The Weird Week in Review

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Ground Zero at the Maya Apocalypse

The town of Bugarach, France, was reported to be the safest place on earth for the Maya Apocalypse. The officials of the village of about 200 said they didn't want to be flooded with refugees, but it turns out they were overrun with journalists instead.

It took jet-lagged correspondents about five minutes after arriving in town to realise that their end-of-the-world report would look as bleak as a rural French village in winter. Which, by the way, is exactly what Bugarach is. Their editors in New York, Tokyo, Berlin, Istanbul or London were definitely not going to be happy with endless footage of TV crews roaming helplessly in the otherwise empty streets of Bugarach, the rocky outpost in southwest France that doomsday prophets inspired by an ancient Mayan calendar have designated as the sole survivor of the impending apocalypse.

Journalists were even thwarted in their mission when the town's mayor did not show up for a press conference. Only one "doomsday prophet" was in residence, Sylvain Durif, who was glad to meet with journalists and receive all the publicity.

Naked Full Moon Grape Harvest

Vintner Mike Hayes of Queensland, Australia, is recreating an ancient ritual to improve his wine. That means picking the grapes under a full moon sans clothing. Records of the technique come from the former Soviet republic of Georgia, and date back 4,000 years. Hayes considers the stunt an experiment, learned as part of a Churchill Fellowship. The nude harvesting will begin in March. Hayes grows dozens of rare alternate varieties of grapes, and his winery was awarded five stars.

Speeding Ticket for an Idling Car

In Baltimore, Maryland, a speeding ticket was issued to Daniel Doty based on a camera trap that noted he was traveling at 38 mph in a 25 mph zone. However, the pictures taken by the camera clearly showed that the car was idling at a stop light, and never moved during the sequence of evidence. The system contractor says each ticket must pass two layers of review, then be examined by a police officer before it is issued -which evidently did not work in this case. The speed camera program has generated $48 million in the past three years. Baltimore and some other areas pay the camera company contractors based on the number of tickets issued, which is prohibited by state law. A Baltimore District Court judge dismissed the case when it came to court.

Driveway Stolen

Rachel L. McCarty of Reddick, Florida, arrived home last week and felt a large bump at the entrance to her driveway. The concrete pavers that made up her driveway were completely gone! A neighbor had seen men digging up the concrete and loading it into a truck, but did not consider it suspicious. Another crew was doing contracted work on a barn on the victim's property, so the witness thought the driveway work was just part of the remodeling. However, when the perpetrator returned two days later to the same neighborhood and began to dismantle another driveway, he was reported by neighbors and arrested.

Zoo Baby

There's a new baby at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo! But there are no cute furry baby pictures released to the media, because this specimen is human. An unnamed 21-year-old woman went into labor as she was visiting the zoo in Syracuse, New York, last Friday morning. Zoo Education Coordinator Liz Schmidt was called to help.

“I honestly didn’t expect her to deliver at the zoo,” Schmidt said this afternoon. “I thought we’d pop her in a wheelchair and she’d be good to go to the hospital.”

It was obvious to Schmidt when she arrived that the baby had other ideas.

The woman had been touring the zoo with a group of five to seven adults and children when she went into labor, Schmidt said. An adult led the children away to go look at the lions, as the woman was giving birth, she said.

Zookeeper Sarah Kohler assisted, while elephant keeper John Moakler took over crowd control. An ambulance was called and took the mother and the newborn baby girl to a hospital.

Toddler Hatches Deadly Snake Eggs

Three-year-old Kyle Cumming of Queensland, Australia, found some interesting eggs in his yard and took them inside. He asked his mom for a container and stashed the eggs in his closet. Several weeks went by, and when Kyle's mother Donna Sim opened the wardrobe on Monday, she found they had hatched -into deadly eastern brown snakes! Of all the known snake species, only the eastern taipan is more deadly. The snakes were still in the container with a lid on, and Sims took the snakes to a wildlife sanctuary, where they were identified. The snakes will be released in a wilderness area. Kyle is a bit disappointed, because he wanted to raise the snakes.

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December 21, 2012 - 5:05am
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