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The Weird Week in Review

Children Direct Air Traffic

An air traffic controller at New York City's JFK airport brought his two children to work with him on two consecutive days last month and allowed then to speak to pilots over an air traffic control frequency. A audio recording shows how the controller's young son spoke to an airborne Air Mexico pilot and cleared a Jet Blue pilot for takeoff. The unnamed controller brought his daughter to work the next day and allowed her to speak to air traffic as well. Both the controller and his immediate supervisor are on paid leave as the FAA investigates the incident.

Breast Implant Stops Bullet

Lydia Carranza survived a gunshot wound in her chest during a workplace shooting last year. Dr. Ashkan Ghavami, a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, credits her size D breast implants with stopping the bullet from entering her heart. The medical team that originally treated Carranza is not so sure.

"It's a ballistics issue," Kris Carraway, a spokeswoman for Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, told the Times. "The emergency physician who treated the patient was not aware of the breast implant having any impact or whether or not it saved her life."

An LAPD firearms instructor told the Times it's possible the implant interrupted the velocity of the bullet.

Dr. Ghavami has offered Carranza his services at a reduced price for reconstruction of her implants.

Wedding Elephant Destroys Limousines

An elephant hired for a wedding in New Delhi, India had romance on his mind as well. Instead of waiting to do his job, the elephant responded to the scent of a female in heat and trampled over twenty limousines and other vehicles, a sugar cane field, and a shopping mall. The elephant was brought down with a tranquilizer gun six hours later. It is estimated that the elephant caused £200,000 in damage.

Turtle Racing

Imagine a sport where you can finish a drink in the midst of a race of only a few feet! Turtle racing has become a trend in metropolitan bars like Bucky's Grill and Pub in Indianapolis, where the first turtle race was held last month. Raffle tickets are handed out to patrons, and a drawing determines who get to be an honorary jockey for each of the six turtles. However, the only person to actually handle the turtles is a licensed reptile handler.

ATF Seizes 30 Toy Guns

Brad Martin and his son Ben sell Airsoft BB guns at their store on Cornelius, Oregon. A recent shipment of 30 of the toy guns were intercepted and seized by ATF agents when they entered the country at Tacoma, Washington.

The Martins said they buy their stock from Taiwan because the merchandise is less expensive. But the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives seized a shipment of 30 in October. That shipment is worth around $12,000 and the ATF is promising to destroy the entire shipment.

Special Agent Kelvin Crenshaw said the toys can be easily retro-fitted into dangerous weapons.

Martin disputes that the guns can be converted.

Unlicensed Pilot Flew for 13 Years

Dutch police arrested a 41-year-old man in the cockpit of a Boeing 737 as he was about to take off from Amsterdam's Schiphol airport with 101 passengers. The unnamed man was employed as a pilot for Corendon Airlines of Turkey, but did not have a valid pilot's license! He was once licensed to fly small planes, but was never certified to fly commercial airliners. He said he had been flying for airlines for 13 years. Police in Amsterdam were notified of the pilot's status by Swedish authorities. He was charged with flying without a license and forgery.

Couple Arrested on Wedding Day

22-year-old Marissa Ann Putignano-Keene and 37-year-old Timothy Keene were married in Barnstable, Massachusetts. The wedding took an ugly turn when the couple ran into a former girlfriend of the groom. Literally ran into, as the new Mrs. Keene was driving and tried to run the unnamed woman and her son down in the parking lot of the Barnstable Town Hall. The groom was also in the vehicle. The bride was arrested for assault and battery, and the groom was arrested for disorderly conduct. The newlyweds spent their wedding night in jail. Separate cells, of course.

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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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