The Weird Week in Review
THERAPY PIG TO GREET TRAVELERS AT AIRPORT
San Francisco International Airport has a team of therapy animals, called the WAG Brigade, to greet weary travelers and help them pass the time for layovers. Their newest member is also the first one that isn't a dog. LiLou is a therapy pig with the necessary training to do the job. She is certified by the Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) Program, which means she is well acquainted with people and open to attention and petting from anyone. She has a repertoire of tricks, and even takes a bow after a performance. LiLou takes a shift at the airport once a month, and may surprise arriving passengers at any time.
SQUIRREL STEALS 150 CHRISTMAS BULBS
Margaret Rican of Seattle has been putting Christmas lights out on her deck for 15 years. This year is different, because the lights keep disappearing! A squirrel has been making off with the bulbs one by one, coming back so often that Rican was able to catch quite a few capers on video.
“This kind of behavior is reported each year as squirrels see the bulbs as similar to an acorn or fruit,” John Koprowski, a University of Arizona professor and noted squirrel expert, told The Huffington Post. “While hard to know if this indicates a difficult winter for food, this behavior is likely just the result of being an industrious squirrel and caching a bounty of potential food to be used over the course of the winter.”
Koprowski says that squirrels usually bury more food than they really need for the winter, so he should be fine. Or he could just want his nest to look festive for the holidays.
THIEVES POSE AS MANNEQUINS TO ROB STORE
A gang of thieves in Worthing, Sussex, UK, took a scene from the movie Home Alone 2: Lost in New York and made it work for them. They entered a Beales department store and posed among the store mannequins as the employees cleared the shop and locked up for the night. After everyone was gone, they grabbed £10,000 in merchandise, mostly designer clothes, and left through the fire escape. The alarm sounded only as they left. The thieves are still at large.
DEMOLITION DERBY ON THE STREETS OF MONTREAL
A quick snowstorm on Monday led to slippery streets in Montreal. The hillside street Côte du Beaver Hall was particularly hard to negotiate before snowplows could spread salt. Willem Shepherd looked out his office window and began recording as a city bus slid down the hill into cars waiting at the bottom. That was followed by a work truck that hit the bus, and then another bus plowed into the line of vehicles. A police car came next, performing a pirouette and then crashing into the second bus, and then we saw the salt truck, which couldn't hold the road any better than the other vehicles. It hit the police car in the line of vehicles. You can see the video of the chaos at the Toronto Star.
WORLD'S OLDEST BELL FOUNDRY TO CLOSE
The Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London has been a family-owned business since 1570, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, although the business has passed through different families. The foundry has been operating at the Whitechapel location since 1783. Over the centuries, they've produced renowned bells such as Big Ben, the Liberty Bell, and the Bells of St. Mary's. But now the foundry has announced that it will close next May. Times have changed, and few customers are willing to have bells made the old-fashioned way.
However, quality craftsmanship takes time. The average time from enquiry to order is 11 years, and the longest commission in the foundry’s history took 100 years to produce.
Order to installation takes another year, and a major project could cost as much as £250,000 to produce.
There is time for someone else to purchase the foundry's equipment and open at a different location, continuing the centuries-old craft.