Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Follies: News of the Off-Beat & Weird

Man Sees Jesus In Pecan Tree
A Mississippi man said he can see the image of Jesus in his pecan tree, Jackson television station WAPT reported. 

Timothy Vincent said the image miraculously appeared a few weeks ago in his backyard. He said one day he saw an odd woodpecker on his tree and when the bird few away, the face of Jesus was there. 

"He's going to stay there and watch over us. That's what I plan on doing - letting him watch over us in our neighborhood," Vincent said of the image. 

Vincent said friends have suggested that he build a shrine, so others could come to kneel and pray. But right now, he's not sold on the idea. 

Even if no one else sees Jesus in the tree, everyone will be talking about this story today.

Aussie Cabbie Set For 4,000-Mile Drive

A Western Australian taxi driver named the state's favorite cabbie in an online contest has won the right to take 22 passengers on a 4,000-mile (6,500-kilometer) ride.

Oh, and 25,000 Australian dollars ($23,000) for his trouble.

Doug Slater won the most votes in an online poll run by Tourism Western Australia and will now rack up the miles ferrying passengers to the top 11 tourist sites in Australia's largest state.

An international competition is now under way to choose the passengers for what the tourism department is calling "The Extraordinary Taxi Ride," part of an AU$5.6 million ($5.1 million) state tourism campaign. The competition is open to residents of Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Malaysia and Germany.

The journey begins April 9, and each leg of travel takes between four to nine days.

"There's ... lots to see and show," Slater said after his win was announced Friday. "This is about getting the message out, doing something different."

Western Australia's campaign follows a widely publicized tourism promotion last year by Queensland state, which held a worldwide competition to hire someone for the "Best Job in the World" - caretaker of a tropical island for six months. The winner of that contest, Briton Ben Southall, completed his blogging and sightseeing job on Dec. 31.

Slater was handed the keys to a new taxi by Tourism Minister Liz Constable in a beachside ceremony. The driver, from Bunbury - 100 miles (175 kilometers) south of Perth - said his previous longest taxi fare was about 110 miles (180 kilometers).

Western Australia boasts the whitest beach in Australia, diverse reefs, famous wineries, a large chunk of the Outback and a cone-like range of sandstone peaks known as the Bungle Bungles in a World Heritage-listed national park in the state's northeast. The 2008 film "Australia" starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman was filmed in remote parts of the state. 


NYC Funeral Home Van Towed With Body Inside

A police tow truck removed a minivan parked outside a New York City funeral home, giving its dearly departed passenger an unexpected side trip.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne says there was "nothing to indicate it was more than just an illegally parked car."

Redden's Funeral Home director Paul DeNigris said a windshield placard had fallen flat. The van's tinted windows helped obscure the white cardboard box that held the remains.

DeNigris says he was "a wreck" after discovering the van missing Monday in Manhattan. He rushed to the tow pound, where he discreetly explained the circumstances and got the van back. He also got body to an airport in time for a scheduled flight to Miami. 

He plans to fight the $115 parking ticket. 

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