Check back here daily for the latest oddball stories that just may give you a chuckle or leave you scratching your head.
Car goes airborne, slams into 2nd floor of California office
SANTA ANA, Calif. — Authorities say two people escaped serious injuries when the car they were in went airborne and slammed into the second floor of a Southern California dental office.
Orange County fire officials say the Nissan Altima hit a center divider early Sunday, soared into the air and plowed into the top floor of the two-story structure in Santa Ana.
The sedan's front half was wedged inside the building while the back half hung out about 10 feet above a sidewalk.
Officials say a small fire injured one person who managed to get out of the car unassisted. Authorities had to rescue the second person.
Crews will use a crane to remove the car from the building.
Investigators are trying to determine if drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash.
Storm blew historic building to Canada; Maine wants it back
LUBEC, Maine — A fishing-industry building on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places is half-submerged in waters near a Canadian island, and conservationists fear it could disintegrate before legal tangles are resolved.
The Jan. 4 blizzard tore the brine shed from its mooring at McCurdy's Smokehouse off Lubec, Maine, and it was blown to nearby Campobello Island in New Brunswick, the Bangor Daily News reported .
The shed is among five buildings that comprise the last traditional smoked-herring facility in the U.S., and an organization called Lubec Landmarks has worked for almost 25 years to preserve it.
Lubec Landmarks President Rachel Rubeor said legal tangles, including salvage rights claims by some Canadian citizens, could doom the building.
"The bureaucratic nonsense is hampering us big time," said Rubeor, who said vandals with chain saws are threatening to dismantle the building.
A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said the senator's staff has worked to facilitate communication among organizations across all levels of government on both sides of the border "to help save and possibly preserve this historic landmark."
The shed's remains, which include significant portions of its roof, flooring and fireplace plus some side walls, floated under the bridge between Lubec and the Canadian island.
"It is just a miracle that it didn't hit the bridge. It just sailed right through the pilings," said Lubec Town Administrator Renee Gray.
Information from: Bangor Daily News, http://www.bangordailynews.com
Chilly 'gators poke heads above ice to cope with bitter cold
OCEAN ISLE BEACH, N.C. — Although North Carolina's recent bitter cold snap deterred plenty of humans from sticking their noses outdoors, a group of alligators stuck their snouts into the frost and hunkered down in the name of survival.
When the alligators at Shallotte River Swamp Park recently found themselves beneath a sheet of ice as temperatures plunged below freezing, they poked their nostrils above the surface so they could get some air.
The odd scene was a matter of survival for the gators. When they get cold, they enter a period of dormancy known as brumation. They slow their metabolism and their breathing, and before the surface ices over they poke their noses out of the water to continue breathing.
Park officials say the alligators will be on the prowl once temperatures warm up.
New church bells, constant 'Amazing Grace' draws fire
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An Albuquerque resident says new bells and the constant playing of "Amazing Grace" by a Latino Catholic church have created a living hell for her.
KOB-TV in Albuquerque, New Mexico, reports Bernadette Hall-Cuaron says she can no longer stand the regular ding-dongs coming from Our Lady of Guadalupe Church's new electronic bell system.
Hall-Cuaron says the bells ring about 20 to 25 times a day and its keeping people from church because the sounds are so annoying. She says bong songs make it hard for her to sleep.
Pastor Rev. Joe Vigil says he's responded to the complaints by lowering the volume and moved the bells from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.
The church is located in Albuquerque's North Valley neighborhood.
Information from: KOB-TV, http://www.kob.com
Police: Hand grenade disarmed after being found in trash
STRATFORD, Conn. — A hand grenade found in the trash by Connecticut waste management employees has been disarmed.
Police responded to the Stratford trash company Thursday and after finding what appeared to be a hand grenade, called the state police bomb squad to disarm the explosive. Police say the grenade appeared to be from either World War I or World War II and was thrown out alongside garbage that ended up at the waste facility.
Police say there were no injuries reported and the scene was cleared without incident.
Butcher trapped in freezer uses sausage to bash his way out
LONDON — A British butcher who got locked in a freezer says he was saved by a frozen sausage that he used as a battering ram.
Chris McCabe says he became trapped in the walk-in freezer at his shop in Totnes, southwest England, last month when wind blew the door shut. The safety button to open the door had frozen in the -20 C (-4 F) chill.
McCabe said he tried unsuccessfully to kick the button free before picking up a 1.5 kilogram (3.3 pound) black pudding, a form of blood sausage.
McCabe told website Devon Live that he used the meaty tube "like a battering ram" and managed to unstick the button after several blows.
The grateful butcher told the Daily Mirror: "Black pudding saved my life, without a doubt."
Referee rage: Official lashes out at player in French game
PARIS — Call it referee rage.
French official Tony Chapron kicked out in retribution at Nantes defender Diego Carlos during a league game on Sunday, and then promptly showed Carlos a red card.
The bizarre incident happened moments from the end of Paris Saint-Germain's 1-0 win at Nantes.
Carlos was running behind Chapron near the halfway line, and trying to catch up with play, when he inadvertently clipped the referee's heels.
Chapron rolled forward onto the turf and then, a split-second after tumbling, swiped his right leg at Carlos — like a player would do when making a cynical foul on an opponent.
He caught Carlos below the knee, around the shin area, prompting the 24-year-old Brazilian to shrug his shoulders in bewilderment.
Not finished yet, Chapron got up and showed Carlos a second yellow card.
Television cameras capturing the incident showed Nantes president Waldemar Kita, who burst out laughing at the dismissal.
"It's a joke," Kita said after the game. "What do you want me to say? If I say too much I will be summoned."
"Honestly, the whole of Europe is laughing here," Kita added. "The player is on the receiving end and it's him who gets a (red) card. There's a problem here."
Nantes midfielder Valentin Rongier was also unhappy.
"I found the referee's reaction totally absurd," Rongier said. "Diego didn't do it on purpose."
Players are often sanctioned after games due to video evidence and — ironically — referee's reports.
Rongier wants similar rules applied to Chapron and feels he should be suspended.
"I hope he will be judged ... He needs to set the example and shouldn't be doing this kind of thing," Rongier said. "I asked him how he can allow himself to kick (Carlos), and he dared say to me that he slipped. It makes me laugh."
Carlos certainly did not see the funny side, shaking his head as he walked off.
Social media did not spare Chapron, who faced a wave of mockery.
One Twitter user compared him to a UFC competitor specializing in low kicks. Another created a mock-up Wikipedia page to show Chapron with a record of 45 wins — and 34 knockouts — from 56 fights.
Chapron is due to referee again on Wednesday when Angers faces Troyes with players likely to be on their best behavior.
Jerome Pugmire is at www.twitter.com/jeromepugmire
Ritz Carlton, a luxury Saudi prison, takes Feb. 14 bookings
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The Ritz Carlton in Saudi Arabia's capital may be reopening its doors in time for Valentine's Day, after serving for several months as a prison for the country's elite caught up in what the government has described as a crackdown on corruption.
The Ritz Carlton's website on Monday showed bookings available beginning Feb. 14.
An unidentified call center employee handling bookings for the hotel said: "Bookings are available from the 14th of February, but the hotel is not liable if the booking is cancelled. Local authorities might extend the hotel lockout for security reasons."
Sarah Walker-Kerr, a Dubai-based spokeswoman for Marriott, of which the Ritz Carlton is a subsidiary, declined to comment.
Phone lines to the hotel have been cut off since Nov. 5, when the crackdown began.