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Off the Wire
November 18  |  Associated Press
'Isis' bookstore in Colorado vandalized ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — A Denver-area store called Isis Books & Gifts wants the world to know its name comes from the Egyptian goddess of healing and motherhood, and it isn't a retail store run by terrorists.

Co-owner Jeff Harrison said the suburban Denver store has been vandalized five times in the past year or so, probably by people who mistake the name for ISIS, one of the acronyms for the Islamic State terrorist group.

The latest vandalism came last...

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November 13  |  Associated Press
Pastafarian gets to wear strainer on head in license photo
BOSTON — A Massachusetts agency is letting a woman who belongs to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster wear a colander on her head in her driver’s license photo after she cited her religious beliefs.Lowell resident Lindsay Miller said Friday that she “absolutely loves the history and the story” of Pastafarians, whose website says has existed in secrecy for hundreds of years and entered the mainstream in 2005.

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November 12  |  The Washington Post
How do you smuggle Heineken into Saudi Arabia? Legally, alcohol is banned in Saudi Arabia. In reality, however, there are people in the country who drink.

If you're wondering how exactly they actually get that alcohol, consider the multiple reports in the Saudi press Thursday that describe how the Saudi authorities at the border with United Arab Emirates caught a man with 48,000 cans of Heineken — all disguised as Pepsi cola.

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November 3  |  The Washington Post
Human poop could yield up to $9.5 billion A group of researchers just put a price-tag on poop: extracting biogas from the world's annual human waste output could be worth the equivalent of up to $9.5 billion in natural gas, according to a report released Tuesday by the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health.

Which means we could all be sitting on gold mines.

"We recycle the nutrients in human waste effectively via agriculture in many places, yet the potential energy...

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November 1  |  By Rod McGuirk Associated Press
CANBERRA, Australia — Australia is dumping the titles “knights” and “dames” — again.The government had scratched the honorary titles, granted for public service, in 1986 as anachronisms.

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October 28  |  Associated Press
Creepy Halloween doll in I-5 carpool lane doesn’t fool officer
TACOMA — Washington state troopers have seen drivers use all kinds of tricks to get access to carpool lanes.During Tuesday’s morning commute, a trooper pulled over a man who tried to use a creepy Halloween doll to gain access to the carpool lane of I-5 in Tacoma.The trooper found the male driver and the doll buckled up in the passenger seat in the car, violating the rule that requires two or more people in carpool lanes.

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October 27  |  By Collin Binkley Associated Press
Salem ‘witch’ takes self-proclaimed warlock to court over alleged harassment
BOSTON — A Salem, Massachusetts, woman who calls herself a witch priestess is taking a self-proclaimed warlock to court over accusations of harassment.Lori Sforza, who runs a Salem witchcraft shop and leads a pagan church, filed for court-ordered protection against harassment from Christian Day, whose website calls him the “world’s best-known warlock.” Sforza accused Day of harassing her online and over the phone for three years. The two will meet in court on Wednesday.

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October 18  |  Associated Press
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Police in Idaho Falls say an Oregon man accidentally dialed 911 while making an alleged drug deal that was overheard by dispatchers.The Post-Register reports that Lawan Sanders, of Portland, is accused of several drug-related charges stemming from the Sept. 27 incident. He has a preliminary hearing Oct. 23.

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October 15  |  Associated Press
Bees swarm on 767 in Texas GRAPEVINE, Texas — Some unusual travelers caused a delay for one American Airlines flight.

The travelers were hundreds of bees, found by a cargo crew under the right wing of a Boeing 767 that landed at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport Wednesday. The plane had arrived from Las Vegas and was headed to Frankfurt, Germany.

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October 13  |  Associated Press
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A Connecticut jury on Tuesday rejected a woman’s bid to sue her 12-year-old nephew for injuries she says she suffered from his exuberant greeting at his birthday party four years ago.New York City resident Jennifer Connell claimed the Westport boy acted unreasonably when he jumped into her arms at his 8th-birthday party, causing her to fall and break her wrist. She sued in Bridgeport Superior Court for $127,000.

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October 4  |  Associated Press
1,806-pound pumpkin dubbed ‘Flying Saucer’
ELK GROVE, Calif. — A Napa farmer won a Northern California contest with a record-setting 1,806-pound pumpkin that judges nicknamed “The Flying Saucer” because of its wide and flat shape.Grower Tim Mathison was one of about 50 big pumpkin farmers to haul their heaviest crops to the annual weigh-in at the Elk Grove Giant Pumpkin & Harvest Festival, The Sacramento Bee reported Sunday.

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October 1  |  Associated Press
TNT wedding gag doesn’t amuse TSA DENVER — A wedding gift was no joke to TSA agents checking bags in a screening room at Denver International Airport.

An agent watching an X-ray monitor spotted wax and fuses inside a checked bag at the airport.

TSA said the bride and groom's names both start with a "T," so their wedding souvenirs were labeled TNT.

The incident happened Sept. 22.

TSA wrote issued a statement on Instagram that there was a 20-minute...

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September 20  |  Associated Press
MCINTIRE, Iowa — An Iowa farmer who was running unopposed for his local school board failed to earn any votes — not even his own — but he’ll probably still get the job.Randy Richardson, 42, didn’t find time to vote for himself between his full-time maintenance job at a bean processing plant in Riceville and his chores on his farm near McIntire, The Des Moines Register reported.

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September 17  |  Associated Press
Inmates complain about noisy guards
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California corrections officials said Thursday that they are handing out earplugs and telling guards to walk softly around some of the state’s most dangerous prisoners after the inmates complained about noise.The inmates say new welfare checks at Pelican Bay State Prison’s notorious security housing unit are keeping them up nights because noise caused by guards rouses them every half-hour around the clock.

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September 15  |  Associated Press
TWIN FALLS, Idaho — A man is charged with burglary after police say he returned to a Twin Falls, Idaho, home for his forgotten car keys and cellphone.The Times-News reported that a woman called police when she found her home ransacked Saturday, with a stranger’s cellphone on the bed and a strange car parked behind the property.

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August 21  |  By Debra Klein Special To The Washington Post
Muppet personal ads found on Ashley Madison Now that hackers have released data on Ashley Madison's customers, the news of Kermit and Miss Piggy's breakup is less surprising. They and other Muppets have had profiles on the popular dating site for months. A sampling:

I've had it with the "dreaming" and all the other rainbow-contemplating B.S. Not my tempo. I need a doer with four feet on the ground for public appearances and some shopping. Prefer bottom-wearer. Paws, fine. Constricting snakes okay. No...

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August 19  |  Associated Press
Mayor seeks ban on personal flamethrowers DETROIT — A suburban Detroit official is trying to extinguish the use of personal flamethrowers, which are being sold online by two Midwest companies, in his city.

The companies, located in the Detroit area and Cleveland, claim their devices can be used for recreation or to control weeds and insect hives, clear snow and ice, clear brush and start a bonfire.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts calls the proposed uses "pretty specious" and...

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August 18  |  By Kimberlee Kruesi Associated Press
Idaho replaces mile marker 420 with 419.9 to thwart stoners BOISE, Idaho — If you’re looking for milepost 420, you won’t find it in Idaho.

Idaho transportation officials say the mile marker has been replaced with 419.9 signs to curb thieves eager to own a number associated with marijuana enthusiasts.

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August 18  |  
SISTERS, Ore. — A 26-year-old cat in Oregon has been named the oldest living cat by Guinness World Records.The cat named Corduroy is owned by a family in the central Oregon city of Sisters. His owner, Ashley Reed Okura, has had him since he was a kitten and she was 7.

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August 12  |  Associated Press
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Police say a 22-year-old woman accused of shoplifting arrived in style at a mall in southeastern Minnesota.Authorities say a limousine driver who took the woman to the Apache Mall in Rochester on Monday helped police to find her.Lt. Jim Evenson tells the Post-Bulletin that the woman stole about $300 in merchandise from a sporting goods store then fought with security officers before running away.

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July 31  |  By Richard Vines Bloomberg News
Cocktail fans in London will want to take a deep breath when they enter a pop-up bar that opens Thursday, July 28 on the site of an ancient monastery in Borough.

Alcoholic Architecture features a walk-in cloud of cocktail composed of fine spirits and mixer at a ratio of 1:3. It's made using powerful humidifiers to super-saturate the air. Alcohol enters the bloodstream mainly through the lungs but also the eyeballs. Guests are advised to "breathe...

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July 29  |  By Brady McCombs Associated Press
‘Book of Mormon’ comes to Utah SALT LAKE CITY — The biting satirical musical that mocks Mormons received a rousing reception in its first-ever showing in the heart of Mormon country, kicking off a sold-out, two-week run at a Salt Lake City theater.

The audience cheered wildly Tuesday as the Tony Award-winning "The Book of Mormon" began, with the show's gleefully naive missionaries singing in front of a backdrop of the Salt Lake City skyline and Mormon temple that resembles the real...

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July 21  |  Associated Press
LONDON — A British lawmaker is defending claiming 9 pence ($0.14) on expenses for a short car journey, saying such claims may look “odd” but the mileage adds up.Conservative lawmaker Rob Wilson said the 352-yard journey in March 2014 was a “constituency engagement.” He also made several other small claims for short journeys, including 13 pence for a trip in his car to attend a business meeting.

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July 20  |  By Hayley Tsukayama and Wilborn P. Nobles III The Washington Post
AshleyMadison, the dating website designed for those who want a little extramarital action, was hacked over the weekend by a group that threatened to release the personal information of its estimated 37 million users — unless the site took itself offline.The hackers claimed to have a bevy of personal data on those customers, including their “secret sexual fantasies,” according to KrebsOnSecurity, which was first to report the breach.

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July 19  |  By Verena Dobnik Associated Press
First-class airport terminal ... for critters NEW YORK — Jet-setting stallions and high-flying hounds at New York’s Kennedy Airport can look forward to a new luxury terminal that will handle the more than 70,000 animals flying in and out every year.

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July 15  |  The Washington Post
50-million-year-old sperm found, by accident Benjamin Bomfleur can't help but laugh a little when talking about this latest, record-setting discovery.

"A 50-million-year-old worm sperm from Antarctica?" he said between chuckles. "Who would have thought that's possible?"

And yet, what Bomfleur, of the Swedish Museum of Natural History, and other researchers stumbled upon was a serious discovery: the oldest animal sperm ever found.

As it goes with many great discoveries,...

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July 11  |  Associated Press
$1 million reward for Judy Garland slippers GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. — An anonymous donor has offered a $1 million reward for credible information leading to the pair of Judy Garland's sequined, ruby red slippers stolen from a museum in her Minnesota hometown.

The late actress wore the slippers in "The Wizard of Oz." Three other pairs still exist, including one on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.

John Kelsch, executive director of the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids,...

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June 17  |  The Washington Post
Cue Siri to play Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On.”New features on Apple’s pre-installed “Health” app will allow users to track their sexual activity, namely whether or not they used protection and the time of day they had sex.

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June 11  |  Justin Wm. Moyer The Washington Post
PornHub crowdfunds for space sex tape About half a century ago, humankind — inspired as much by Cold War geopolitics as the desire to go where no one has gone before — set its sights on that most distant horizon: space, the final frontier.

About 50 years in, that most distant horizon seems as far away as ever. Sure, we put satellites in orbit and sent men to the moon. But as NASA faces budget cuts and private corporations jockey for position in what's now called the "space industry,"...

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June 7  |  Associated Press
LAS VEGAS — New advertisements outside Little Darlings strip club in Las Vegas encourage recent high school graduates to apply, promoting stripping as a way to earn money for college.

KVVU-TV reports that Little Darlings manager Rick Marzullo says the ads fit in with the character of Las Vegas.

The signs have slogans like "Now auditioning the class of 2015" and "Pay your way through college."

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