. But the button was frozen solid. So McCabe looked around the freezer and saw the shop's last "black pudding," or blood sausage, which he used as a battering ram to unstick the button. "They are a big long stick that you can just about get your hand around," McCabe told the Daily Mirror. "I used it like the police use battering rams to break door locks in. Black pudding saved my life, without a doubt." He believes he would have died within a half-hour in the freezer, whci is set to minus 4 degrees.

God's Music In Albuquerque, New Mexico, a church's new electronic bells are creating a living hell for neighbor Bernadette Hall-Cuaron, who has lived next to Our Lady of Guadalupe for years. "The bells ring multiple times a day during the week, and play 'Amazing Grace' during the week, and then they run multiple times again during the weekend," she told KOB-TV in January. "Because of the volume and frequency of the bells, this is not calling people to the church." Hall-Cuaron called the church to complain, but said since her request, "they have added 'Amazing Grace' every day ... a full verse." The pastor responded that he has lowered the volume but will not turn off the bells completely, as some in the neighborhood love them.

A Song of Ice and Fire One of Quebec City's iconic tourist attractions is its ice hotel, the 45-room Hotel de Glace. But on Jan. 9, the hotel's most dreaded disaster, a fire, broke out in one of the guest rooms, the CBC reported. Manager Jacques Desbois admitted that "when I received the phone call, they had to repeat twice that there was a fire in the ice hotel." Predictably, the flames did not spread and caused little damage to the structure, although smoke spread throughout the hotel and residents were evacuated. "In a room made out of ice and snow there are few clues to look at," Desbois said, although each room has candles, and the hotel is considering the possibility that one of them caused the fire.

Family Values Alyce H. Davenport, 30, and Diron Conyers, 27, of Southbridge, Massachusetts, couldn't make it to the funeral of Audra Johnson, Davenport's mother, on Jan. 5 because they were busy stealing a safe from Johnson's home. Southbridge police started searching for the pair after Johnson's boyfriend discovered the safe was missing, reported The Worcester Telegram & Gazette. When police stopped Davenport the next day, they found the safe in the trunk of the car she was driving (also registered to Johnson) and seized it. Davenport and Conyers were arrested at a Sturbridge motel, where officers found jewelry, keys, cellphones and other documents, and the two were charged with seven counts related to the theft. "Alyce has a history of larceny, identity theft and forgery," the police report said.

Armed and Frustrated Linda Jean Fahn, 69, of Goodyear, Arizona, finally succumbed to a frustration many wives suffer. On Dec. 30, as her husband sat on the toilet, she barged in and "shot two bullets at the wall above his head to make him listen to me," she told Goodyear police when they were called to the scene. Fahn said her husband "would have had to be 10 feet tall to be hit by the bullets," ABC15 in Phoenix reported, but officers estimated the bullets struck about 7 inches over the man's head as he ducked. She was charged with aggravated assault.

Creme de la Weird An unnamed 41-year-old Chinese woman who had been suffering from fevers and breathing problems for six years finally went for a checkup in early January at a hospital in Tongchuan, Shaanxi Province, China. Doctors X-rayed and found an inch-long chili pepper in her right lung. Metro News reported that Dr. Luo Lifeng tried to remove the pepper using a probe but was forced to operate because it was lodged too deep to reach. He speculated that she had inhaled the pepper and then forgotten about it.

Go Ahead, Take Two An unnamed Russian man, apparently desperate for a drink, stole an armored personnel carrier from a secured facility on Jan. 10 and used it to ram a storefront in Apatity, Russia, reported United Press International. Surveillance video showed him climbing out of the tank-like carrier and into the store, where he retrieved a bottle of wine, then returning to the vehicle and ramming the storefront again as several bystanders looked on. He was arrested after leaving the scene.

Employee Relations Pesto's Pizza Shop in Boise, Idaho, takes its pizza prep seriously. So when an employee burns a pizza, the discipline is swift and public: The worker must don an orange bag that reads "I burned a pizza," then "walk the plank," or the sidewalk, in front of the shop five times. Pesto's owner, Lloyd Parrott, told KBOI TV: "You know, we gotta have some fun around here. It's all in good fun."

Oops An unnamed man tried an unconventional method to kill a wolf spider in his Redding, California, apartment on Jan. 7: He set it afire with a torch lighter. Unfortunately, the burning spider ran onto a mattress and caught it on fire. Residents were able to put out the mattress fire, but not before flames reached nearby drapes and a flag collection, then a nearby closet, reported the Redding Record Searchlight. When a garden hose failed to douse the blaze, firefighters were called and prevented it from spreading to other apartments. The blaze caused about $11,000 in damage, and all the residents were able to escape unharmed.

Redneck Chronicles Daniel Bennett, 18, of Irvington, Alabama, was charged in Mobile County with bestiality after "engag(ing) in or submit(ting) to any sexual contact with an animal, to wit: a horse." The horse's owner, Francine Janes, and her husband became suspicious when their dogs started barking the evening of Jan. 4. They found Bennett, dressed in a trenchcoat carrying burglar's tools, hiding in one of their barn stalls, Janes told WPMI-TV. Bennett told Janes "he wanted to pet (Polly) the horse," but he admitted to sheriff's investigators he molested Polly. Janes said she suspects Bennett had visited Polly "seven, maybe 10 times," because "toilet paper had been left. ... Items had been turned over. And that's as far as I want to go."

Compelling Explanations Troy, Michigan, police received two calls early on Jan. 10, both leading them to the Zion Church. One call was from the church, reporting vandalism caused by gunfire. The other was from the alleged shooter, who told police the church was an alien spaceship. Surveillance video shows the unnamed shooter, 40, driving up to the church around 5 a.m. and firing shots into the doors. "He was talking very strangely about how the Zion Church is an alien spaceship for reptiles," Troy Police Capt. Bob Redmond told WJBK-TV in Detroit. Police were assessing the shooter's mental health to determine whether charges would be filed.

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