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The Weird Week in Review

Drunken Moose Hides Swing Set in Tree

A family in Storebro, Sweden arrived home one night to find evidence of a wildlife party. Apples were strewn over the backyard, and the children's swing set was missing. Sweden has a problem with moose (called elk in Europe) this time of year, because the animals eat fermented apples and become drunk. The homeowner called police, who brought in a hunter to find the inebriated moose. The perpetrator was never located, but the family's swing set was eventually found in the woods, propped up in a tree about 500 feet from its original spot.

Booked Hotel is 12,000 Miles Away

South Africans Michael and Sunette Adendorff went to New Zealand, but had trouble finding the Majestic Hotel, where they had made reservations. They inquired at a chemist's shop for help, but found there is no hotel at all in the town of Eastbourne. Shop assistant Linda Burke looked at their paperwork and realized the hotel they wanted was on the other side of the globe! The internet reservations were for the Majestic Hotel in Eastbourne, Sussex, England instead of Eastbourne, New Zealand. Burke looked for accommodations for the couple, but as all the bed and breakfasts were full, she invited them to stay at her home. The Adendorffs were unable to get a refund on the hotel due to short notice, but they enjoyed their stay in the small New Zealand town.

Eel Removed from Man's Bladder

Warning: this story may be painful to read. A man from Honghu, Hubei province, China went to a spa to swim with eels, a treatment that is supposed to rejuvenate the skin as the eels nibble on dead skin cells. Instead, one of the eels slithered up Zhang Nan's urethra! Zhang tried to catch it, but the slippery animal disappeared into his penis. The man rushed himself to a hospital, where surgeons removed a dead 6-inch eel from his bladder. The operation lasted three hours.

Slug Stops Traffic

How does a common garden slug bring traffic to a standstill? It happened in Darlington, England last Friday morning. Traffic lights went out and a contractor was brought in to repair the control box. They fund a slug had gotten into the controls and short-circuited them. Councillor Chris McEwan said he'd received many complaints about the traffic lights.

"A slug was certainly the last thing I was expecting to have caused the problem.

“We do not know how long the slug had been there.

Unfortunately, it was dead by the time we found it, so we were unable to question it.

“Sadly, you just can’t legislate for a rogue slug trying to take out Darlington’s traffic system.”

The control box will be sealed to keep other critters out.

Oversized Man Sues White Castle for Undersized Seats

Martin Kessman of Nanuet, New York filed suit against the local White Castle outlet after two years of complaints about the size of their dining booths. Kessman weighs 290 pounds, and has a hard time fitting between the seats and the table. The seats are stationary and cannot be adjusted by the customers. Kessman said his complaints were answered with three “very condescending letters" and food coupons. He said the company sent him plans to change the seats, which never happened.

Colorado Cat Found Years Later in NYC

Chris and Jamie Squires lived in Broomfield, Colorado with their children and a cat named Willow. When Willow went missing, they posted notices, but eventually figured the cat had been killed by coyotes. That was in late 2006 or early 2007. The Squires later moved to Boulder. On Wednesday, they got a call from the company that had implanted a microchip in their cat years earlier. Willow had been found in New York City! Willow, picked up on 20th street and taken to a shelter where her microchip was scanned, appears healthy, but there is no clue how she got to New York or where she has been for the past five years. The cat is staying with a foster family in New York until travel can be arranged.

Clean Your Plate or Else

A restaurant in Dammam, Saudi Arabia has instituted a new policy that fines people if they order more than they can eat. Fahad Al Anezi, owner of the Marmar Restaurant, says that some customers order far more than necessary to impress their guests and boost their prestige, leading to wasted food. The amount of the fine will be decided according to what's left over. He says the new idea was met with approval by Saudis.

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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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