Hard Times for Science
A tractor-trailer driver with a load of bottled water tried to make it over a historic bridge in Paoli, Ind., on Christmas Day, with the obvious outcome when 35 tons of water starts across a limit-6-tons span. The driver told police she saw the 6-ton sign but did not know how that "translated" to pounds.
• Among the activists denouncing a proposed solar-panel farm at a December Woodland, N.C., Town Council meeting were a husband and wife certain that vegetation near the panels would die because the panels would (the husband said) "suck up all the energy from the sun." His wife (described as a "retired science teacher") explained that the solar panels prevent photosynthesis (and also, of course, cause cancer). The council voted a moratorium on the panels.
Recent Recurring Themes
Paul Stenstrom of Tarpon Springs, Fla., is among the most recent Americans to have discovered the brightest side of federal bankruptcy law, having lived in his mortgaged home basically free of charge from 2002 until 2013 by using the law to stave off foreclosure. Even though none of his 15 petitions was ever approved, he followed each one immediately with another petition, and it was not until 2013 that one judge finally declared Stenstrom a "serially abusive filer," barring further petitions for two years—at which point his bank was able to conclude the foreclosure. Upon expiration of the two-year period in September 2015, Stenstrom quickly filed another bankruptcy petition—to keep from being evicted from the townhouse on whose rent he is four months behind.
In October, once again, police (this time in Liyang in Eastern China) arrested a man whom they accused of stealing women's underwear, prolifically, with a device likened to a fishing rod, enabling him to reach into windows and extract goodies. The suspect, 32, admitted to a three-year scheme, and in his van police found 285 bras and 185 panties.
• In December, Carlos Aguilera, 27, became the most recent brain-surgery patient to assist doctors by remaining conscious during the 12-hour operation—and playing his saxophone to help assure surgeons that their removal of a tumor was not affecting his speech, hearing or movement. The operation, at Spain's Malaga Regional Hospital, was supposedly Europe's first, but News of the Weird has reported two in the United States, including on a guitar-strumming man in 2013 at UCLA Medical Center.
Least Competent Criminals
Nurse's aide Candace McCray, 36, is the most recent theft suspect to have worn some of the purloined jewelry when meeting police detectives investigating the theft. An assisted-living resident in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., had described her missing gems, and McCray was questioned as someone with access to the woman's room. Joshua Jording, 26, in Latrobe, Pa., became the most recent burglary suspect caught on surveillance video during the crime wearing a shirt with his name on it (which was later found in Jording's home, along with a stash from the Dec. 2 burglary).
More Core Failings of Carjackers
Albert Luna, 19, was arrested in Coachella, Calif., in December and charged with swiping the keys while a Federal Express driver was unloading a package. The driver reported that Luna later walked away when he could not figure out how to drive the truck. (Bonus: The arrest report noted that during the entire episode, Luna was naked.) Kyle Blair, 25, was arrested in Surrey, British Columbia, in November when he approached a car at an intersection and attempted to pull the driver out. For one thing, the two men in the car were later described as "big, burly" guys, but more important, they were plainclothes police officers on a stakeout.
Another Way to Tell If You're Really, Really Drunk
Her passengers had run away, leaving Elena Bartman-Wallman, 23, behind the wheel but oblivious on a December afternoon in Aleknagik, Alaska, and her car's tires had started to smoke. She had lodged her foot against the accelerator, facing the wrong way on the road, with her wheels spinning continuously, and by the time police arrived (to discover Bartman-Wallman passed out), the front tires had melted down to the rims.
Almost No Longer Weird
When a woman leaped to her death on Dec. 12 from an apartment building in New York City, she of course landed on top of another woman, 71, who was left in critical condition.
Thanks This Week to Rey Barry and Mark Lillicrap, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.