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The Weird Week in Review

Seattle Superhero Suffers Broken Nose

Phoenix Jones wears a mask and a superhero costume when patrolling the streets of Seattle, but does not have Superman's shield of invulnerability. Jones witnessed a fight in Lynwood, Washington and intervened, holding one of the two men in a headlock. When the other man drew a gun, Jones released his hold, and the man he was holding kicked him in the face, breaking Jones' nose. The superhero says the injury is just part of the job, but Seattle police want him to stop getting involved and just report observed crimes to authorities.

Man Sneezes Out Bullet After Being Shot

Darco Sangermano was rushed to a hospital in Naples, Italy when a stray bullet pierced his head on New Years Eve.

The bullet, a .22 caliber, entered the right side of his head, passed behind his eye through the socket, hit a bone in his nose and lodged itself in his right nostril.

Covered in blood, but still conscious, Sangermano then sneezed out the bullet, and apart from a headache, told doctors he felt fine.

Doctors operated on Sangermano to remove bone fragments and stitch the wound. They expect he will fully recover and even keep the use of his eye.

Drunk Cowboys Arrested on Horse and Mule

The question of whether someone riding a horse while drunk should be charged with DWI has been debated for years, since a sober horse can usually control itself and find its way home. That's not so certain in the middle of a city. Police in Austin, Texas arrested Jose Rios and Samuel Olivo Jr. for DWI because they were afraid the two, who were riding a horse and a mule, might cause an accident on the busy city street. The DWI charges were later dropped and Rios was charged with public intoxication. The animals were confiscated and sent to an animal hospital, where Rios and Olivo can retrieve them after paying impound fees.

Competing for Miss America Without Hair

Miss Delaware, Kayla Martell, has competed in beauty pageants for years and is currently in Las Vegas for the Miss America pageant, which concludes Saturday night. What sets Martell apart is that she suffers from alopecia areata and is bald. Martell competes wearing a wig, but is not ashamed of her appearance and even poses for pictures without hair. And although stress sometimes triggers hair loss in people with alopecia, Martell's hair has actually started to grow lately. She said she will have to shave her head in order to attach her pageant wig properly!

Phone Thief Responded to Call from Police

Brian Westerfield approached a man in a Nampa, Idaho Walmart store who had just bought a smartphone. He grabbed the phone and fled. He was gone when police arrived, but investigators hatched a plan to call the thief. A police officer called the stolen phone and offered to buy the smartphone. They haggled over the price and then arranged to meet for the sale. When Westerfield arrived at the meeting place and realized he has been set up, he tried to run but fell flat on his face. It apparently never occurred to Westerfield to wonder how his potential buyer got the phone number when he didn't yet know it himself.

Scooby to the Rescue

Augustin Zamora was walking his Great Dane named Scooby in Chicago Thursday afternoon. Meanwhile, another man was following a 14-year-old girl.

The girl had just gotten off a Diversey Avenue bus near the 2800 block of North Whipple street and was walking home when she noticed a man following her, the Chicago Tribune reported. The man grabbed her as she ran up the stairs to her home, threw her to the ground and began to undress her.

Startled when Scooby and Zamora approached them, the attacker ran into an alley at George Street where he was corner by the team until police arrived.

Police charged 28-year-old Larry Smith with criminal sexual assault.

Intruder Found Napping in Coffin

An unnamed man broke into a funeral parlor in Vienna, Austria, found a bottle of wine, drank it, and fell asleep in a coffin, where proprietor Heinrich Altbart found him in the morning! The undertaker took a picture of the 25-year-old intruder asleep in the coffin and notified police. Albart said the intruder cause "substantial damage" to the funeral director's office door. There's no word on what the intruder was actually looking for in the building

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London's Sewer-Blocking 'Fatbergs' Are Going to Be Turned Into Biodiesel
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iStock

UK officials can't exactly transform the Whitechapel fatberg—a 143-ton trash mass lurking in London's sewer system—into treasure, but they can turn it into fuel. As The Guardian reports, Scottish biodiesel producer Argent Energy plans to convert parts of the noxious blockage into an environmentally friendly energy source.

For the uninitiated, fatbergs (which get their names from a portmanteau of "fat" and "icebergs") are giant, solid blobs of congealed fat, oil, grease, wet wipes, and sanitary products. They form in sewers when people dump cooking byproducts down drains, or in oceans when ships release waste products like palm oil. These sticky substances combine with floating litter to form what could be described as garbage heaps on steroids.

Fatbergs wash up on beaches, muck up city infrastructures, and are sometimes even removed with cranes from sewer pipes as a last resort. Few—if any—fatbergs, however, appear to be as potentially lethal as the one workers recently discovered under London's Whitechapel neighborhood. In a news release, private utility company Thames Water described the toxic mass as "one of the largest ever found, with the extreme rock-solid mass of wet wipes, nappies, fat and oil weighing the same as 11 double-decker buses."

Ick factor aside, the Whitechapel fatberg currently blocks a stretch of Victorian sewer more than twice the length of two fields from London's Wembley Stadium. Engineers with jet hoses are working seven days a week to break up the fatberg before sucking it out with tankers. But even with high-pressure streams, the job is still akin to "trying to break up concrete," says Matt Rimmer, Thames Water's head of waste networks.

The project is slated to end in October. But instead of simply disposing of the Whitechapel fatberg, officials want to make use of it. Argent Energy—which has in the past relied on sources like rancid mayonnaise and old soup stock—plans to process fatberg sludge into more than 2600 gallons of biodiesel, creating "enough environmentally friendly energy to power 350 double-decker Routemaster buses for a day," according to Thames Water.

"Even though they are our worst enemy, and we want them dead completely, bringing fatbergs back to life when we do find them in the form of biodiesel is a far better solution for everyone," said company official Alex Saunders.

In addition to powering buses, the Whitechapel fatberg may also become an unlikely cultural touchstone: The Museum of London is working with Thames Water to acquire a chunk of the fatberg, according to BBC News. The waste exhibit will represent just one of the many challenges facing cities, and remind visitors that they are ultimately responsible for the fatberg phenomenon.

"When it comes to preventing fatbergs, everyone has a role to play," Rimmer says. "Yes, a lot of the fat comes from food outlets, but the wipes and sanitary items are far more likely to be from domestic properties. The sewers are not an abyss for household rubbish."

[h/t The Guardian]

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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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