NEWS OF THE WEIRD

Aug 8 • FEATURE BOTTOM, News, NEWS & VIEWSNo Comments on NEWS OF THE WEIRD

The Threatened American Worker

A local chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in Battle Creek, Michigan, is butting heads with Western Michigan University this summer after the school brought in a goat crew to clean up an overgrown woodlot on campus, leaving union workers without jobs. The AFSCME’s grievance cites a collective bargaining agreement with WMU, but university officials counter that “the area is rife with poison ivy and other invasive species,” which are difficult for humans to remove. The 20-goat crew, rented from Munchers on Hooves in Coldwater, Michigan, is ahead of schedule in clearing a 15-acre area.

With Friends Like These …

Robert Kanoff, 49, celebrated Independence Day in an unusual way: High on drugs, he was dropped off in his birthday suit at a Tempe, Arizona, Walmart by two people who thought it would be “funny to see him naked,” said police. There he walked around the store wearing only shoes and carrying methamphetamines. Maricopa County sheriff’s officers caught up with him around 10 p.m. across the street from the store.

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

First bikes, then cars … now umbrellas. Maybe. Sharing E Umbrella hit the streets of 11 Chinese cities in April with more than 300,000 umbrellas for rent from subway and bus stations. Unfortunately, the company’s founder, Zhao Shuping, didn’t provide instructions about returning the rentals after use, and most of the umbrellas have disappeared. Zhao noted his mistake, saying, “Umbrellas are different from bicycles. … With an umbrella you need railings or a fence to hang it on.” He plans to replenish his stock with 30 million umbrellas nationwide by the end of the year.

Questionable Judgments

The Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival, in which water buffalo are pitted against each other, has been a tradition in Hai Phong, Vietnam, since the 18th century. But on July 1, buffalo trainer Dinh Xuan Huong, 46, met his doom when his own bull turned on him. The buffalo first knocked Dinh to the ground, then flipped him over its head, goring Dinh’s leg with its horn. Dinh later died at the Vietnam-Czech Friendship Hospital. Buffalo fighting was stopped in the country during the Vietnam War, but the fights resumed in 1990.

Under the Influence

Police in Slidell, Louisiana, stopped a “car full of drunks” on July 8 and arrested the driver for driving while intoxicated. The car’s passengers rode home in a taxi, but one of the women then drove back to the police station to bail out the driver. Slidell officers arrested the woman for DWI, and she joined her friend in jail. “Lesson of the day,” Slidell officers posted on their Facebook page: “Don’t drive drunk to a police station in order to bail out your drunk friend!”

Police in Swansea, Illinois, suspect the heir to a brewery fortune has graduated from driving drunk to flying high. August Adolphus Busch IV, 53, landed his helicopter around noon on July 10 in an office complex parking lot outside St. Louis. Police and FAA investigators were still trying to determine why he had landed there and whether any aviation laws had been broken when they were called back to the parking lot around 8 p.m., where Busch, appearing to be intoxicated, was trying unsuccessfully to take off. Swansea police reported that Busch failed field sobriety tests but passed a breath test, and after they secured a warrant, Busch was taken to a local hospital for blood tests. (Also found in the helicopter: four loaded guns, several prescription pill bottles and eight dogs.) At press time, no charges had been filed.

Lacking a Filter

Baseball fans at the Los Angeles Dodgers-Kansas City Royals game in Dodger Stadium on July 8 were treated to some righteous moves on the dance cam by “Rally Granny,” an older fan who capped her performance by flashing her bra at the 40,000-plus spectators. “You don’t see THAT much at a baseball stadium,” deadpanned Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger (who actually missed the spectacle)

From Bad to Worse

Two women in Arlington, Texas, called police for help on July 10 as a mentally ill man doused himself with gasoline in preparation to commit suicide. When responding officers began talking with the distraught man, he poured more gasoline on himself and appeared to be holding a lighter in his hand. Hoping to subdue him, one of the officers used his Taser on the man and the gasoline ignited, engulfing him in flames. Officers wrapped him in blankets and removed him from the house. His family reports he was severely burned, and at press time he was in critical condition.

Now You Have Our Attention

On July 6, IRS workers in Ogden, Utah, received a fake bomb from Normand Lariviere, 68, of Olympia, Washington. The U.S. Navy veteran and former civilian defense contractor has been disgruntled with the Department of Defense since his dismissal in the 1990s and has a history of mailing disturbing objects to the IRS to protest paying taxes. In 2016, Lariviere sent one of his fingers, a bullet and a marijuana joint to tax collectors. “Many things I could do,” he threatened. “I’m not going to tip my hand.”

Drivers speeding down Bedford Street in Lakeville, Massachusetts, may touch the brakes when they spot a parked police cruiser at the side of the road. But the “vehicle,” a plywood and aluminum sign painted to look like a Crown Victoria black-and-white, is a ruse perpetrated by resident Kelly Tufts to get drivers to slow down. Tufts parks the “car” in his driveway, especially on weekends, to protect dogs and kids from speeding traffic. “We’ve had some people give us the one finger,” Tufts said. “If it was their neighborhood, they’d enjoy it.”.

Awesome!

A mathematician in Bucharest, Romania, scored a 44,900 euro profit when he made an exciting discovery at a flea market there: a rare World War II Enigma machine, used by the Nazis for encrypting messages. After paying the unwitting seller just 100 euros ($114 U.S.) for it, he took it into his care, cleaning and repairing it and learning how it worked. On July 11, a Bucharest auction house sold the machine for 45,000 euros ($51,500 U.S.) to an unnamed bidder.

Bright Ideas

Why hire moving professionals for just one appliance? A man in Brisbane, Australia, gamely tried transporting his full-size refrigerator on a Queensland Rail car in April. He first rolled the fridge, strapped to a handcart, onto an elevator to the train platform. Shortly after guiding it into the train carriage, the man and his icebox were removed from the car by transit officers, who wrote him a $252 ticket. Apparently, his item would not fit under a seat, in an overhead rack or in a designated storage area, as Queensland Rail rules specify.

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