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The Weird Week in Review

Secret Service Aids White House Invaders

A family of ducks walked through the lawn of the White House on Wednesday, though they needed some help doing it. A mother duck broached the perimeter, but the ducklings following her struggled to mount the concrete barrier. Secret Service agents came to the rescue, and lifted the ducklings through a fence. The agents received a round of applause from tourists watching the incident. Apparently, White House security determined the ducklings and their mother were no threat. The caper was captured on video.

Third-grader Gets Jury Duty Notice

Nine-year-old Jacob Clark of South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, received a notice that he was to report to the Orleans District Court on April 18 for jury duty. When his grandmother explained what that meant, Jacob became worried and didn't want to go. Jacob's father, Robby Clark called the jury commission and found that somewhere along the line, Jacob's birth year was listed in official documents as 1982 instead of 2002. The third-grader was relieved to learn he doesn't have to serve this year.

Promotion Leads to Massive Bomb Scare

They obviously did not recall the colossal Mooninite caper of 2007. Convar Deutschland, a German computer company, sent out advertising packages for their data-recovery service to prospective clients in the form of what appeared to be time bombs.

Convar Deutschland thought they had cooked up an exciting way to attract new clients, when they began gluing hard drives to alarm clocks and sending them to companies with a note reading, “Your time is running out.”

They sent out a total of 40 “time bombs” to businesses, shops, a handful of embassies and even the offices of a newspaper group.

But instead of drumming up customers, the stunt caused mayhem as terrified recipients called the police and prompted building evacuations, Berlin paper Tagesspiegel reported on Friday.

The company may have to pay the police for expenses incurred.

Fluorescent Millipedes Discovered on Alcatraz

Scientists using black lights to trace dyed rat bait on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco have found something completely unrelated -and unexpected. They discovered millipedes that glow under black light beams. There are known bioluminescent millipede species in California, but the glowing mechanism of the Alcatraz millipedes appears to be different. Scientists are studying them to determine whether they are a new subspecies. And to answer your question, yes, they isolated a sample of the millipedes to make sure they weren't glowing because they had eaten the rat bait.

Woman Cheats Drug Test; Fails

Mischelle Lindy Salzgeber, of Dade City, Florida, had to undergo a drug test because she is on probation. Knowing she would fail, Salzgeber had a plan to use someone else's urine instead of her own. As she went through a full-body scan, an x-ray revealed she had a small bottle hidden in her vagina. Salzgeber was questioned and eventually admitted that she had smuggled urine in the bottle for her drug test, which had already taken place. However, even if she hadn't been caught, she would have failed the drug test, because the smuggled urine was not the clean sample she though it was!

Pet Lizard Undergoing Chemotherapy

Lizzie Griffiths, of Purley, Greater London, England, adopted George the bearded dragon from a shelter a year ago despite the fact that he was ill from a chest infection. She nursed the lizard back to health, but then he developed a tumor on his face. Griffiths had the cancer removed twice, but it came back again. Now the lizard is getting chemotherapy treatment -the first bearded dragon to have such treatment in the UK. Griffiths has spent £3,000 on veterinary services so far -and must drive George 200 miles every day for his appointments. Griffiths doesn't mind the expense, because she is devoted to her dragon.

UFO Fragment Lands in Siberia

An unidentified piece of metal fell from the sky over Siberia, according to Russian media reports. Locals from the village of Otradnesnky dragged the U-shaped metal fragment from the forest where it was found. Authorities confiscated the object soon after. A representative of the Russian space agency says the metal did not come from a rocket or missile. Experts assured villagers that the object is not radioactive. There is speculation that it may be a piece of a rocket from a launch from Kazakhstan.

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Kevin Burkett, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
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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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Hulton Archive/Getty Images
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The Long, Strange Story of Buffalo Bill's Corpse
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

You probably know William Frederick Cody, a.k.a. Buffalo Bill, as the long-haired Wild West icon who turned the frontier experience into rip-roarin’ entertainment. But the story of Buffalo Bill’s body and its many burials is almost as outrageous as the man himself.

When Cody died of kidney failure in January 1917, his body ended up on a mountain outside of Denver, Colorado—a counterintuitive choice given his close ties to the town in Wyoming that bore his last name. Cody, Wyoming was founded in the 1890s with help from Buffalo Bill, who employed many of its residents and was responsible for its tourism business. It might seem natural that he’d be buried in the place he’d invested so much in, but he wasn’t. And that’s where the controversy began.

Though Cody spent much of his time in the town named after him, he also loved Colorado. After leaving his family in Kansas when he was just 11 to work with wagon trains throughout the West, he headed to Colorado for the first time as a 13-year-old wannabe gold prospector. During his short time in the area, he chased the glittery fortunes promised by Colorado’s 1859 gold rush. Even after leaving the territory, his traveling vaudeville show, which brought a glamorous taste of Wild West life to people all over the United States, took him back often. Later in life, he frequently visited Denver, where his sister lived. He died there, too—after telling his wife he wanted to be buried on Lookout Mountain.

The mountain, located in Golden, Colorado, has a commanding view of the Great Plains, where Buffalo Bill experienced many of his Wild West adventures. It was also a place to contemplate the giant herds of buffalo that once roamed the West, and from whom Cody took his nickname. (Denver still maintains a small herd of buffalo—direct descendants of original American bison—near the mountain.)

But weather almost thwarted Cody’s burial plans. Since he died in January, the road to Lookout Mountain was impassable and his preferred burial site frozen solid. For a while, his body lay in state in the Colorado Capitol building. Governors and famous friends eulogized Cody in an elaborate funeral service. Then his body was placed in a carriage that moved solemnly through the streets of Denver, where thousands showed up to say goodbye. Afterwards, his body was kept in cold storage at a Denver mortuary while his family waited for the weather to change.

Meanwhile, Colorado and Wyoming started a heated feud over one of America’s most famous men. Wyoming claimed that Cody should be buried there, citing an early draft of his will that said he intended to be buried near Cody. Colorado cried foul, since Cody’s last will left the burial location up to his widow, who chose Lookout Mountain. Rumors even began to circulate that a delegation from Wyoming had stolen Cody’s body from the mortuary and replaced it with that of a local vagrant.

In part to stop the rumor mill, Cody was finally buried in an open casket on Lookout Mountain in June 1917. Twenty-five thousand people went to the mountaintop to bid him farewell before he was interred. To prevent theft, the bronze casket was sealed in another, tamper-proof case, then enclosed in concrete and iron.

Pennies on Buffalo Bill's grave
V.T. Polywoda, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Yet his rocky grave was anything but safe. In the 1920s, Cody’s niece, Mary Jester Allen, began to claim that Denver had conspired to tamper with Cody’s will. In response, Cody’s foster son, Johnny Baker, disinterred the body and had it reburied at the same site under tons of concrete to prevent potential theft [PDF]. (Allen also founded a museum in Wyoming to compete with a Colorado-based museum founded by Baker.)

The saga wasn’t over yet. In 1948, the Cody, Wyoming American Legion offered a $10,000 reward to anyone who could disinter the body and return it to Wyoming. In response, the Colorado National Guard stationed officers to keep watch over the grave.

Since then, the tussle over the remains has calmed down. Despite a few ripples—like a jokey debate in the Wyoming legislature about stealing the body in 2006—Buffalo Bill still remains in the grave. If you believe the official story, that is. In Cody, Wyoming, rumor has it that he never made it into that cement-covered tomb after all—proponents claim he was buried on Cedar Mountain, where he originally asked to be interred.

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