He just smiles, tells of Vegemite sandwich
Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd was on a world tour doing the diplomacy thing, and to save time and his expense report, he packed a jar of Vegemite in his luggage. The culture-specific, quasi-appetizing brown paste made of yeast extract — don't everyone rush out to get some at once — is a popular sandwich spread in places like Australia. But when Rudd got on a plane in Mexico headed to New York, he had some explaining to do to U.S. Customs officials, who prefer peanut butter and saw Vegemite as potentially lethal. Rudd explained that it was just breakfast, reports the Telegraph of London, and Mexican officials backed him up, and an international incident was averted.
Brief meeting not start of friendship
A woman in Greeley, Colo., woke up at 3 a.m. on Wednesday to find a man she did not know standing over her bed. She did the logical thing and screamed, the Greeley Tribune reports. He did the logical thing and ran away. But before doing the logical thing, he grabbed her cell phone. Could have been so much worse, obviously. It got weird when the woman's friends started getting texts from her, though. And it got crazy when she got a Facebook friend request from Duce Gonzales, whom she did not know but recognized as the guy, according to police. It was creepy, sure, but it made it so much easier for police to close the case. They arrested Juan Gonzalez the same day.
Iowa pumpkin tree coming along nicely
On the first day of Halloween, Mother Nature gave to Phil and JaNelle Lovely . . . a pumpkin in a pear tree. The Greenfield, Iowa, couple noticed the agricultural anomaly recently, and took the opportunity to call the local television station, which has since made them locally famous. But it's built for the long camera shot. A closer inspection shows that a stray pumpkin vine climbed the tree, then set its gourd off an elevated branch. If the still-green pumpkin manages to hang around until it turns orange, expect updated photos.
Gumby: I was misunderstood
Jacob Kiss, the 19-year-old person of interest in the attempted robbery of a convenience store while dressed as Gumby, now says that he wasn't actually trying to rob the San Diego store but that it was all a misunderstanding. He says that he never said the words "robbery" or "gun" and that when he was caught on video reaching into the costume, it was for money for cigarettes, not a gun. He said that wearing the costume cheers people up, and it was just a joke. Gumby was a character on television in the 1980s that was also not very funny.
Compiled from Times wire services and other sources by staff writer Jim Webster, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.