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The Weird Week in Review

Drunk Driver Speeds in Wrong Direction

Victims of near-misses say it was a miracle that no one was hurt when a woman drove 18 miles north in the southbound lane of Washington State's I-5 expressway. Pamela Drawsby of Olympia, Washington, was arrested after police set a spike strip to stop her vehicle. She was observed driving up to 100 miles per hour at 2AM -against all oncoming traffic. Amazingly, there were no collisions as other drivers swerved to avoid the northbound vehicle. The 60-year-old Drawsby was found to be intoxicated on a combination of alcohol and prescription medication.

Sweden's Silliest Place Names

We've read about strange and sometimes embarrassing place names in Britain and the U.S., but English-speaking tourists often don't know when a place name in another language is, shall we say, unusual. Thanks to the English-language site The Local, we have translations for the strangest-named places in Sweden.

People outside Uppsala, for example, can take a stroll in the terrain of Djupröven (Deep Arse), and outside Gothenburg one can enjoy a swim in any of the Yellow, Small or Big Arse lakes (Gula Röven, Lilla Röven, Stora Röven).

A somewhat cuter name but still perhaps not the first pick to put on your resumé, is Kattsjärten in Värmland. The Local's translation for this (hopefully) unusual name is Cat's Bottom.

But that's just the beginning. Check out Sex Swamp, Snot Bog, and more.

Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-Bop Arrested

A 30-year-old man in Madison, Wisconsin found a way to get his 15 minutes of fame. Jeffrey Drew Wilschke had legally changed his name in October to Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-Bop. That makes a great headline in itself, but Zopittybop-Bop-Bop was arrested last Thursday after neighbors complained of "excessive drug use." Police recorded quite a few charges, including carrying a concealed weapon, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana, and probation violations. When Zopittybop-Bop-Bop was taken into custody, he told police he would "get even with them."

Couple Married for 86 Years

Karam and Kartari Chand of Bradford, England, recently celebrated their 86th wedding anniversary. They married when Kartari was just 13 and Karam was 20. According to passport information, Karam is now 106 years old and his wife is 99. They married in 1925, and now believe they could be the longest-married couple in the United Kingdom. The couple lives with one of their eight children. The Chands also have 27 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren.

Don't Pay Your Taxes, Get "Dumped"

Authorities in Patna, the capital of Bihar state in India, thought they had found an appropriate punishment for a shop owner who owed back taxes. They sent three truckloads of garbage to be dumped in front of Avinash Kumar's store! Kumar owed the local government 164,000 rupees ($3,175). Neighboring business owners complained about the smell, and municipal workers later retrieved the garbage. After the public outcry, city officials say they do not intend to use this method of punishment again.

New Clue in Glenn Miller's Disappearance

As a young man in the 1940s, Richard Anderton watched planes as a hobby. In small notebooks, he jotted down details of all the planes he observed overhead Woodley, Reading, England, at the airfield where he worked. A recently-discovered entry shows that Anderton had observed the plane that carried bandleader Glenn Miller on December 15, 1944, on a flight to France from Bedfordshire when it disappeared. No one knows what happened to the plane to this day, but Atherton's notebook confirms part of the path it took.

It was not until his brother, 77-year-old Sylvan Anderton, brought the books into the BBC's Antiques Roadshow TV programme 67 years later that the entry came to light.

"I'd had them for about 28 years and really didn't do anything about it," said Mr Anderton, who grew up in Reading but now lives in Bideford, Devon.

"I knew there was a connection because he'd cut out an article from the Daily Express in 1969 about Glenn Miller's disappearance and he'd put it in the pages in the notebook for 15 December 1944."

The Glenn Miller Archive at Colorado University has confirmed the new information, and will include it in their official report.

Man Rescued from Sewer Faces More Trouble

An unnamed man in the town of Montmélian, France, dropped his wallet into a sewer opening in a parking garage and went to retrieve it. He then became stuck, with his head in the pipe and his legs sticking out of the manhole. The man spent the entire night like that until a passer-by called emergency services in the morning. After he was rescued, police figured out what he was doing when it happened. The man didn't have the chance to hide the fact that he had been draining the oil from his car into the the sewer. This is a form of pollution that could bring a fine of up to €76,000 ($97,000) and two years in prison.

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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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