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The Weird Week in Review

Man Shoots Store Over Crawfish

Larry Wayne Kelly of Ensley, Florida, found he could not buy crawfish from a seafood market on Sunday evening because they were out of stock. He had called the L&T Seafood Market just before closing time at five. Kelly apparently became upset, and continued to call the business many times after they closed. At about 7PM, police were called to investigate shots fired in the neighborhood. After a car chase, they found Kelly with several loaded firearms in his vehicle. They also found eleven bullet holes in the seafood market building. Kelly asserted that he is a “sovereign citizen” and not subject to the law, but he was arrested anyway on 27 felony charges.

Horse Herpes Forces Rodeo Queens to Ride Stick Ponies

An outbreak of equine herpes virus is causing havoc on the rodeo and show horse circuit. Normally, the contestants in the Davis County Sheriff's Mounted Posse Junior Queen Contest in Utah ride horses as they compete, but this year rode stick ponies instead. The competition is a little tougher as the horses will not being doing any of the work. The stick pony competition tests how well the riders know the routine. Although not sexually transmitted, equine herpes is highly contagious among horses, incurable, and can be fatal.

Police Shoot Concrete Alligator

Three policemen in Independence, Missouri spotted an alligator on a lawn. They lined up and got two shots into the alligator before they realized it was made of concrete. Homeowner Rick Sheridan heard the shots from his garage and went around to find the policemen shooting at his lawn ornament. Sheridan plans to patch up the damaged alligator.

Credit Card Found 25 Years Later -Underwater!

John Krayeski of West Palm Beach, Florida, was spear fishing in the waters off Singer Island, specifically at an artificial reef called the Triangle. A responsible diver, he often picks up trash he sees underwater. On this trip, he picked up an old JC Penney credit card. Back on land, he read the name on the card: Jack Jacobs. He knew the name, as Krayeski's construction business had built an addition at Jacob's home. Jacobs' wife told Krayeski that they never had a card from JC Penney, but later Jack Jacobs called and said he'd lost that card 25 years ago, before he was ever married! However, he had no idea how it ended up a mile out at sea.

"I told John I'm going to drop another credit card in the ocean and he has 25 years to find it."

"Make it a gold American Express and I'll find it a lot sooner," Krayeski said.

Bank Robbers Dressed as Nuns

It was a scene modeled after a bank robbery depicted in the movie The Town as two people dressed a nuns robbed the West Englewood branch of TCF bank in Palos Heights, Illinois, Sunday afternoon. They jumped over the counter and forced two employees into the vault where they packed a duffel bag with an undisclosed amount of money. No shots were fired. The two "nuns," later described as a white male and a white female, fled in a silver Chevrolet. The bank was open as usual on Monday. The robbers' disguises were surprising, but even more astonishing is the fact that a bank was open not only on Sunday, but also on a Monday holiday!

Is the Yellow Brick Road in Peekskill?

When L. Frank Baum wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, could the yellow brick road have been inspired by a road in Peekskill, New York? City historian John Curran thinks so, and has done the research. Baum attended Peekskill Military Academy in 1868, when he was 12 years old.

In 2005, a Fulbright scholar and artist persuaded John Testa, who was the mayor of Peekskill at the time, to conduct an authenticity study on the road. Mr. Curran uncovered maps showing that West Street, which leads from the steamboat dock up a hill to the military academy, was indeed made of Dutch pavers, a common yellow-hued brick in the Dutch-settled area.

The maps showed Mr. Baum had to have walked along the road to get to school, Mr. Curran said.

Only a small part of the road is still brick. Curran would like to restore the road, or build a monument of some sort to Oz, but the city does not have the money for such a project.

Stolen 59" TV Transported on Bicycle

Police in South Daytona, Florida, though something looked suspicious when they spotted 23-year-old Steven Long riding a bike with a 59" television wedged between his lap and the handlebars. The rider fled when he saw the cops, and later abandoned both the bike and the TV set. He was arrested in a residential yard after a short chase. Long told police that he had been given the set to settle a debt, and that he ran because "he doesn't like police." Meanwhile, a burglary was reported in which a 59" TV was taken. The victims identified the set, which they had only purchased a week before, but was retrieved broken beyond repair.

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