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News of the Weird


On May 1, as airmen of the 91st Missile Wing Security Forces traversed the gravel back roads of North Dakota between two of the nuclear missile launch sites they are charged with protecting, the back hatch of their truck fell open, allowing a 42-pound metal box of explosive grenade rounds to fall out. Despite deploying more than 100 airmen to walk the entire 6-mile route the team had driven, The Washington Post reported on May 15, the ammunition still hadn’t been found. The Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of the box and has alerted local farmers and oil field vendors in the area that the box could be dangerous if damaged. [The Washington Post, 5/15/2018]

Animal Antics

— In Lodi, California, a small black cat took up residence on May 11 on a high ledge near the large outdoor sign of a Chili’s restaurant and thwarted attempts by management, who self-identified as “cat people,” to be rescued. As customers took pictures, Restaurant Cat, as it came to be known, stared down calmly, KTXL TV reported. But when Chili’s employees used a ladder to try to reach it, the cat climbed behind the neon chili pepper and wouldn’t come out, so they left food and water. Presumably it’s keeping the pigeons away. [Fox40 TV, 5/13/2018]

— Meanwhile, in Perth, Australia, another restaurant has taken a novel approach to a different animal problem: Customers at Hillary’s 3Sheets are being offered water guns to shoot at seagulls, which have been ruining diners’ waterfront meals. “It was bad,” owner Toby Evans told Nine Network television on May 16, admitting the idea was “a desperate measure. Before, they’d wait until customers had finished and got up, but now they’re getting cheekier and cheekier.” Customers are on board, saying the pistols are working. (Maybe they need a Restaurant Cat of their own.) [Nine Network, 5/16/2018]

But, Why?

— Making good on his promise, Welshman Mark Williams, 43, celebrated his third world snooker championship by conducting the post-match news conference at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England, in the buff. Williams, who beat John Higgins of Scotland on May 7, is the event’s oldest winner in 40 years, Reuters noted. “I’m not going to say anything stupid … but to be honest if I won this next year, I’d cartwheel down here naked,” Williams promised. [Reuters, 5/8/2018]

— The Daytona Beach International Airport was briefly evacuated early on May 11 when John Greenwood, 25, caused a ruckus as he rode around the baggage carousel in the nude, trying to get out onto the tarmac, reported News4Jax. Sheriff’s deputies shocked him with a Taser, to which he responded: “We gotta get outta here, there’s a bomb going to go off. I planted a bomb in the bathroom.” After sweeping the airport, officials found no explosives, but Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said they did find Greenwood’s clothes in a backpack hidden in a hole in the bathroom wall. Described by Chitwood as a frequent flyer, Greenwood is known to local law enforcement, and he admitted taking drugs on Thursday night. He faces several charges after the incident. [News4Jax, 5/11/2018]

Easy Way Out

Like any resourceful mom, Johanna Giselhall Sandstrom of Kyrkhult, Sweden, made lemonade out of lemons after she discovered a spelling error in her newly acquired tattoo. Sandstrom had asked the tattoo artist to entwine the names of her two children, Nova and Kevin, on her arm, and it wasn’t until she arrived home that she realized the tattoo read “Kelvin” instead of “Kevin.” “My heart stopped and I thought I was going to faint,” Sandstrom told local newspaper Blekinge Lans Tidning. Removing the tattoo would require multiple treatments, she learned, so Sandstrom decided instead to change her 2-year-old son’s name to Kelvin, The Independent reported on May 16. “When I thought more about it, I realized that no one else has this name,” she said. “It became unique. Now we think it is better than Kevin.” [The Independent, 5/16/2018]

Weird Science

For two years, Kendra Jackson of Omaha, Nebraska, “had a box of Puffs … everywhere I went,” due to constant sneezing, coughing and nose-blowing that started after she hit her face on the dashboard during a car accident in 2013, she told KETV. Multiple doctors told her allergies were the cause, but eventually she was diagnosed with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak — her brain fluid was leaking into her nasal cavity at the rate of about a half-pint a day. In early May, Nebraska Medicine rhinologist Dr. Christie Barnes plugged the small hole between Jackson’s skull and nostrils with her own fatty tissue, giving Jackson the relief she had been seeking for years. [KETV, 5/10/2018]

Awwwwww ….

Six baby squirrels in Elkhorn, Nebraska, found themselves in a sticky situation when their tails became tangled in tree sap and knotted together in their nest. When a man noticed what looked like a six-headed squirrely cluster moving around in a tree, wildlife expert Laura Stastny, executive director of Nebraska Wildlife Rehab, got the call. Stastny told the Omaha World-Herald that her group sees a case like this every year or so. She covered the squirrels with a towel to calm them and then snipped the fur that held them together. [Omaha World-Herald, 5/17/2018]

Let Me Get My Checkbook

The owner of a 15,000-square-foot condo on the 45th floor of the swanky Atelier building in Manhattan is offering the 10-bedroom, 11-bathroom property for sale — for $85 million, according to WNBC. It features the expected appointments — marble bathrooms, granite kitchen with stainless steel appliances — but the steep price tag also includes some extras, such as two Rolls-Royce Phantoms, a Lamborghini, courtside season tickets to the Brooklyn Nets, a summer mansion in the Hamptons, a million-dollar yacht, live-in butler service and … oh yeah, two tickets for a trip to outer space. [WNBC, 5/17/2018]

Bright Ideas

— A 47-year-old woman from Adrian, Michigan, lost her job after she brought laxative-laced brownies to a co-worker’s going-away party on May 3. Another employee of MMI Engineered Solutions in Saline tipped off company officials, who called police. The baker initially denied putting anything in the brownies, but came clean after being told the brownies could be forensically tested. Saline Police Chief Jerrod Hart told the Ann Arbor News there had been tension between the baker and the guest of honor, but the nature of the spat was not clear. “A lot of times you see it in movies or TV shows where someone tries to do this or play a joke, but it’s very serious,” Hart said. “It’s a criminal act.” The woman, however, was not charged, since no one ate the treats. [Ann Arbor News, 5/15/2018]

— Sidney Bouvier Gilstrap-Portley, 25, was arrested on May 11 in Dallas after scamming his way into two Dallas high schools in an apparent effort to relive his basketball career. Gilstrap-Portley was charged with posing as a 17-year-old student and Hurricane Harvey evacuee so that he could play high school basketball. As Dallas schools welcomed students displaced by the hurricane, Gilstrap-Portley first enrolled at Skyline High School and then at Hillcrest High School, where he was a star on the team (and dated a 14-year-old girl). In fact, high school coaches voted him offensive player of the year. The Dallas Morning News reported that a former coach spotted him at a tournament and alerted Hillcrest’s coach that he had graduated “a time ago.” [Dallas Morning News, 5/16/2018]


Matthew and Maria Colonna-Emanuel of Staten Island knew about the silver box partially buried near some trees in their yard for years; they thought it was a cable box. But when they decided to replace the trees, they discovered the box was a safe — and it was full of treasure. In early May, the Emanuels found thousands of dollars, along with “jewelry, diamonds, engagement rings …” said Matthew Emanuel. “It was stunning.” They also found an address, which linked them to nearby neighbors. The New York Police Department told CBS New York that indeed, the Emanuels’ neighbors were robbed in 2011 of a safe with items totaling about $52,000. The couple returned the safe and its contents to the crime victims, who were thrilled. “It wasn’t even a question,” said Maria Colonna-Emanuel. “It wasn’t ours.” [CBS New York, 5/14/2018]