One of Those Days | News of the Weird | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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News » News of the Weird

One of Those Days

A weekly roundup of international news oddities.



One of Those Days
Sometimes a routine traffic stop (in this case, for an expired license plate) is the most interesting incident in a cop's day. So it was on July 10 for Guthrie, Okla., police officers. Around 11 a.m., they stopped a car driven by Stephen Jennings, 40, who had a friend, Rachael Rivera, 30, in the front seat, and a timber rattlesnake in a terrarium on the back seat. Jennings told police he had a gun in the car at about the same time they identified the car as stolen, reported KFOR. Upon further search, officers found an open bottle of whiskey (next to the gun) and a container of "yellowish powder" labeled "uranium." "The uranium is the wild card in that situation," Guthrie Police Sgt. Anthony Gibbs explained. Jennings told police he was trying to create a "super snake" with the radioactive uranium. Charges for Jennings included possession of a stolen vehicle and transporting an open bottle of liquor. Because it was rattlesnake season, his valid hunting and fishing license absolved him of any charges related to the snake. Police are still trying to figure out what charges might be brought regarding the uranium.

Right Under Their Noses
Capitol Police in Montpelier, Vt., discovered dozens of cannabis plants growing in the flower beds along a walkway at the Statehouse on July 8. Police Chief Matthew Romei told NBC5 that it was unclear whether the more than 30 plants were marijuana or hemp, and they don't know who planted them. But since there is no criminal case, officials don't plan to have the plants tested. "It's legal to cultivate, but there are limits on where you can do it, and the Statehouse flower beds certainly aren't one of those permissible sites," Romei said. "If there is a typical Vermont story, this is probably it."

Secondhand High
Dr. Scott Dolginow, owner of Valley Emergency Pet Care in Basalt, Colo., has noticed a new trend among his dog patients. He told The Aspen Times on July 11 that he's seeing three to 10 dogs a week in his veterinary office with marijuana toxicity. No, they're not toking alongside their owners around the fire pit. Dolginow's theory is the dogs are eating human feces while on trails or camping with their owners and getting a secondhand buzz. Pet owner Rebecca Cole said her dog, Marty, started staggering, vomiting and urinating on the floor after hiking with her on a trail last spring. Cole took Marty to the vet, where "they said he was high. I couldn't believe it because I don't have anything in my house." Dolginow said, "Most dogs will eat human feces given the opportunity."

When not just any old Motel 6 will do, check into The Haneda Excel Hotel Tokyu, near Tokyo's airport, and ask for the "Superior Cockpit Room." Along with two beds, a bathroom and a table, the room features a full Boeing 737-800 flight simulator that offers guests the experience of piloting a full-size jet. According to United Press International, the room rents for $234 per night, but for a 90-minute simulator session with an expert, guests will have to cough up another $277. (The simulator can't be used without supervision.) The room became available for booking on July 18.

Gen. Charles Etienne Gudin, one of Napoleon Bonaparte's "favorite generals," was killed by a cannonball on Aug. 22, 1812, during the failed French invasion of Russia. Posthumously, he got the star treatment—a street named after him in Paris, his name carved on the Arc de Triomphe, and his heart removed and brought home to be placed in a Paris cemetery chapel. But on July 6, Reuters reported, a team of archaeologists found what they believe are his remains buried (ironically) beneath the foundation of a dance floor in Smolensk, Russia. Their first clue? Gudin had lost one of his legs below the knee in battle, and indeed the skeleton was missing its left leg. Scientists will compare the skeleton's DNA with living descendants of Gudin's to confirm their suspicions.

That's Not the Way It Works, Karen
In Turkey's new Istanbul Airport, a first-time flyer had to be rescued on July 10 after she assumed the conveyor belt carrying luggage to the baggage sorting room was her path to the plane. The unnamed woman, juggling a carry-on and a shopping bag, stepped carefully up to the moving belt at the airport check-in and tried to climb on, but lost her balance and took a tumble. The Sun reported that airport personnel were quick to stop the conveyor belt and help her off.

Questionable Judgment
A. Janus Yeager, 49, of Dixon, Ill., was arrested on July 9 as she motored toward home with an inflated kiddie pool on the roof of her SUV. CBS2 Chicago reported that Dixon police officers pulled Yeager over after being alerted that there were two children in the pool. Yeager told police she took the pool to a friend's house to inflate it, then had her daughters ride inside it "to hold it down on their drive home." Yeager was charged with two counts of endangering the health or life of a child and two counts of reckless conduct.

Bright Idea
People in the United Arab Emirates depend heavily on expensive desalination for drinking water. But an Emirati businessman has a novel idea for providing fresh water to the Arabian gulf. Abdulla Alshehi wants to borrow an iceberg from Antarctica, EuroNews reported in May. For six years, Alshehi has been working on a plan to tow an iceberg, as much as 1.25 miles long and a third of a mile wide, the entire 5,500 miles to the UAE coast. He estimates the journey will take 10 months and the iceberg may lose about 30% of its mass, but Alshehi believes its presence could provide drinking water to about 1 million people for about five years. And that's not all. "It's expected that the presence of these icebergs may cause a weather pattern change (and) attract more rain to the region," he said. A trial run this year will move a smaller iceberg, at a cost of $60 million to $80 million. Alshehi believes the cost of the larger project will be between $100 million and $150 million.

Mr. Guo in the Kitchen With a Ladle
Nearly a year after chef Xiu Bin Wang, 33, was found dead in his room above China Chef carryout restaurant in Brockenhurst, Hampshire, England, police are still trying to figure out how he died, Metro News reported. He apparently suffered a "forceful blow" to the head, and officials first fingered Zhu Long Guo, a colleague at the restaurant who admitted to striking Wang with a ladle during an altercation. "A ladle was seized, and there was a thorough investigation," Detective Constable Brad Wanless reported at an inquest on July 11. But the coroner could not make a definite determination: "I do not accept that there is a clear causal link between the admitted blow with the ladle and the death of Mr. Wang," senior coroner Grahame Short concluded.

Armed and Ordained
When the alarm went off at 12:40 a.m. on July 11 at the Seminole Heights Baptist Church in Tampa, Fla., Pastor Brant Adams, 40, was alerted and grabbed his handgun. He arrived at the scene just minutes later, spying a man rifling through a desk in a food pantry in the church. The intruder noticed Adams and started approaching him, so Adams drew his gun and ordered him to hit the floor, which he did. "I said, 'Dude, what are you doing?'" Adams told the Tampa Bay Times. Adams held the man, Miguel Otero-Rivera, 49, at gunpoint until police arrived, who arrested him and charged him with burglary. When police led Otero-Rivera out, he told the pastor, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." For his part, Adams was just glad no one was hurt. "I never thought I'd pull a gun on someone," he said. "Hope the gentleman gets the help that he needs."

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