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Weird National Briefs - (12/31/14)

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Hold the mustard

COLLINSVILLE, Ill. - The towering ketchup bottle that's a landmark in southwestern Illinois has been up for sale for five months, and apparently no one relishes buying the emblem of roadside Americana.

Mike Gassmann of the Catsup Bottle Preservation Group tells St. Louis Public Radio there have been no buyers of the 65-year-old, 170-foot-tall landmark near Collinsville.

The item billed as the 'World's Largest Bottle of Catsup' went on sale in July at an asking price of $200,000. A nearby building once served by the tower is listed at $300,000.

The landmark replicates a bottle of Brooks Old Original Rich and Tangy Catsup, which was produced in the buildings beneath the tower. The 100,000-gallon tower held water - never ketchup - and hasn't been used since Brooks moved out in the early 1960s.

TME Someone should convert it into condiment-iums.

Holiday hardware

WEST FAIRVIEW, Pa.- A Pennsylvania town plans to nail their New Year's Eve and bicentennial celebrations by dropping some major hardware to mark the occasion.

The Sentinel reports West Fairview plans to drop a 7-foot-tall nail as the clock ticks down Wednesday night. Local artists constructed the nail out of wood.

The 50-pound symbol pays homage to the defunct Harrisburg Nail Works, a local mill that once employed many residents. West Fairview is across the Susquehanna River from the state capital.

Organizers say the event will also serve to commemorate the town's 200th anniversary in 2015.

The inaugural nail drop joins a host of creative New Year's Eve traditions in neighboring towns, such as the dropping of a giant wrench in Mechanicsburg and a huge pickle in Dillsburg.

TME Nailed it.

Nativity nuptials

BLUMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.- Joseph proposed marriage to Mary - in Michigan.

Joe Maurer and Kate Heinlein became engaged during a break from portraying the parents of Jesus Christ. They were re-enacting the Nativity earlier this month for thousands of people at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Blumfield Township, near Saginaw.

Maurer and Heinlein met in 2013 while also cast as Joseph and Mary. He got her phone number and eventually asked her for a date. They now live separately in the Kalamazoo area and plan to get married next fall.

Dressed as Joseph, Maurer dropped to one knee to propose to Heinlein. They were taking a break and warming up from being outside in the live Nativity scene. Their families watched the big moment.

Heinlein tells The Saginaw News they're thankful the engagement occurred 'during this amazing season.'

TME Thus ensuring that baby Jesus will grow up in a three-parent household.

Wassailing gone wrong

SALT LAKE CITY- A Utah man says he's fully recovered after he was hospitalized for chugging a quart of eggnog so quickly that he inhaled some of creamy holiday beverage into his lungs.

Ryan Roche from Utah County told KSL-TV that he participated in an alcohol-free eggnog chugging contest at a holiday office party earlier this month.

Roche says he downed a quart of eggnog in 12 seconds without taking a breath but soon began coughing and gasping.

Hours later, a friend drove him to the hospital as Roche was shaking and struggling to breathe.

Doctors told him he had eggnog in his lungs.

He was put on oxygen and antibiotics and released from the hospital after three days.

Roche says he recovered his strength after a week.

TME That's how you wind up with nog-monia.

Purloined pigeon

BERLIN- Police in Germany are looking for a missing pigeon, and any finder could be in line for a 10,000-euro ($12,250) reward.

Duesseldorf police said Tuesday that the 6-year-old male homing pigeon, named AS 969, was stolen at some point on Saturday night from a locked aviary in the city's suburbs.

They say the light gray bird is valued by its owner at 150,000 euros ($184,000) and police suspect the thief or thieves were 'connoisseurs' as it was the most valuable in an aviary full of other homing pigeons.

The owner offered a 10,000-euro reward for the bird's recovery.

TME Can't they just wait for it to find its way home?

Reindeer games

GARDENA, Calif.- Authorities have recovered a wooden Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer statue stolen from a Los Angeles-area neighborhood where it was a seasonal fixture for half a century.

A Los Angeles County sheriff's statement says the statue, which vanished Dec. 12, was found standing atop a trailer home in the city of Gardena. Detectives obtained a search warrant, collected the statue and arrested the homeowner.

The Daily Breeze reports that, in the meantime, a resident used photos of the stolen Rudolph to speedily build a replacement that was placed Sunday atop the Ranchview neighborhood sign in the city of Rolling Hills Estates.

The newspaper says versions of Rudolph have marked Christmas in the neighborhood for more than 50 years.

The sheriff's statement says the theft case will be presented to prosecutors on Christmas Eve.

TME Apparently the Grinch has moved to California.

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