The Weird Week in Review
Olympics Open, Maternity Wards Full, 16,000 Couples Wed
Today is an auspicious date for China, not only because of the Olympics, but also because the date is 8-8-8. The Chinese word for "eight" is a homophone for "wealth". All 200 beds in Beijing's main maternity ward are full as women have scheduled caesarean section births to ensure "Olympic babies". Other cities report scheduled births at five times the normal number today. In addition, an estimated 16,000 couples will tie the knot today.
Max Goes for Candy
Three-year- old Max McGrath of Longridge in Lancashire decided he wanted candy from the supermarket, despite the fact that everyone in his family was asleep and the store was a mile and a half away. So he unlocked the door and walked the entire way! James Brown, who was driving a delivery truck spotted him looking through the store window at 3AM. Max was able to show Brown where he lived, but the truck driver had to call police to wake the family up. Max's mother Amy McGrath says she now keeps the door key out of his reach.
The Shire in Foreclosure
Ron Meyers envisioned a community modeled after the world in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, and began a development project in Bend, Oregon. Several years later, the project called The Shire is in foreclosure, a victim of the subprime mortgage crisis. Only one house was ever sold, to one of the community's designers. One other has been built and draws a lot of interest, but no buyers. The houses feature artificial thatched roofs, unique stonework, and other Middle Earth touches. Fourteen other developed lots will go on the auction block if they are not sold by December.
24-year-old Darren McWalters married his bride Katie Hodgson while flying over the English countryside on top of separate biplanes! The minister, 67-year-old George Bringham conducted the rites while standing on a third biplane. They communicated by wireless, and the vows were transmitted to witnesses on the ground over a loudspeaker. See a video here.
Girl Falls 14 Stories, Saved by Soot
12-year-old Grace Bergere was playing on the roof and climbed to the top of the chimney at her Manhattan apartment building to get a better view of the city. She slipped from the top of the ladder and fell down the chimney, 14 stories down to the ground! She landed in the building's boiler room in a 3-foot pile of soot. Firefighters were stunned to find Grace not only alive, but conscious. She suffered a broken hip, but no internal injuries.
A farmer in Hooper, Utah built a fence out of old cars! Neighbors in a new subdivision were complaining about farming activities and the smell, but the neighbor who adjoins his property wouldn't help pay for a fence, so he built one from the material he had.
Creator Rhett Davis calls it his "Redneck Stonehenge." It's not that he doesn't like his neighbors, he's just not sure they understand him and his kind.
What used to be farmland is now filling up with subdivisions. "The unique community coming in, I don't think they're used to the farm life," Davis said. "I think the residential is starting to overpower the farmer."
Child Left Behind at Airport
In a scene reminiscent of the movie Home Alone, a family with five children left one behind when they departed from Ben Gurion Airport in Israel. Her mother and father were sitting in different parts of the plane, and each thought the 4-year-old was with the other parent. The girl was found wandering in the airport's duty-free shopping area after her plane had left for Paris. The girl was escorted to her destination on another plane.