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News » News of the Weird

Crème de la Weird

A weekly roundup of international news oddities.



Crème de la Weird
Doctors at Westmead Hospital in Sydney, Australia, documented a case in the British Medical Journal's Case Reports that has at least one nose out of joint. A 48-year-old former prison inmate had been suffering from sinus infections, nasal congestion and headaches for years, United Press International reported. Doctors treating the man performed a CT scan and discovered a rhinolith—a stone made of calcium—in his nasal cavity, which, when removed, was found to have formed around a small balloon with cannabis inside. The patient then recalled that when he was in prison about 18 years earlier, his girlfriend had smuggled in the balloon during a visit, and he had inserted it in his nose to hide it. But he pushed it too far in and assumed he had swallowed it. The unnamed man is surely breathing easier these days.

His Patriotic Duty
Astronaut and Neshannock Township, Pa., resident Andrew Morgan, who is currently aboard the International Space Station, cast his absentee ballot this Election Day from his perch 250 miles above the planet, the New Castle News reported. Ed Allison, Lawrence County's director of voter services, received Morgan's application for an absentee ballot and went the extra mile for the spaceman, coordinating with IT for a fillable, secure PDF file that Morgan could use to register his selections. "Astronaut Morgan got the ballot, voted it and sent it back," Allison said. "No problem at all. In the 11 years I have been here, it is certainly unique."

Bright Idea
Brice Kendell Williams, 32, was hoping to avoid getting a DWI early on Nov. 3, CNN reported, so rather than driving his car from one bar to another in Houma, La., Williams stole a motorized shopping cart from Walmart and toddled more than a half-mile to his destination, according to authorities. He carefully parked the scooter between two cars in the lot and went inside, where officers from the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's Office found him and arrested him for felony unauthorized use of a moveable. Williams' bond was set at $2,500.

Rules We Didn't Know We Needed
North Carolina's Madison County Public Library system has had a loosely enforced rule against bringing pets into its branches. But on Oct. 8, Interim Director Peggy Goforth appeared before the county's board of commissioners to request a new policy that tightly restricts animals to only service dogs. Goforth felt she had to advocate for stricter rules after a man brought a bag full of snakes into the library, reported the Citizen Times. "He said, 'My pets are harmless. Here, let me show you,'" Goforth said. "And he poured them out on the front desk. They just wriggled everywhere." When told pets weren't allowed in the library, "He was really nice about it. He just bagged up all the snakes and left," she added. She said another man brought in an ant farm and took the top off to feed them, then forgot to put it back on. "The ants got everywhere." The library's new policy excludes all animal species except dogs that are trained to help a person with a disability.

A passenger on New York's MTA train system noticed a couple of suspicious packages at the Metro-North New Rochelle station on the afternoon of Oct. 28 and did what any conscientious rider would do: alerted authorities, using the new Help Point intercom system in the station. It turned out the boxes contained more of the MTA's Help Point devices—they just hadn't been installed yet. The alert only briefly shut down the station, WNBC reported, as police quickly removed the boxes.

• In Crystal City, Mo., police are on the lookout for a man who broke into a vending machine at the Twin City Coin Laundry on Oct. 22, pocketing about $600 in change. KSDK reported that he ought to be easy to find: He committed his crime in full view of security cameras, and he was wearing a T-shirt with the motto, "It's not a crime unless you get caught."

Talk about bringing down the room. Late on Nov. 2 in Hattingen, Germany, about 300 patrons of a swingers' club were interrupted mid-party when carbon monoxide alarms sounded and several began to feel unwell. Firefighters escorted the swingers, many clad only in bathrobes, to safety, with about 10 people requiring treatment, reported the Associated Press. However, firefighters could not detect any dangerous level of carbon monoxide once they arrived on the scene.

Entrepreneurial Spirit
Belinda Gail Fondren, 52, of Evans, La., was charged with filing or maintaining false public records on Oct. 23 after it was discovered that she was writing fake doctor's notes for high school students so they could get out of class. Fondren, who worked at a medical clinic, charged $20 for each excuse, Vernon Parish Sheriff Sam Craft told WTAP. He also said it was common knowledge among students that the excuses were for sale. Two students obtained excuses on 14 occasions, he said. Fondren's fraud came to light when someone from the Vernon Parish School Board called a doctor about the notes, which he denied having authorized. Her bond was set at $15,000.

• Workers at a branch of Pinnacle Bank in Lincoln, Neb., were stymied on Oct. 28 when a man arrived hoping to open a checking account with a $1 million bill, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. Bank employees argued with him that it couldn't possibly be real (the largest denomination bill ever minted was for $100,000), and eventually he left, with his bill but without an account. Lincoln police are hoping to identify him from surveillance video so they can check on his welfare.

When Coco the Shiba Inu was hit by a car on Oct. 28 in Schenectady, N.Y., the driver stopped and noticed some damage to her car, but couldn't see what she had hit, so she drove on. About an hour later, Rotterdam Police Lt. Jeffrey Collins told WNYT, the driver stopped again when she heard noises. This time, she saw Coco, who was lodged in the car's bumper. "It was like the perfect fit," said Noella LaFreniere of the Hernas Veterinary Clinic where Coco was treated. "She ... came out alive, and it's shocking to us." Coco suffered a broken elbow but no other serious injuries. Police have located her owners.

Weird Weather
CNN reported on Nov. 6 that thousands of smooth, egg-shaped ice balls have accumulated on a long stretch of beach in Hailuoto, Finland, on the Baltic Sea. The icy balls form when turbulent water near the shore breaks up a layer of slushy ice. The ice sticks together, and as waves crash the shore, they spin the clumps of ice, smoothing them into balls. Sirpa Tero, a visitor to the beach, told CNN she's seen the phenomenon before, but never covering so much area.

• Residents of Kansas City were puzzled by a foul smell in the air, similar to funky feet or manure, on the evening of Nov. 6, according to KSHB. Meteorologists at the National Weather Service came to the rescue with an explanation: A cold front that moved into the area from the north included a shallow mixing layer that had trapped the odors in Minnesota and Iowa. As they put it: "Strong winds ... transported in an 'agriculture' smell from farms north of here."

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