Odds and Ends – Friday October 19, 2018 – October 25, 2018


Man wins woman’s weight in beer
at wife-carrying contest

Newry, Maine (AP) – Baseball’s fall classic focuses on an American pastime. A Maine ski resort has its own fall classic based on a Finnish tradition. More than 30 teams from Maine to California participated Saturday in the North American Wife Carrying Championship. The event at the Sunday River ski resort featured male competitors completing a 278-yard obstacle course while carrying a woman. The legend behind the event is based on Finland’s “Ronkainen the Robber,” whose gang was known to pillage villages and take the women. Jesse Wall and Christine Arsenault won the event. For their efforts, the South Paris couple received Arsenault’s weight in beer, and five times her weight in cash. It was the second win for Wall and Arsenault, earning them another trip to participate in the world championship in Finland.

Swedish girl Saga pulls out
pre-Viking era sword from lake

(Photo credit: Annie Rosen/Jonkopings lans Museum via AP)
(Photo credit: Annie Rosen/Jonkopings lans Museum via AP)

Copenhagen, Denmark (AP) – Her name conjures up Old Nordic tales about heroic accomplishments and that’s exactly what Saga this summer did when she stumbled on a pre-Viking-era sword in a southern Sweden lake. Saga Vanecek, 8, was helping her father with his boat in the Vidostern Lake when she stepped on an 85-centimeter (34-inch) sword in a holster made of wood and leather. The sword is believed to be about 1,500 years old. Mikael Nordstrom of the local Jonkoping County museum said Friday that the little girl’s find prompted others to seek out long-lost treasures in a lake that had been diminished by drought. A broach from between 300 to 400 A.D. was eventually found. Nordstrom said archaeologists are trying to understand why the items were there. For sacrificial purposes is one suggestion.

San Francisco has new
‘Snapcrap’ app to report dirty streets

San Francisco (AP) – A newcomer to San Francisco has created a free app to make it easier for people to report poop and used needles on the city’s famously dirty streets. Sean Miller, 24, moved to San Francisco from Vermont after college last year and says he was astonished by the amount of public grime. His “Snapcrap” app was released over the weekend for iOS users and declares itself the “fastest way” to request cleaning in San Francisco. “See something gross? Just snap a photo and press submit,” the app’s description reads. The photos are passed to the city’s Public Works department, which has its own 311 app to report feces and trash, as well as potholes and graffiti. Miller, who lives and works downtown, says downloads have been in the “few hundreds.” San Francisco leaders have been grappling with the state of the city’s dirty streets. There were more than 24,300 requests last year for human waste cleanup. Miller says he’s adding features to the app and hopes to work with the city to improve a very San Francisco problem.

Tipsy birds flying into windows,
cars in northern Minnesota

Gilbert, Minn. (AP) – Police in a small northern Minnesota community have been taking some strange calls about birds that seem to be intoxicated. Citizens in Gilbert on the state’s Iron Range have reported the birds flying into windows, cars and acting confused. In a cheeky Facebook message, the police department says there’s an easy explanation: The birds are ingesting berries that have fermented earlier than usual this year because of an early frost. National Parks Service ranger Sharon Stiteler tells KMSP-TV that robins and waxwings feast on fruit such as crabapples, and that the sugar in those fruits can turn into alcohol as they lose moisture. Stiteler says “drunk birds are totally a thing.” The police department says there’s no need to panic, the birds will eventually sober up.