News of the Weird by the Editors at Andrews McMeel Syndication

LEAD STORY -- Bright Idea

Parking spots are hard to come by in the snowy West Ridge neighborhood of Chicago, and resident Adam Selzer has become the talk of the town for the novel method he's using to save his spot -- freezing pairs of pants and standing them up on the street like traffic cones, WBBM-TV reported. "Soak a pair, put outside. In about 20 minutes you can form them to shape, and in another 20 they're solid," Selzer posted on Twitter. Next, Selzer is planning to perfect a frozen shirt. "We'll see if this works," he said. [CBS2-TV, 2/8/2021]

New Things to Worry About

Bradford Gauthier of Worcester, Massachusetts, had a bit of trouble swallowing when he woke up on Feb. 2, but he went about his day after drinking some water. Later, "I tried to drink a glass of water again and couldn't," he said, and that's when he realized one of the AirPods he sleeps with at night was missing and "felt a distinct blockage in the center of my chest," he said. KVEO reported that it didn't take doctors in the emergency room long to discover the AirPod lodged in Gauthier's esophagus. An emergency endoscopy removed it and Gauthier went home feeling much better. [KVEO via WWLP, 2/4/2021]

Oops

-- Tessica Brown of New Orleans was out of hairspray in January as she got ready to go out, so she reached for the only spray she could find, Gorilla Glue, to shellack her hair into place. "I figured ... I could just wash it out," she told WDSU-TV, but "it didn't." Brown and her mother tried olive oil and vegetable oil, to no avail, and the local hospital could offer little help. She cut off her ponytail to reduce the weight, but the spray on her scalp continued to painfully tighten and harden. On Feb. 10, she posted on Instagram, she was scheduled to fly to Los Angeles to meet with plastic surgeon Michael Obeng to undergo a procedure that costs more than $12,000 -- for free. [WDSU-TV, 2/10/2021]

-- Neighbors in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, called police on Feb. 8 after witnessing an unidentified man apparently take a joyride on an excavator parked in the street, knocking it into power lines and making a getaway on a bicycle. WPLG-TV reported the incident resulted in every sports fan's worst nightmare: a power outage just before the big game. "About 30 to 40 minutes before the Super Bowl started, (the power) just went all the way out," said Bubba James. Crews from Florida Power & Light attended to the problem, and the power was back on by halftime. [WPLG Local10 News, 2/8/2021]

Wait, What?

Jane Louise Kellahan, 49, of Wanaka, New Zealand, appeared before Judge Russell Walker in Queenstown District Court on Feb. 2, her second appearance on a charge of assault and the second time she refused to answer when called upon. "That sounds like my name, Your Honor, but I want to see it in writing," she said. The Otago Daily News reported Kellahan, a local artist, denies being a person, saying, "I'm a living being on the land." The judge told her, "You are a living being, which means you are a person" and entered a plea of not guilty on her behalf. Her trial is set for April 28. [Otago Daily News, 2/4/2021]

Keystone Car Chase

In the wee hours of Jan. 26, police in Bellevue, Washington, spotted a car running a red light, so they ran the tag and discovered the car was reported stolen. The driver failed to yield when officers attempted a traffic stop, KOMO-TV reported, but a mechanical problem prevented the vehicle from exceeding 25 mph. The driver also observed all traffic laws as the pursuit continued for about a mile and a half until the vehicle burst into flames and became fully engulfed. The suspect male driver fled into a nearby nature park and escaped; a female passenger was detained by police and taken into custody. [KOMO-TV, 2/2/2021]

Weird Antiquities

Bidding is underway in Boston-based RR Auction's special Presidents Day online sale of presidential artifacts, which includes locks of George and Martha Washington's hair, John F. Kennedy's Harvard cardigan sweater and the pen Warren G. Harding used to officially end U.S. involvement in World War I, reported The Associated Press. The auction, which continues through Feb. 18, features around 300 items from "America's esteemed commanders-in-chief," said company spokesperson Mike Graff. Last year, the company sold a lock of Abraham Lincoln's hair wrapped in a bloodstained telegram about his 1865 assassination for $81,000. [Associated Press, 2/9/2021]

State of the Union

Instagramer Matt Shirley of Los Angeles conducted an informal survey among his more than 300,000 followers, asking them which state they hate most, the Asbury Park Press reported Jan. 21, and from the 2,500 responses, he determined that, among the expected regional rivalries, New Jersey hates every other state and Florida hates ... Florida. The Sunshine State was the only one to choose itself as most-hated, with four-fifths of respondents agreeing. "I live in Florida, have my whole life, and would not hesitate to unironically put that as my answer," one survey participant wrote. [Asbury Park Press, 1/21/2021]

The Aristocrats

Rapper Lil Uzi Vert, whose real name is Symere Woods, revealed on Instagram in early February that he has had a $24 million 10-carat pink diamond implanted in his forehead, reported Rolling Stone. According to Simon Babaev, spokesman for the New York-based jeweler Eliantte & Co. that implanted the stone, Uzi fell in love with the marquise-shaped diamond when he saw it in 2017 and has been making payments on it as he determined what he wanted to do with it. "We didn't think he was serious about it," said Babaev, but as it became clear that he was, "we engineered a specific mounting that clips and locks in place. There's a whole mechanism involved." [Rolling Stone, 2/8/2021]

Cliche Come to Life

A U.S. Coast Guard crew on routine patrol Feb. 8 in the Bahamas spotted three people who had reportedly been stranded on uninhabited Anguilla Cay for 33 days. ABC News reported the two men and a woman, all Cuban nationals, survived by eating rats, coconuts and conch shells, and suffered from dehydration because of the lack of freshwater on the island. A Coast Guard helicopter hoisted them off the island and delivered them to the Lower Keys Medical Center in Key West, Florida, where helicopter commander Mike Allert said they were in generally good condition. It was unclear how they ended up on the island. [ABC News, 2/9/2021]

Awesome!

Andrea Belcher of Surrey, England, was looking for a way to have a little fun during COVID-19 lockdowns in April of last year and hit upon the idea of dressing up in a ball gown to take out the trash. Since then, Sky News reported, she has dressed up each week as a famous personality or fictional character, including so far Darth Vader, Marge Simpson and Wilma Flintstone, even recruiting the family dog to play Toto to her Dorothy. "Everything is a bit miserable at the moment," Belcher said. "So it's nice to have a little bit of silliness, a little bit of craziness, and to make people smile." [Sky News, 2/7/2021]

Send your weird news items with subject line WEIRD NEWS to WeirdNewsTips@amuniversal.com.