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 OFFBEAT & ODD NEWS FEATURES

Duck makes 100 Dollar Nest

June 20, 2004 6:02 p.m. EST

MUNDELEIN, Ill., June 20 (UPI) -- A mallard duck entered an Illinois grocery store's garden section and used 10 flats of petunias to build a nest. 

"She's got a $100 nest," said Bernie Zettlemoyer, the store's floral manager, who named the duck Petunia.

The Chicago Tribune reported Sunday that Petunia built her nest on the lowest level of a three-tier metal rack and laid 10 eggs. 

Her soon-to-be nursery has been cordoned off with yellow caution tape and a sign. 

Every day for breakfast, Petunia gets lettuce, grapes, crackers, corn, bread and water and twice a day she is doused daily with a mist from the center's garden hose.

When the big moment arrives, the grocery staff plans to form a convoy to lead Petunia and her hatchlings to water, probably across Illinois Highway 176 to a nearby retention pond.

"We've been taking care of her for so long, she's like our kid," says Rita Arndt, garden-center manager. "We've got to get her to wherever she decides to go."
Bush meets the 'Truth Fairy'

SAN JOSE, Calif., June 18 (UPI) -- A teacher who created the anti-Iraqi war "Operation Hidden Agenda" playing cards has published a book about "re-parenting" President George Bush.

The book by Kathy Eder of San Jose, Calif., "No, George, No! The Re-Parenting of George W. Bush," describes how a young boy named George -- depicted on the book's cover as a shorter caricature of the president -- meets the "Truth Fairy."

"Most of us can look at our lives and notice that there's a lesson or two that we neglected to learn during our maturation. Some of us need more than a few lessons; what we need is someone to re-parent us," Eder said of the book, written and illustrated to look like a children's book.

"Although the following story is fictitious, if a certain president wants to claim that this is his biography, his dream, his impetus for transformation, I will gladly give him the credit he deserves," Eder said.

The book is available at www.nogeorgeno.com.



Twins break same arm, same way, same day

LONDON, June 18 (UPI) -- Identical 2-year-old British twins reportedly to broke their left arms in the same place on the same slide on the same day.

Now, Mitchell and Elliott Cocks have matching plaster casts to go with their matching clothes and haircuts, the Daily Express said.

After Elliott tripped over the base of the backyard slide doctors found he had broken his left arm. Mitchell, who had fallen off the slide earlier, complained of his left arm hurting and it was discovered also broken. 

"I couldn't believe it," Sarah Cocks, the boys' mother, said.

Meanwhile, brother Kristian, 12, is also in plaster after breaking a foot last week. He'd only just had a cast removed after falling off his bike and breaking his arm.



Man attacked by spider in banana sack

LONDON, June 18 (UPI) -- As British shopper Paul Wright opened a bag of bananas he got the shock of his life -- a big hairy spider leaped out and bit him.

As his hand quickly swelled, Wright stomped on the spider, a poisonous Huntsman, and wrapped it up to show doctors as he headed for a hospital. But, when he unwrapped his bundle for doctors, the spider tried to get him again.

"It was terrifying," he said. "It was far bigger than anything you would see in Britain. It was a tough little bugger." 

Paul, of Margate, Kent, received a tetanus shot and antibiotics. 

The Huntsman, native to the Tropics, was shipped with the bananas from the Caribbean. Its painful bite causes swelling, sickness, headaches and heart palpitations.

Tesco Extra, which packaged the product, offered him 100 pounds ($183.67).



Traffic snarling geese elude capture

NEW YORK, June 18 (UPI) -- A flock of New York geese came out the winners as a roundup squad failed to catch seven of the brazen birds that have played chicken with New York motorists.

The geese waddled from their marshland home into the busy intersection of the Cross Island Parkway and the Long Island Expressway in Queens on Wednesday, blocking traffic for about 20 minutes, the New York Post said.

So, on Thursday Michael Pastore, director of field operations for the Center for Animal Care and Control, had his crew out, helped by members of a private firm called Goose Control, scouring the marshlands for four hours, looking for the wanderers.

But, the birds did not show. The searchers planned to return for another crack at it but so far it has been a wild goose chase.
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