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The Weird Week in Review

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Ping Pong Balls Save Toddler's Life

2-year-old Mackenzie Argaet of Australia was born with biliary artresia. Her liver developed cirrhosis and she received a liver transplant. During surgery, doctors found the liver was too large and pressed on her arteries. So they held the liver back with ping pong balls! Mackenzie has made a remarkable recovery, and the doctor says that her liver will grow around the balls.

Airbag for Elderly Pedestrians

A new product unveiled at the International Home Care and Rehabilitation Exhibition in Tokyo resembles nothing more than a walking airbag. One bag inflates behind the head, the other behind the hips. Sensors in the gadget detect when the wearer is off-balance. The device weighs only 2.5 pounds. It is specifically designed for older people with epilepsy. There is a huge market for products for the elderly in Japan, which has 30 million residents over the age of 65.

Skydivers Over Everest

On October 2nd, around three dozen skydivers will attempt to parachute over Mount Everest. Participants from 14 countries will use larger-than-normal parachutes and will wear oxygen masks.

Hurtling past the 8,850-meter (29,035 feet) peak, the skydivers plan, weather permitting, to freefall for 1 minute before deploying their parachutes and cruising for 8-10 minutes to land in a flat drop zone at 12,350 feet.

A Case of Law and Odor

150cruz.jpgJose Cruz was arrested after he failed a roadside sobriety test in Charleston, West Virginia. During fingerprinting, he passed gas and was hit with an additional charge of battery on an officer! The battery charge was dropped after a request by the Kanawha County prosecutor's office. Cruz still faces charges for DUI and obstruction. See a video report here.

PETA Urges Ice Cream Be Made From Breast Milk

The founders of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream received a letter from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) asking them to stop using cow's milk in their ice cream, and use human breast milk instead.

"The fact that human adults consume huge quantities of dairy products made from milk that was meant for a baby cow just doesn't make sense," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "Everyone knows that 'the breast is best,' so Ben & Jerry's could do consumers and cows a big favor by making the switch to breast milk."

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield responded by saying they believe a woman's breast milk is "best used for her child."

Fighting Sheep Get the Blues

150bluesheep.jpgA flock of blue sheep was spotted in North Tyneside in England. The farmer had sprayed blue dye on certain parts of the rams before letting his sheep out for mating. The idea was that the dye would transfer to the ewes, indicating which could possibly be pregnant. Instead, or in addition, the rams began fighting with each other, covering themselves completely with blue dye.

Man Sues Over Penis Amputation

61-year-old Philip Seaton of Louisville, Kentucky planned to have a circumcision last October. Instead, he woke up from general anesthesia to find his penis had been amputated! He filed a lawsuit last week against the surgeon, the anesthetist, and the clinic. The explanation he received was that the surgeon found cancer and made an emergency decision. Seaton's attorney Kevin George says the surgeon should have closed the patient up and informed him of the options.

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Kevin Burkett, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
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Restaurant Seeks Donations to Big Mouth Billy Bass Adoption Center
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Kevin Burkett, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

If you’ve ever wondered where all those Big Mouth Billy Bass singing fish that flew off shelves in the early 2000s have gone, take a look inside a Flying Fish restaurant. Each location of the southern seafood chain is home to its own Big Mouth Billy Bass Adoption Center, and they’re always accepting new additions to the collection.

According to Atlas Obscura, the gimmick was the idea of Dallas-based restaurateur Shannon Wynne. He opened his flagship Flying Fish in Little Rock, Arkansas in 2002 when the Big Mouth Billy Bass craze was just starting to wind down. As people grew tired of hearing the first 30 seconds of “Don’t Worry Be Happy” for the thousandth time, he offered them a place to bring their wall ornaments once the novelty wore off. The Flying Fish promises to “house, shelter, love, and protect” each Billy Bass they adopt. On top of that, donors get a free basket of catfish in exchange for the contribution and get their name on the wall. The Little Rock location now displays hundreds of the retired fish.

Today there are nine Flying Fish restaurants in Arkansas, Texas, and Tennessee, each with its own Adoption Center. There’s still space for new members of the family, so now may be the time to break out any Billy Basses that have been collecting dust in your attic since 2004.

And if you’re interested in stopping into Flying Fish for a bite to eat, don’t let the wall of rubber nostalgia scare you off: The batteries from all the fish have been removed, so you can enjoy your meal in peace.

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images
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The Long, Strange Story of Buffalo Bill's Corpse
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

You probably know William Frederick Cody, a.k.a. Buffalo Bill, as the long-haired Wild West icon who turned the frontier experience into rip-roarin’ entertainment. But the story of Buffalo Bill’s body and its many burials is almost as outrageous as the man himself.

When Cody died of kidney failure in January 1917, his body ended up on a mountain outside of Denver, Colorado—a counterintuitive choice given his close ties to the town in Wyoming that bore his last name. Cody, Wyoming was founded in the 1890s with help from Buffalo Bill, who employed many of its residents and was responsible for its tourism business. It might seem natural that he’d be buried in the place he’d invested so much in, but he wasn’t. And that’s where the controversy began.

Though Cody spent much of his time in the town named after him, he also loved Colorado. After leaving his family in Kansas when he was just 11 to work with wagon trains throughout the West, he headed to Colorado for the first time as a 13-year-old wannabe gold prospector. During his short time in the area, he chased the glittery fortunes promised by Colorado’s 1859 gold rush. Even after leaving the territory, his traveling vaudeville show, which brought a glamorous taste of Wild West life to people all over the United States, took him back often. Later in life, he frequently visited Denver, where his sister lived. He died there, too—after telling his wife he wanted to be buried on Lookout Mountain.

The mountain, located in Golden, Colorado, has a commanding view of the Great Plains, where Buffalo Bill experienced many of his Wild West adventures. It was also a place to contemplate the giant herds of buffalo that once roamed the West, and from whom Cody took his nickname. (Denver still maintains a small herd of buffalo—direct descendants of original American bison—near the mountain.)

But weather almost thwarted Cody’s burial plans. Since he died in January, the road to Lookout Mountain was impassable and his preferred burial site frozen solid. For a while, his body lay in state in the Colorado Capitol building. Governors and famous friends eulogized Cody in an elaborate funeral service. Then his body was placed in a carriage that moved solemnly through the streets of Denver, where thousands showed up to say goodbye. Afterwards, his body was kept in cold storage at a Denver mortuary while his family waited for the weather to change.

Meanwhile, Colorado and Wyoming started a heated feud over one of America’s most famous men. Wyoming claimed that Cody should be buried there, citing an early draft of his will that said he intended to be buried near Cody. Colorado cried foul, since Cody’s last will left the burial location up to his widow, who chose Lookout Mountain. Rumors even began to circulate that a delegation from Wyoming had stolen Cody’s body from the mortuary and replaced it with that of a local vagrant.

In part to stop the rumor mill, Cody was finally buried in an open casket on Lookout Mountain in June 1917. Twenty-five thousand people went to the mountaintop to bid him farewell before he was interred. To prevent theft, the bronze casket was sealed in another, tamper-proof case, then enclosed in concrete and iron.

Pennies on Buffalo Bill's grave
V.T. Polywoda, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Yet his rocky grave was anything but safe. In the 1920s, Cody’s niece, Mary Jester Allen, began to claim that Denver had conspired to tamper with Cody’s will. In response, Cody’s foster son, Johnny Baker, disinterred the body and had it reburied at the same site under tons of concrete to prevent potential theft [PDF]. (Allen also founded a museum in Wyoming to compete with a Colorado-based museum founded by Baker.)

The saga wasn’t over yet. In 1948, the Cody, Wyoming American Legion offered a $10,000 reward to anyone who could disinter the body and return it to Wyoming. In response, the Colorado National Guard stationed officers to keep watch over the grave.

Since then, the tussle over the remains has calmed down. Despite a few ripples—like a jokey debate in the Wyoming legislature about stealing the body in 2006—Buffalo Bill still remains in the grave. If you believe the official story, that is. In Cody, Wyoming, rumor has it that he never made it into that cement-covered tomb after all—proponents claim he was buried on Cedar Mountain, where he originally asked to be interred.

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