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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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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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