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News of the Weird

News That Sounds Like a Joke

White people living in Lawrenceville, Georgia, had the chance of a lifetime on Nov. 16 to attend a “Come Meet a Black Person” event sponsored by Urban MediaMakers, a group for filmmakers and content creators. Cheryle Moses, who founded the group, said she read in a 2013 study that most white people don’t have any nonwhite friends. “I want to do my part to change things,” she told The Washington Post. “I have never met a black person,” one person commented on Moses’ Facebook post. “What do you recommend I bring that they would like?” Later, WXIA-TV reported that more the two dozen people showed up to share chili and cornbread, but fewer than a half-dozen were white. [The Washington Post, 11/15/2017;, 11/17/2017]

Unclear on the Concept

The Detroit Police Department got a little carried away on Nov. 9 while trying to address a persistent drug problem on the city’s east side. Two undercover special ops officers from the 12th Precinct were posing as drug dealers on a street corner when undercover officers from the 11th Precinct arrived and, not recognizing their colleagues, ordered the 12th Precinct officers to the ground. Shortly, more 12th Precinct officers showed up and the action moved to a house where, as Fox 2 News described it, a turf war broke out as officers from the two precincts engaged in fistfights with each other. An internal investigation is underway, and the police department has declined comment. [FOX 2 TV, 11/13/2017]

Rude Awakening

A family in Vero Beach, Florida, were rudely awakened early on Nov. 11 when Jacob Johnson Futch, 31, climbed onto their roof to, as he later told authorities, carry out a meeting with an agent of the Drug Enforcement Agency. WPTV reported the family didn’t know Futch and called Indian River Sheriff’s deputies to say that someone was stomping on their roof, yelling and howling. When asked, Futch admitted injecting methamphetamines earlier that morning. He was charged with trespassing and held in the Indian River County jail. [WPTV, 11/14/2017]

The Continuing Crisis

An unnamed man in Frankfurt, Germany, called police 20 years ago to report his Volkswagen Passat missing, believing it had been stolen. In November, the car was found just where the driver had left it, according to Metro News — in a parking garage that is now scheduled to be demolished. Police drove the 76-year-old to the garage to be reunited with his car, which is unfit to drive, before sending it off to the scrap heap. [Metro News, 11/16/2017]

Flying Solo

Office workers at Cambridge Research Park in Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire, England, feared the worst as they rushed outside on Nov. 13 after watching a hot air balloon crash into a fence in their parking lot. Strangely, no one was in the basket of the balloon, although the gas canister was still running. Eyewitness Jack Langley told Metro News: “Either they had bailed out and jumped out before crashing or the balloon escaped from its mooring lines.” Cambridgeshire Police later discovered the balloon had taken off when the pilot got out of the basket to secure it to the ground. [Metro News, 11/14/2017]

Bright Ideas

— Dunedin, New Zealand, police Sgt. Bryce Johnson told that he’s seen people reading newspapers, putting on makeup and using their mobile phones while driving, but pulling over a driver who was playing bagpipes while driving, as he did on Nov. 15, was a first for him. “His fingers were going a million miles an hour,” Johnson said. The driver, who admitted to being a bagpipe player, said he was only doing “air bagpipe,” and a search of the car did not turn up the instrument. He was released with a warning, but Johnson urged other drivers to keep both hands on the wheel at all times. [, 11/15/2017]

— The Hopkinton, Massachusetts, Police Department cited an unnamed driver of a Buick Century on Nov. 12 for making their own license plate out of a pizza box and markers. The plate, which reads “MASS” at the top and sports a sloppily rendered six-digit number, prompted police to post some helpful warnings to creative citizens on its Facebook page and resulted in charges including operating an uninsured and unregistered vehicle and attaching “fake homemade” plates. [United Press International, 11/16/2017]

Crime Report

In the wee hours of Nov. 5, before the McDonald’s in Columbia, Maryland, had opened, a woman reached through the drive-thru window and tried to pour herself a soda, but she couldn’t reach the dispenser. The Associated Press reports that, rather than driving down the road to a 24-hour restaurant, she can be seen on surveillance video squeezing herself through the drive-thru window, pouring herself a soda and collecting a box full of unidentified items before taking off. The thief remains at large. [AP via ABC News, 11/16/2017]

Oh, Canada

Montreal police may win the Funsuckers of the Year award after pulling over 38-year-old Taoufik Moalla on Sept. 27 as he drove to buy a bottle of water in Saint-Laurent. Moalla was enthusiastically singing along to C+C Music Factory’s song “Gonna Make You Sweat” when a patrol car pulled behind him with lights and sirens blaring. Officers directed him to pull over, and four officers surrounded Moalla’s car. “They asked me if I screamed,” Moalla told CTV News. “I said, ‘No, I was just singing.'” Then he was issued a $149 ticket for screaming in public, a violation of “peace and tranquility.” “I understand if they are doing their job, they are allowed to check if everything’s OK,” said a “very shocked” Moalla, “but I would never expect they would give me a ticket for that.” His wife, however, said she wasn’t surprised and would have given him a ticket for $300. [CTV News, 10/22/2017]


Indian computer coder Suyash Dixit braved perilous terrorist-infested territory and drove six hours in early November to plant his flag and declare himself king in the last remaining unclaimed habitable place on Earth — Bir Tawil, a border area between Sudan and Egypt. “I am the king! This is no joke, I own a country now! Time to write an email to U.N.,” he told The Telegraph. King Dixit has also created a website for his new nation, where he is encouraging people to apply for citizenship. However, Anthony Arend, an international law and politics scholar, scolds that “under international law, only states can assert sovereignty over territory.” [The Telegraph, 11/14/2017]

The Litigious Society

The Canadian Press reports that Lorne Grabher of Nova Scotia, Canada, is suing the Transport Department to keep his vanity plate, which reads GRABHER. The retiree has sported the namesake plate for 27 years, but in January it was revoked for being “inappropriate,” and authorities denied the reason was because of its similarity to a suggestive comment by President Donald Trump revealed during his campaign. “I am increasingly dismayed by the hypersensitivity of some people who are ‘offended’ by every little thing they encounter,” Grabher wrote in his affidavit. He went on to say that he is proud of his Austrian-German surname. Grabher’s case is scheduled to be heard in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in September 2018. [Canadian Press via The Chronicle Herald, 11/14/2017]