News of the Weird by the Editors at Andrews McMeel Syndication

LEAD STORY -- New World Order

With the advent of driverless cars, new questions are being raised about a wide range of potential traffic situations. One example: What happens when police pull over an autonomous vehicle? According to The Washington Post, the company whose cars are now zipping around Phoenix is one car-length ahead of us: Alphabet's Waymo cars (Chrysler Pacifica minivans) will use "sensors to identify police or emergency vehicles by detecting their appearance, their sirens and their emergency lights," the company's "Emergency Response Guide" explains. "The Waymo vehicle is designed to pull over and stop when it finds a safe place to do so." Next, the car will unlock its doors and roll down its windows, allowing the police officer to communicate with a remote support team. The company will even send a human representative to the scene if necessary. So relax and enjoy the ride. Hal will take care of you. [Washington Post, 10/24/2018]


Kids at Pierre Part Primary school in Pierre Part, Louisiana, thought they knew what to expect during Red Ribbon Week, an annual alcohol awareness program, but a school administrator threw them a curveball, reported WBRZ-TV. Rachel Turley, 49, assistant principal at the school, was on her way to work on Oct. 29 when other motorists reported that she was driving dangerously on Highway 70. Officers caught up with her at the school and took her to a police substation, where they determined her blood alcohol content was .224, nearly three times the legal limit of .08. She was charged with DWI and careless operation. "The fact that she chose to do this on the Monday of Red Ribbon Week is a slap in the face," commented Niki Lacoste, grandparent of a Pierre Part student. [WBRZ-TV, 10/31/2018]


A homeowner in Upper Tantallon, Nova Scotia, received an unsettling phone call from a neighbor on Oct. 16, saying there were two strangers in her house. The door had been left unlocked so a neighbor could walk the dog, CTVNews reported, and police expected to find that the home had been "cleaned out," said Nova Scotia Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesperson Cpl. Dal Hutchinson. Instead, the two women inside the house had cleaned UP -- they were employees of a cleaning company and had gone to the wrong address. They left without realizing their mistake. Hutchinson praised the neighbor for being so observant and noted the silver lining: The house was cleaned for free. [, 10/16/2018]

Election Roundup

-- An Independence, Missouri, city councilman who was not on the Nov. 6 ballot managed to let his temper get away from him that morning at a church polling station. Witnesses told KSHB-TV that councilman Tom Van Camp was in the parking lot of the church when another man yelled at him, "Tom Van Camp, you SOB!" Witness Lee Williams said the man then approached Van Camp, and the next time she looked up, Van Camp and the man were "down there on the grass and they're punching each other. I was just shocked to see my councilman in a fist fight." A voter called police, who responded, but both men had already left the scene in separate vehicles. Van Camp is under fire in Independence for spending public money on personal travel. He is up for re-election in 2020. [KSHB, 11/7/2018]

-- The Associated Press reported on Nov. 7 that Virginia's 5th Congressional District has a new Republican representative, Denver Riggleman, who beat Democrat Leslie Cockburn despite Cockburn's suggestion in July that Riggleman was unfit for the office because of a Bigfoot erotica book he had written, "The Mating Habits of Bigfoot and Why Women Want Him." While Riggleman is indeed the author of "Bigfoot Exterminators Inc.: The Partially Cautionary, Mostly True Tale of Monster Hunt 2006," he says the erotica book was a joke among himself and buddies from the military. (BONUS: Distillery owner Riggleman entered the race when incumbent Tom Garrett dropped out after announcing he is an alcoholic.) [Associated Press, 11/7/2018]

Family Values

In Italy, an unnamed 48-year-old woman was ordered to pay $1,000 in late October after failing to peacefully settle a two-year dispute with her mother. The daughter, a vegan, threatened her mother with stabbing after the mother prepared Bolognese meat sauce. The daughter told the court she had long avoided sensory and olfactory contact with animal products before moving back in with her mother, but the Telegraph reports, there had been an escalation of aggression between the two women, and apparently the long-simmering sauce was the last straw. "If you won't stop on your own then I'll make you stop," the March 2016 complaint quoted the daughter saying as she grabbed a knife. "Quit making ragu, or I'll stab you in the stomach." [Telegraph, 11/1/2018]

Bright Ideas

-- David Weaver, 37, of Nelson, British Columbia, glibly avoided becoming dinner for 14 sharks at Toronto's Ripley Aquarium on Oct. 12 after stripping naked and jumping into a 3-million-liter tank and swimming about as other patrons looked on and recorded his stunt. Weaver arrived around 10 p.m. and quickly climbed to an overlook of the "Dangerous Lagoon," where the sharks and other animals are displayed. Onlookers exclaimed as he made several attempts to climb out of the tank, exposing both his front and back sides. "I thought he was a worker until I noticed he was naked," said one witness. The sharks "seemed angry but also frightened of him. They are fed daily, so I guess they had no reason to attack him." The National Post reported police also connected Weaver to an assault a few hours earlier outside the nearby Medieval Times dinner theater. He was later arrested near Thunder Bay. [National Post, 10/15/2018]

-- Two unnamed Marine Corps flyers have been grounded pending an investigation after they flew a penis-shaped flight pattern over the Salton Sea on Oct. 23, the Los Angeles Times reported. The pilots were outed by a Twitter account called Aircraft Spots, which tracks flight patterns. Josef Patterson, a Marine Corps spokesman, said the jokesters are assisting with other duties in their squadron at Air Station Miramar in San Diego. They can't take credit for the idea, though: In November 2017, a Navy jet crew flew in a similar pattern over Washington, D.C. [LA Times, 11/6/2018]

Crime Report

Two employees of a waste disposal company in Germany have been convicted of pinching more than 100 portable toilets and selling them to a company in the Netherlands. The Associated Press reported on Nov. 6 that the toilets, worth almost $80,000, disappeared over a period of months. The Duesseldorf district court sentenced a 40-year-old man to a 10-month suspended sentence and a 28-year-old to six months. Only three of the missing toilets have been recovered. [Associated Press, 11/6/2018]

Suspicions Confirmed

Steven Carroll, 61, and his brother, Michael, 57, had been trying to solve the mystery of their dad's disappearance since 1961, when George Carroll "went out and just never came back," as their mother, Dorothy, explained it to them. Michael bought the family's Lake Grove, New York, house in the 1980s from Dorothy, who died in 1998. Over the years paranormal investigators and psychics have sensed an "energy" in the home, and radar indicated there was something about 5 feet below the basement. A few months ago, Michael's grown sons began digging, and on Oct. 30, they unearthed human bones. Now, according to Newsday, dental records and DNA will be used to determine if the bones belong to George Carroll, a process Suffolk County Chief of Detectives Gerard Gigante says could take months. [Newsday, 11/2/2018]

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