NEWS THAT SOUNDS LIKE A JOKE
Wait times at emergency rooms are notoriously long, and Danny Konieczny’s experience was no different on Mar. 6 at The Villages Hospital in The Villages, Florida. The Lady Lake resident, 61, was at home earlier in the day when a neighbor called 911 to report Konieczny was drunk and suicidal. According to WOFL TV, first responders took him to the hospital, where he waited for two hours to see a doctor before getting exasperated and stealing an ambulance to drive home. Konieczny parked the ambulance in the driveway of the neighbor he thought had called the police about him, and when Lake County Sheriff’s investigators tracked him down, they found Konieczny curled up in the trunk of his own car in his garage. Konieczny was put on no-bond status because he is still on probation from a 2017 drunk driving charge.
Environmentalists decry all the debris washing up on beaches around the world, but a discovery in January near Perth, Australia, has historians thrilled. The Washington Post reported that Tonya Illman and a friend were walking along the beach when she spotted “a lovely old bottle.” Inside was a damp note, tied with string. “We took it home and dried it out… and it was a printed form, in German, with very faint German handwriting on it,” she said. Experts at the Western Australia Museum have determined the note was 132 years old–24 years older than the previous record for a message in a bottle. The note was dated June 12, 1886, from a ship named Paula. Further study revealed that a German Naval Observatory program was analyzing global ocean currents in the area between 1864 and 1933, and an entry in the Paula’s captain’s journal made note of the bottle being tossed overboard. Thousands of other bottles were released into the sea as part of the program, and only 662 have been returned. The last one discovered was in January 1934.
WHEN OTTERS ATTACK
Kayaker Sue Spector, 77, was out for a leisurely paddle on the Braden River in Florida with her husband and friends on Mar. 4 when someone remarked, “Oh look, there’s an otter.” No sooner had the words been spoken than the mammal with a playful reputation jumped onto Spector in her kayak and began clawing and scratching her arms, nose and ear. “He wouldn’t let go and I kept screaming. I kept beating him with a paddle,” Spector told FOX13 News. She later required stitches, antibiotics and rabies treatment. It was the second otter attack in two days, and Florida Fish and Wildlife has now posted signs about the “aggressive otter” near the area.
THE LITIGIOUS SOCIETY
Neldin Molina of Denver is dragging Hamburger Mary’s restaurant in Tampa, Florida, to court with a $1.5 million lawsuit alleging she was injured there by a drag queen’s breasts. According to WESH TV, Molina was visiting the restaurant in May 2015 with friends and family when a drag show began. Molina said drag queen Amanda D’Hod pointed at her and began to approach her, but Molina turned her back to signal she didn’t want to participate in the show. The suit, filed in early March, alleges that D’Hod then walked in front of Molina, grabbed her head and shook it, pounding it violently against the performer’s fake breasts. The complaint said Molina began to experience headaches and neck pain and later went to the emergency room at Memorial Hospital of Tampa. The lawsuit also notes the restaurant failed to notify patrons of possible danger from the drag show.
TOOT YOUR OWN HORN
Mar. 3 was a big day in Key West, Florida, as competitors sounded off in the 56th Annual Conch Shell Blowing Contest. For 70-year-old Mary Lou Smith of Panama City Beach, winning the women’s division was topped only by a marriage proposal (which she accepted with a hearty honk from her shell) from fellow competitor Rick Race, 73, also of Panama City Beach. The Guardian reports that the large shells were used in the 19th century by seafarers as signaling devices, and dozens of entrants show off their skills each year at Key West’s Oldest House Museum.
LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINAL
On Mar. 12 in Northumberland, England, a car thief making a getaway in a Mini Cooper S discovered the small car was not small enough to navigate a narrow stone staircase in Carlisle Park. Northumbria police were called to the park around 11:30pm where they found the car and its unnamed 31-year-old driver both wedged tightly between the staircase walls. Area residents speculated to Metro News that the driver might have been trying to re-enact a scene from the 1969 movie The Italian Job. “I’m sure the older Minis would have got down no problem,” said Chris Stoker.
An unnamed Russian woman stunned tourists and onlookers Mar. 10 when she walked into the Red Sea and, with the help of a doctor and her partner, gave birth. From the balcony of her uncle’s apartment in Dahab, Egypt, Hadia Hosny El Said photographed the events, as the doctor carried the newborn and its father walked alongside with the still-attached placenta in a plastic bowl. After a few minutes, the mother emerged from the sea to join her family, including a toddler, on the beach. El Said told The Daily Mail the doctor is Russian and specializes in water births.