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The Weird Week in Review

Arrested for Drunk Driving a Wheelchair

Raymound Kulma of Utica, Michigan, was pulled over by police while cruising in a motorized wheelchair. Police found his blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit, and the wheelchair was stolen. It belonged to James Konkel, with whom Kulma had argued just prior to the arrest. The wheelchair was returned to Konkel. Kulma has a history of drinking and driving.

Cow Proposal

Nathan Evans of Bracknell, England, wanted to ask Angela Olano for her hand in marriage in a way that would be meaningful to her. Olano really likes cows, so Evans contacted the organizers of the South England Show about borrowing a bovine. Catherine Elmes of Costow Farm clipped and bathed her show cow, Rosie, for the event. Then Rosie was fitted with a proposal banner and kept for Olano to find while on an outing with Evans.

The proposal came as a complete surprise to Ms Olano, 21, who thought she was being driven to a pub in the county to celebrate a relative's birthday.

She said: "I like cows, if I could have a cow I would, so I just thought he was going to take me for a walk somewhere to look at cows.

"So I was really amazed but it really means a lot to me. I know Nathan is the man I want to marry."

The wedding is planned for September. No, they will not serve beef at the reception.

Mystery Panties Incinerated

A pair of red and white lady's underpants fell out of someone's briefcase and onto the floor of the Chamber of Deputies during an urgent meeting of five members of the Brazilian Congress. Security guards discretely confiscated the panties. Two weeks later, no one had claimed them, but the story had leaked to Brazilian social media sites. The lost and found department made the decision to burn the underwear to forestall a media circus. One legislator said that there are suspicions over who the panties belong to, but no one in the congress is ready to name names.

Live Fish Lodged in Boy's Lung

Twelve-year-old Anil Barela of Madya Pradesh, India, was taking part in a stunt by a group of boys who were catching fish and swallowing them alive. But in Barela's case, the small fish didn't go down the right way. Instead, he inhaled it into his lung! He was taken to a hospital, choking. Dr. Pramod Jhawar extracted the fish in a 45-minute procedure, while Barela's oxygen level fell. He said the fish was struggling against him as he removed it.

Woman Accidentally Steals Getaway Car

A Houston woman identified only as Blanca was cashing a check at the Chase bank in Uvalde, Texas, when armed bank robbers stormed in. She was so frightened she ran to the first car she saw and drove away. She later found out that she had taken the robbers' getaway vehicle!

She said she drove a few miles from the bank, pulled into a parking lot, fell out of the car and ran into a Cricket store, screaming for help.

But what she didn’t know was, she’d just stolen the suspects’ getaway car – which police said the suspects had stolen from someone else.

"Then, they arrested me, and they said, ‘You’re the one that stole a stolen car.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh my God, it was their car,’" Blanca said.

The FBI cleared Blanca of car theft charges. The robbers carjacked another vehicle and are still at large.

Obese Body Causes Crematorium Fire

A crematorium fire in the city of Graz in southern Austria destroyed the building in April. The cause of the fire has now been released: it was a fat woman. A 440-pound corpse caused the crematorium's filter system to overheat, leading to the blaze. The local fire chief said special facilities should be created to cremate obese bodies.

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Billions of Cockroaches Are Bred in China to Create a ‘Healing Potion’
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Insectophobes would probably agree that any place that breeds billions of cockroaches a year is akin to hell on Earth.

That place actually exists—in the Sichuan Province city of Xichang—but China's government says it's all for a good cause. The indoor farm is tasked with breeding 6 billion creepy-crawlies a year to meet the country's demand for a special "healing potion" whose main ingredient is ground-up roaches.

While there are other cockroach breeding facilities in China that serve the same purpose, the one in Xichang is the world's largest, with a building "the size of two sports fields," according to the South China Morning Post.

The facility is reportedly dark, humid, and fully sealed, with cockroaches given the freedom to roam and reproduce as they please. If, for any odd reason, someone should want to visit the facility, they'd have to swap out their day clothes for a sanitized suit to avoid bringing pollutants or pathogens into the environment, according to Guangming Daily,a government newspaper.

The newspaper article contains a strangely poetic description of the cockroach farm:

"There were very few human beings in the facility. Hold your breath and (you) only hear a rustling sound. Whenever flashlights swept, the cockroaches fled. Wherever the beam landed, there was a sound like wind blowing through leaves. It was just like standing in the depths of a bamboo forest in late autumn."

Less poetic, though, is the description of how the "miracle" potion is made. Once the bugs reach maturity, they are fed into machines and ground up into a cockroach paste. The potion claims to work wonders for stomach pain and gastric ailments, and according to its packaging, it has a "slightly sweet" taste and a "slightly fishy smell."

The provincial government claims that the potion has healed more than 40 million patients, and that the Xichang farm is selling its product to more than 4000 hospitals throughout China. While this may seem slightly off-putting, cockroaches have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years.

Some studies seem to support the potential nutritional benefit of cockroaches. The BBC reported on the discovery that cockroaches produce their own antibiotics, prompting scientists to question whether they could be used in drugs to help eliminate bacterial infections such as E. coli and MRSA.

In 2016, scientists in Bangalore, India, discovered that the guts of one particular species of cockroach contain milk protein crystals that appear to be nutritious, TIME reports. They said the milk crystal could potentially be used as a protein supplement for human consumption, as it packs more than three times the energy of dairy milk.

"I could see them in protein drinks," Subramanian Ramaswamy, a biochemist who led the study, told The Washington Post.

However, as research has been limited, it's unlikely that Americans will start to see cockroach smoothies at their local juice bar anytime soon.

[h/t South China Morning Post]

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Massive Tumbleweeds Invaded a California Town, Trapping Residents in Their Homes
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For Americans who don’t live out west, any mention of tumbleweeds tends to conjure up images of a lone bush blowing lazily across the desert. The reality is not so romantic, as Californians would tell you.

The town of Victorville, California—an 85-mile drive from Los Angeles—was overtaken by massive tumbleweeds earlier this week when wind speeds reached nearly 50 mph. The tumbleweeds blew across the Mojave Desert and into town, where they piled up on residents’ doorsteps. Some stacks towered as high as the second story, trapping residents in their homes, according to the Los Angeles Times.

City employees and firefighters were dispatched to tackle the thorny problem, which reportedly affected about 150 households. Pitchforks were used to remove the tumbleweeds, some of which were as large as 4 feet tall by 4 feet wide.

"The crazy thing about tumbleweeds is that they are extremely thorny, they connect together like LEGOs," Victorville spokeswoman Sue Jones told the Los Angeles Times. "You can't reach out and grab them and move them. You need special tools. They really hurt."

Due to the town’s proximity to the open desert, residents are used to dealing with the occasional tumbleweed invasion. Similar cases have been reported in Texas, New Mexico, and other states in the West and Southwest. In 1989, the South Dakota town of Mobridge had to use machinery to remove 30 tons of tumbleweeds, which had buried homes, according to Metro UK.

Several plant species are considered a tumbleweed. The plant only becomes a nuisance when it reaches maturity, at which time it dries out, breaks from its root, and gets carried off into the wind, spreading seeds as it goes. They’re not just unsightly, either. They can cause soil dryness, leading to erosion and sometimes even killing crops.

[h/t Los Angeles Times]

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