Today in New York, it is a declared gridlock alert day. Next Wednesday will also have such an alert. This means that cars will go crazy in the streets and pedestrians will zig zag wildly about the sidewalks. This past weekend, there was also a Leonid meteor shower. The sky has been all abuzz this week. Further, some meteorologists have had to present the weather report naked due to lost bets. All this has been happening while people are probably stopping here and there taking a selfie. This, as you probably know by now, is the word of the year 2013. Meanwhile, we eagerly await next week’s Thanksgivukkah –which is the, oh so, rare combination of Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah.
1.Wayward, nutty worldly birds. There are some crazy, angry, “gone postal” birds around the world this week. In New Zealand, there are some magpies gone amok. In a scene out of Hitchcock’s Birds, a set of magpies in New Zealand, have decided en masse to go after postal workers. In Rome, 1000’s of starling birds have taken over causing major havoc by dropping bird poo everywhere. In Monroe, North Carolina, an 11 year old boy was found handcuffed with a dead chicken around his neck. I guess humans do get their revenge. Ms. Alyssa L. Pack allegedly kicked about three geese in the face and the video was posted on Facebook. What an allegedly upstanding human.
2. Rogue pilots and train conductors. Speaking of flying objects. Several pilots this past week flew to the wrong airports. Maybe they were busy checking out their favorite Ipad applications now that we can keep our handy tablets on from take-off to landing. Why is the FAA considering allowing cell phone calls on planes? Anyway, back to the rogue pilots. The pilots of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet mistakenly landed at a tiny airport in Kansas. The big jet was a dreamlifter. Think landing in the wrong city is just a thing of planes? Well, Amtrak also went to the wrong city this past week. A New York-bound Amtrak train took a wrong turn and ended up in the station of in Bala Cynwyd. Yup, I have never heard of it either. Should the lack of skyscrapers been a hint?
3. Country/city planners. As a public health practitioner I do enjoy hearing about structural level interventions that address large health problems. I especially like it when the interventions are a bit out of the box. India has a monkey problem. A rather large monkey problem. In particular, red-bottomed rhesus macaques are rampaging cities in India. Indian officials have had enough and now plan to put the monkeys on the pill. Yes, the birth control pill. Good luck with that. Now onto Amsterdam. The glorious city of Amsterdam has a bit of a problem with some homeless alcoholics. Their solution pay said alcoholics with beer to clean the streets. Hmm. I remember when I was a South Bronx poor youth who got a summer city job leaning the parks. Some beer would have been nice. Maybe then I wouldn’t have gotten so sick on wine coolers.
4. Cannibals and zombies. A 26 year old in Nouilhan, France supposedly broke into a town resident’s home and went about eating his heart and tongue. Seems he did hit him over the head first sparing the victim the pain of being eaten alive. Now onto television. The television Family Feud is all about schadenfreude; contestants laugh hysterically at other’s horribly awkward, stream of consciousness answers to random questions. Steve Harvey, as host, asked the contestants at the podium “Name something you know about zombies.” To which contestant Christie buzzed in first and answered, “Black” leaving everyone on the television set uncomfortable. Eek, Yikes and Oops. Don’t think that was the answer the Gameshow producers were looking for nor what Christie wants to be known for.
5. Mummies and wives. A lonely old woman in Belgium was found sleeping with her mummified husband that had died of an asthma attack a year before. This probably happens a lot during the holiday season. Meanwhile, in the Indian town of Lakshmimanagaram, a wedding was all set to occur. Yet, the groom appeared to get cold feet. Maybe he was afraid of being mummified. But the bride didn’t need to despair as a guest stepped up to the plate and married her instead.
6. Sinkholes. Another week gone by, another sinkhole. And, yet another sinkhole in Florida. When will we learn to take these seriously. My theory is that crocodiles are coming up to devour us. Others believe it is a more of a geological structure issue. Either way, be wary of manholes, potholes and other holes that spring up in the ground.
7. Huge men moving about. Two totally different ends of the spectrum stories of overweight men went viral this week. A high school football player named Tony Picard posted some might impressive stats: he rushed 576 yards and had seven touchdowns this year. What’s impressive is that he weighs 400 pounds and can run large distances and is greatly admired. Meanwhile, Kevin Chenais, a Frenchman that weighs more than 500 pounds, has been desperately trying to get home to France from the US. His desperation came from the fact that cruiseships, trains, and planes denied him passage because of his weight. He has been undergoing this journey home for two weeks. Maybe if they said he was a high school football player he would catch a break?
8. Baby bears. Come on every week there is a cute wacky bear story, no? In the town of Suomussalmi, Finland a guy out on a wilderness stroll came across several baby bear clubs and was able to Facebook about it. In his photos, he appears to capture a moment where the cubs are dancing joyfully in a circle while holding paws. It is a cute photo. But it is also a tad bit creepy. Dancing cubs in the wild can be a very bad omen. It’s true. Check your folklore books. But speaking of baby bears. This past week, a newspaper deliveryman in North Carolina found a bomb in a teddy bear toy that had been lying in the middle of the road waiting for someone to pick it up. Six months ago, another improvised homemade bomb was left in that same area. Better watch out this holiday season. You may be better off buying some fried chicken scented candles for your loved ones.
9. Weed and test pushers. A couple from Florida mistakenly transported across state lines two sealed bags of marijuana that weighed 11 pounds. Who nowadays transports unknown bags without opening them first? But the bigger mystery remains as to who mailed it to them via UPS. What would a wacky week be without some wacked out NYC story. Two New York doctors admitted they received $100,000 from medical labs to order lab tests for their patients. Geez, as if having to get three MRIs this summer wasn’t bad enough. Poor individuals who got sent to undergo these tests for no real good reason other than to line someone’s nicely pressed pockets.
10. Those that live in glass houses. Representative Trey Rade ( R-Fla.) pleaded guilty this past week in Washington, DC to possession of cocaine. He cried at a press conference and asked for forgiveness. Then announced he was resigning. Oh wait. No, he did not. He announced he was going to take a leave of absence and seek treatment. This is the same representative that wanted to put forth a bill making those receiving government assistance undergo mandatory drug testing. That glass house, representative, looms large. Although, coke and crack do not necessarily mean that a politician’s days are over. Mayor Ford of Toronto proves that very well. Did you know that Mayor Ford, despite all the recent scandals and revelations, has higher approval ratings than President Obama? Failed website versus doing crack? Guess crack ain’t that whack.
Perhaps all these wacky hijinks up in the air and on the streets are due to some unidentified objects hightailing our skies. This past week an unidentified object fell from the sky in a busy part of Long Island, New York. Is the truth out there?