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The Weird Week in Review

Man Jailed for Tortilla Dough

Antonio Hernandez Carranza drove from Carson, California, to visit his sister in Johnson City, Tennessee. He missed an exit and ended up in Asheville, North Carolina. There, he was arrested and sent to jail for driving while intoxicated and cocaine possession, among other charges. Carranza said he was sleepy and the powder police found in his trunk was part of a shipment of food he was taking to his sister, which included cheese, shrimp, and dough for tortillas and tamales. After four days in jail under a $300,000 bond, police determined that Carranza had not been drinking, and did not possess 91 pounds of cocaine as they had thought. All but one misdemeanor charge was dropped and the traveler was released, but the food is gone, and Carranza cannot afford to redeem his truck from the impound lot.

Leg Reattached Backward

Dugan Smith of Fostoria, Ohio, was ten years old when he was diagnosed with bone cancer. After chemotherapy, his leg was removed, but part of it was reattached -backward!

Known as a rotationplasty, his surgery involved removing a large section of his right leg that surrounded the tumour - from below his knee to about mid-thigh - then reattaching the lower limb to the shortened upper thigh.

The twist, so to speak, is that Dugan's lower leg was rotated 180 degrees and sewn on backwards.

His ankle now acts as his knee, his calf has replaced the lower part of his thigh and his backwards-facing foot slips into a prosthetic and powers the reversed muscles and joint with an up-and-down motion.

It took 18 months of physical therapy for Dugan to learn a new way to use his leg. Now 13, he is playing baseball again.

Batman Arrested on Rooftop

Police in Petoskey, Michigan, responded to a call and found Batman hanging over the edge of a 30-foot-tall building. Officers pulled the caped crusader back onto the roof, and unmasked him to find 31-year-old local resident Mark Wayne Williams. Williams was searched, and police found a telescoping steel baton, a spray can of chemical irritant, and lead-lined gloves in his utility belt. Williams was arrested for public disturbance and carrying concealed weapons. At his arraignment hearing the next day, Williams said he was not aware that the items were illegal. This is not Williams' first brush with the law.

Man Goes Home Somewhere Else

According to police, Mark C. Sirben of Spring Hill, Florida, was so drunk that he went home, made himself a snack, and passed out on the couch. But it wasn't his home. It wasn't even in Spring Hill -the home was in Palm Harbor! The sleeping woman who actually lived there heard someone coughing in the middle of the night. When she found Sirben, a complete stranger, she woke her husband. Sirben argued that he lived there before he passed out again. Pinellas County Deputies responded, and found Sirben still asleep on the couch, a plate of food beside him. The couple found food in a frying pan they had not prepared. Sirben, who has a record of DUI convictions, was jailed for trespassing and criminal mischief.

Cat Spends a Week Alone in Camper after Wreck

New Yorker Ann Laubacker wrecked the family camper in Charleston, South Carolina, on the trip home from Florida. Neither she nor her mother were hurt, but they were traveling with several pets. They recovered all but two cats, one of which was seen in the nearby woods. The other, an 11-year-old cat named Spencer, was still missing. A week later, an insurance adjuster took a look at the damaged camper and found Spencer, still hiding. He was dehydrated after a week alone, but with veterinary care, is expected to recover completely.

Man Walks Through Peanut Butter Art Exhibit

A museum in Rotterdam, Netherlands, has an art installation that consists of peanut butter covering 14 square meters of the floor. The smooth peanut butter "carpet" has no fence around it because museum directors believe it would detract from the art. You can guess it would be easy for a visitor to walk into it -and that's exactly what happened.

Bemused tourists watched as the man sank into the 1100 litres of peanut butter - enough to fill more than 2000 regular-sized jars. He has been asked to pay for the damage after leaving a trail of footprints.

"It is normal that people pay if they damage the art," spokeswoman Sharon Cohen told the Rotterdam-based newspaper.

The pricey installation - created by the artist Wim T. Schippers in 1962 and known as the Peanut Butter Platform - has suffered similar mishaps in the past.

He was the third person to step into the exhibit.

Schoolboy Wears Skirt to Protest Discrimination

The rules as Impington Village College near Cambridge, England state that shorts are not allowed, but skirts are. Boys were roasting in long pants, while girls bared their legs in cooler skirts. So 12-year-old Chris Whitehead dressed for the weather -in a skirt. He went to school and addressed an assembly in a knee-length skirt, which is part of the approved uniform. Rules that ban sex discrimination mans the school cannot prevent a boy from wearing a skirt. Chris' parents are proud of their eight-grader for standing up for what he believes in. Only time will tell if the school will begin to allow shorts, or if more boys will wear skirts to stay cool.

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This Just In
Workers in Quebec City Discover Potentially Live Cannonball Dating Back to the French and Indian War
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Lafontaine Inc.

Quebec City is famous today for its old-world European charm, but a construction crew recently discovered a living relic of the city’s military past: a potentially explosive cannonball, dating all the way back to the French and Indian War.

As Smithsonian reports, workers conducting a building excavation in Old Quebec—the city’s historic center—last week unearthed the 200-pound metal ball at the corner of Hamel and Couillard streets. They posed for pictures before contacting municipal authorities, and archaeologist Serge Rouleau was sent in to collect the goods.

Initially, nobody—including Rouleau—knew that the rusty military artifact still posed a threat to city residents. But after the archaeologist toted the cannonball home in a trailer, he noticed a rusty hole through the center of the shell. This made him fear that the projectile was still loaded with gunpowder.

Rouleau contacted the Canadian military, which deployed bomb disposal specialists to collect the cannonball. They moved it to a secure location, where it will reportedly be either neutralized or destroyed. If the cannonball itself can be saved as a historic relic, it might be displayed in a museum.

“With time, humidity got into its interior and reduced its potential for exploding, but there’s still a danger,” munitions technician Sylvain Trudel told the CBC. “Old munitions like this are hard to predict … You never know to what point the chemicals inside have degraded.”

Experts believe that the cannonball was fired at Quebec City from Lévis, across the St. Lawrence River, during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. This battle occurred on September 13, 1759, during the French and Indian War, when invading British troops defeated French forces in a key battle just outside Quebec City. Ultimately, the clash helped lead to Quebec’s surrender.

[h/t Smithsonian]

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Weird
Sponge-Like Debris Is Washing Up on France’s Beaches, and No One Knows What It Is
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The shores of northern France are normally a picturesque spot for a barefoot stroll. That was until mid-July of this year, when walking down the beach without stepping on a spongy, yellow blob became impossible. As Gizmodo reports, foam-like objects washed up by the tide have covered close to 20 miles of French coastline over the course of a few days.

Unlike the boulder-sized "fatbergs" sometimes found on the beaches of Britain or the snowballs that crowded Siberian beaches last November, the spongy invasion has no known source. Experts have ruled out both organic sponges found in the ocean and polyurethane foam made by people. Jonathan Hénicart, president of Sea-Mer, a French nonprofit that fights beach pollution, told La Voix du Nord, "When you touch it, it's a bit greasy. It's brittle but not easily crumbled. It has no specific odor […] We do not know if it's toxic [so] it should not be touched."

The northern coast of France borders the English Channel, a waterway that welcomes hundreds of commercial ships every day. Strange cargo is constantly falling overboard and washing up on shore. Since the sponges resemble nothing found in nature or an artificial material that's commonly known, it's possible they're a combination of both. They could be a type of foam, for instance, made out of seawater and air bound together with a substance like soap or fertilizer.

Experts won't be able to verify what the mess is made of until the Cedre Association, an organization that studies hydrocarbon pollution, analyzes samples collected from the beach. That process should take about a week. In the meantime, French officials are working to clear the coastline while assuring the public the phenomenon doesn't pose a threat to their health. Nonetheless, beachgoers in northern France should think twice before kicking off their flip-flops.

[h/t Gizmodo]

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