Genius moments: December 2008

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The Independent Online

Where there's muck, there's brass

Binman Graham Hill was quids in when he found £10,000 on his rounds in Lincoln. But he would have to work for his money: the £10 and £20 notes, which had been dumped in a bin, were torn up into several pieces, not one intact. After a six-month investigation by police turned up no leads, the money was returned to Hill. But to exchange the find for new notes, he would have to match the pieces and tape up the notes, of which there were almost 1,000. "I was gutted when I looked in there and saw it all cut up," Hill told the Lincolnshire Echo. It is not yet known how many notes Hill has restored.

So this is Christmas...

Oh what fun it is, to punch Santa in the face... This and other scenes of festive truculence were witnessed at New Forest Lapland after punters paid £30 a head for the privilege of inspecting two huskies tied to kennels, a billboard showing the nativity across a dirty field and a Christmas market comprising cardboard boxes shoved on the floor. The "attraction" soon closed down. Staffordshire County Council then decided Lapland West Midlands was "a field with some tents" and brought its curtain down before the mob turned up baying for blood.

U saved his life! Nice 1!!! :)

The wonders of modern technology... a doctor volunteering in war-torn Congo performed a complex amputation to save a boy's life by following instructions sent via text message by a colleague in London. David Nott, 52, a vascular surgeon, was working for a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in the eastern town of Rutshuru, an area ravaged by bloody battles between Congolese and rebel troops.

Obama's ringing endorsement

When some wise guy called Miami congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's office posing as Barack Obama to congratulate her on her re-election, she was ready: "You're a better impersonator than that guy who does Obama on Saturday Night Live," she said, hanging up. The schmuck then got a friend to ring her posing as Obama's Chief of Staff! Ros-Lehtinen was on to him, too. It took a word to the wise from a colleague, to alert Ros-Lehtinen to the fact that she had just given the brush-off to the most important man in the world. The President-elect was typically good-humoured. "Whenever [my staff] think my ego is too big," he told Ros-Lehtinen, "they'll remind me that even a lowly congresswoman hangs up on him not once but twice."

Shoe fly, don't bother me

It was 37 days before George W Bush would leave office, so what better time to visit Iraq and inspect the... erm, situation he'd left his successor. Joining the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for a press conference, however, Dubya was cruelly interrupted by a flying shoe, thrown by an unimpressed local journalist. Bravely ducking the footwear, as his Iraqi counterpart barely flinched, Bush shrugged off the incident, saying: "I'm OK." Thank goodness. The journalist, meanwhile, was dragged screaming from the room by secret-service agents.