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The Weird Week in Review

Skeleton Replaces Copenhagen Mermaid

Denmark's iconic statue of Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Mermaid normally sits in the Copenhagen Harbor, but left last week for temporary residence at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai. On April Fool's Day, she returned -as a skeleton! The display was made from human bones and a swordfish skeleton. Tourists enjoyed the prank as the fake posed in the harbor for a few hours, then was removed to the museum for display the next several days.

Despite Gunman, Pizza is Delivered

Burkina Faso native Assami Semde was delivering two pizzas in the Harlem area of New York City when he was accosted by two hooded teenagers. One drew a gun and demanded the pizzas. Semde put the pizzas down and punched the gunman, who ran off. Then he grabbed and held the other man until police arrived. Then he finished delivering the pizzas, still hot, before he went to file a police report.

Semde's boss, Frank Grecco — a retired NYPD detective with 22 years on the force — called the teen "very courageous" but added, "I told him, "˜Next time, leave the pizza!'

Starry Night in Cereal

Doyle Geddes, a teacher at Sky View High School in Smithfield, Utah, led 150 students through the construction of the world's largest recreation of Van Gogh's masterpiece Starry Night. The finished product was 72 feet by 90 feet on the gym floor, and an inch deep in breakfast cereal! A Malt-O-Meal factory donated two tons of Tootie Fruities, Cocoa Dyno-Bites and Frosted Mini Spooners for the project. The work was displayed to the public for four hours on Saturday, then the cereal was collected and given to a farmer to feed his pigs. The Herald Journal details the process of making the recreation.

Women Arrested Trying to Smuggle Body Onto Plane

Gitta Jarant and her daughter Anke Anusic took Jarant's husband, 91-year-old Curt Willi Jarant to Liverpool John Lennon airport to board a flight to Berlin. The tickets had been booked weeks earlier. They had even arranged help to get the disabled man's wheelchair on board. Airport staff noticed that he was cold and called medical help. Jarant wasn't just cold; he was dead. The two women insisted that Jarant was only sleeping and that he always slept like that. According to an airport employee, when informed of Jarant's condition, the women asked if they could travel without him. Mrs. Jarant and her daughter were arrested an a charge of failing to report a death. The coroner is awaiting a report to determine how long Jarant had been dead.

Cow Trapped for Days Below Street

A cow apparently squeezed itself into a culvert in Kaysville, Utah and wandered through the town's storm drain system. It became stuck where the drain narrowed. Animal Control officers officers were alerted when a couple heard noises and found a full-grown cow in a street drain. They tried in vain to chase the cow out the way she came in. Finally crews had to dig up part of the street, and a tractor was used to pulled the cow out. Officers said the cow was underground for at least five days. She was returned to her owner with bruises and scratches.

Doctors Perform C-Section, Woman Not Pregnant

An unidentified woman came to the Cape Fear Medical Center in Fayetteville, North Carolina and asked for a Caesarian section in 2008. A resident diagnosed the woman as pregnant and admitted her to the hospital. After two days of trying to induce labor, she was taken for a C-section. Only during surgery did doctors find that there was no baby! The woman had a false pregnancy. Last week, the North Carolina Medical Board issued the lowest level of disciplinary action against the on-call doctor and the doctor who performed the surgery, stating that they failed to confirm the pregnancy, which the resident was unqualified to diagnose.

Swan Parade

Every Easter in Stratford, Ontario you can see the swans returning to the Avon River in style. They move out of their winter quarters in a fenced area and are escorted to the water by a parade of bagpipers. The Stratford Police Services pipe band wore kilts and marched to the river while playing music. The swans waddled behind, accompanied by a throng of townspeople and tourists who came to witness the event. The event was captured on video.

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Nom & Malc, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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Food
Cheese Wheel Wedding Cakes Are a Funky Twist on an Old Tradition
Nom & Malc, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Nom & Malc, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If there’s ever a time you have permission to be cheesy, it’s on your wedding day. What better way to do so than with a pungent wedding cake made of actual wheels of cheese? According to Elite Daily, cheese wedding cakes are a real option for couples who share an affinity for dairy products.

One of the trailblazers behind the sharp trend is Bath, England-based cheese supplier The Fine Cheese Co. The company offers clients a choice of one of dozens of wedding cake designs. There are bold show-stoppers like the Beatrice cake, which features five tiers of cheese and is priced at $400. For customers looking for something more delicate, there’s the Clara centerpiece, which replaces miniature wedding cakes with mounds of goat cheese. Whether your loved one likes funky Stilton or mellow brie, there’s a cheese cake to satisfy every palate. Flowers are incorporated into each display to make them just as pretty as conventional wedding cakes.

Since The Fine Cheese Co. arranged their first wedding cake in 2002, other cheese suppliers have entered the game. The Cheese Shed in Newton Abbot, England; I.J. Ellis Cheesemongers in Scotland; and Murray’s Cheese in New York will provide cheese wheel towers for weddings or any other special occasion. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from clearing out the local fromagerie and assembling a cheese cake at home.

[h/t Elite Daily]

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Screenshot via Mount Vernon/Vimeo
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History
The Funky History of George Washington's Fake Teeth
Screenshot via Mount Vernon/Vimeo
Screenshot via Mount Vernon/Vimeo

George Washington may have the most famous teeth—or lack thereof—in American history. But counter to what you may have heard about the Founding Father's ill-fitting dentures, they weren't made of wood. In fact, he had several sets of dentures throughout his life, none of which were originally trees. And some of them are still around. The historic Mount Vernon estate holds the only complete set of dentures that has survived the centuries, and the museum features a video that walks through old George's dental history.

Likely due to genetics, poor diet, and dental disease, Washington began losing his original teeth when he was still a young man. By the time he became president in 1789, he only had one left in his mouth. The dentures he purchased to replace his teeth were the most scientifically advanced of the time, but in the late 18th century, that didn't mean much.

They didn't fit well, which caused him pain, and made it difficult to eat and talk. The dentures also changed the way Washington looked. They disfigured his face, causing his lips to noticeably stick out. But that doesn't mean Washington wasn't grateful for them. When he finally lost his last surviving tooth, he sent it to his dentist, John Greenwood, who had made him dentures of hippo ivory, gold, and brass that accommodated the remaining tooth while it still lived. (The lower denture of that particular pair is now held at the New York Academy of Medicine.)

A set of historic dentures
George Washington's Mount Vernon

These days, no one would want to wear dentures like the ones currently held at Mount Vernon (above). They're made of materials that would definitely leave a bad taste in your mouth. The base that fit the fake teeth into the jaw was made of lead. The top teeth were sourced from horses or donkeys, and the bottom were from cows and—wait for it—people.

These teeth actually deteriorated themselves, revealing the wire that held them together. The dentures open and shut thanks to metal springs, but because they were controlled by springs, if he wanted to keep his mouth shut, Washington had to permanently clench his jaw. You can get a better idea of how the contraption worked in the video from Mount Vernon below.

Washington's Dentures from Mount Vernon on Vimeo.

There are plenty of lessons we can learn from the life of George Washington, but perhaps the most salient is this: You should definitely, definitely floss.

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