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Daily Mail

The Weird Week in Review

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Daily Mail

GPS Lands Belgian Woman in Croatia

Sabine Moreau left her home in Solre-sur-Sambre, Belgium, for trip to Brussels, about 38 miles away. But the 67-year-old ended up in Zagreb, Croatia -900 miles away!

Despite crossing five borders and seeing multiple-language traffic signs, she did not stop to question her sat-nav until two days later when she realised that she may not be in Belgium any more.

Although she stopped to refuel her car several times, Ms Moreau did not think her TomTom could be leading her down the wrong path.

Moreau's son had already reported her missing by the time she called home to say she was in Zagreb. 

Motorist Arrests Policeman for Driving Drunk

Russell George was driving in Prestbury, South Africa, when he noticed a police van swerving. The officer would come to a stop and start off again, leading George to believe the driver was drunk. The van came to a stop and George called police, but when they did not arrive within a few minutes, he approached the officer, smelled alcohol, pulled the policeman out of the car and locked him up in the back of the van! The inebriated police officer was arrested and his firearm was taken away. There had been a report earlier that same evening of the cop pulling a gun on his girlfriend at a nightclub, and a motor vehicle collision in which witnesses reported a police van that had left the scene. The unnamed  officer did not deny being drunk.     

Smurfs Arrested for Assault

First it was Oomps-Loompas, then came Smurfs. Four men painted blue and dressed as Smurfs entered a store in Pascoe Vale, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia.

A 37-year-old Pascoe Vale man was buying cigarettes at a convenience store when he was approached by a man painted blue and dressed as a character from the 1980s cartoon show, police say.

The Smurf asked for a cigarette and was offered one, but he demanded the man light the cigarette before handing it over.

The man refused and was later assaulted.

Police appealed to the public and asked the four men to come forward. Three unidentified 19-year-men and one 18-year-old turned themselves in, and will be charged with "assault-related offences."

Fire Breaks Out During Surgery

A fire started in an upstairs dishwasher at Medivet veterinary clinic in Southend, Essex, England. When the Essex Fire and Rescue Service arrived, they found a vet performing surgery on a dog. The crew determined that the surgery could continue, with a little help. Firefighters battled the blaze and evacuated other animals, and also protected the operating room until the surgery could be completed. They used a high pressure fan to ventilate the operating area. The fire was brought under control in a half hour, and the animals were taken to another clinic.

$4,000 Golden Vibrator Stolen

An armed man entered a luxury sex shop in Brazil, tied up the clerk, and took only one item: an 18-carat gold-plated vibrator with a retail price of $4,000. He neglected to take the charger. The store owner said the thief would have a difficult time removing the gold plating, as the vibrator has a stainless steel core. Besides, the value of the item as stolen goods is questionable. If it was meant to be a gift, the lack of a charger might raise suspicions.

Cat Survives 1,700 Miles Under Train

Polly the cat was found after riding 1,700 miles around England and Wales in the undercarriage of a train. It is thought that she stayed in the undercarriage for at least two days in fear after badly mangling her front limb. Train manager Emily Mahoney-Smith found her when she heard meows on a stop on the way to Cornwall. Taken to a veterinary clinic, the cat was almost put down until the vet scanned for a microchip and found one from a cattery in Plymouth, where Polly's owners had adopted her a couple of years before. Arthur and Louisa Westington hadn't seen Polly in three weeks, and didn't even know she had been microchipped. They gave permission for the cat's limb to be amputated. Polly is now recovering nicely, and will be taken home soon.     

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In Pursuit of Guinness Fame, Two Men Ride the Entire Boston Subway System in Record-Setting Time
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Two intrepid commuters may have ridden the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) all the way into the Guinness World Records, according to The Boston Globe. On Friday, August 18, locals Alex Cox and Dominic DiLuzio visited every single stop in the city's subway system (more than 125 stations) in a little under 7.5 hours. The record they hope to snag—completing the journey in the fastest time possible— is both unofficial and brand-new, but the two hope to make it an official Guinness World Record category once they submit photos, videos, a log book, and other documentation.

DiLuzio conceived the stunt more than two years ago, after learning of another Beantown resident who completed the challenge in about 8 hours, simply for bragging rights. Cox, who works for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, was fair game for the project, so DiLuzio recruited him as a partner after submitting an application to Guinness.

On August 18, after months of planning, DiLuzio and Cox woke up bright and early to board a 5:24 a.m. Red Line train at Alewife Station. Amid much jostling, running, bladder-holding, and live-tweeting, the duo finished the entire Red Line in just 90 minutes, before tackling the Mattapan, Orange, Green, and Blue lines. During the final stretch of the trip, the record-seekers were joined by some MBTA officials, according to New England Cable News.

Right before 1 p.m., DiLuzio and Cox reached the Blue Line’s Wonderland stop, signaling the end of their journey. There, they celebrated the ride—which was reportedly around 15 minutes shorter than their predecessor's attempt—with friends, MBTA officials, and media.

“I think everything went incredibly smoothly. We didn’t have any major delays, any breakdowns,” Cox said, according to CBS Boston. "A couple of hiccups here and there, but we stuck exactly to our plan and I can’t believe we did it in the time that we did."

In a few months, DiLuzio and Cox will find out if their subway hustle scored them a Guinness Record, placing them among company like lawyer Matthew Ahn, who rode all 469 New York City subway stops in under 22 hours. In the meantime, the MBTA—which didn’t sponsor or help plan the effort—is cheering the duo on.

[h/t The Boston Globe]

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Thanks to a Royalties Dispute, Spain’s Smurf Village Will Soon Be No More

For the past six years, tourists in Spain who were tired of Gaudí could head to the town of Júzcar, a tiny spot nestled high in the Andalusian mountains, for a high dose of lowbrow design. In 2011, the town’s buildings were painted bright blue to promote The Smurfs 3D movie, as part of a publicity scheme orchestrated by Sony Pictures. But now, thanks to a nasty royalties dispute, Atlas Obscura reports that Júzcar can no longer market itself as a Smurf-themed town.

Sony Pictures reportedly chose to give Júzcar a Smurfy makeover because its surrounding hills are filled with mushrooms. (Smurfs loooove mushrooms.) Technically, the cartoonish color scheme—which was achieved by covering homes, churches, and even gravestones with thousands of liters of blue paint—was supposed to be only temporary. But regional unemployment was high, and as the tourists began flooding in, Júzcar’s residents voted to keep the village’s new look instead of whitewashing its buildings back to their original pale hue. They played up the Smurfs theme by erecting sculptures and murals, orchestrating themed events, and even dressing up like Smurfs themselves. Soon, the pastoral town was attracting up to 80,000 sightseers per year, according to The Independent.

However, Júzcar’s tourism gimmick hasn't gone over well with the descendants of Pierre Culliford, the Belgian artist who once worked under the pseudonym Peyo. Culliford created the Smurf comics in 1958, so Júzcar officials had agreed to pay 12 percent on all Smurf-related royalties to his estate. Now the deal appears to have soured: The town’s council recently released an online statement informing potential visitors that Júzcar has now “lost the authorization to market itself as a Smurf town.” (The notice has since been removed from the website.)

It's unclear what precisely went down between Culliford's relatives and the Júzcar town council—but as of August 15, 2017, the town will have no more Smurf statues, Smurf-themed weddings, Smurf impersonators, or mushroom-capped public kiosks. Still, Júzcar will remain blue, according to The Local. This means the town may still serve as a magnet for novelty-loving tourists for years to come—even they can no longer take a selfie with Papa Smurf.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

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