A driver in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England, caused an “enormous bang” when he lit a cigarette in his closed car after spraying air freshener. Nearby buildings shook from the impact, and the car’s windshield was blown out, along with windows of nearby businesses. The driver sustained only minor injuries. West Yorkshire Police said the situation could have been worse and implored people to open their windows when using aerosol cans and open flames.
Fruitcake Lasts Forever
The Ford family of Tecumseh, Mich., has been cherishing Fidelia Ford’s fruitcake since 1878. Julie Ruttinger, great-great-granddaughter to Fidelia, inherited the confection from her father, Morgan Ford, who kept it in an antique glass compote dish in his china cabinet until his death in 2013. It doesn’t look or smell like a fruitcake anymore. (“Smells like old people,” Morgan once said.) But Ruttinger is determined to keep Fidelia’s legacy alive. Each year, Fidelia made a cake that was meant to age until the next Christmas season. But in 1878, she died before her cake could be enjoyed. When Morgan was buried, the family tucked a piece of the cake into his jacket pocket. “He took care of it to the day he left the Earth,” Ruttinger said. “We knew it meant a lot to him.”
When You’re 17 …
On Dec. 18, 2019, a 17-year-old female jumped a fence at Fresno Yosemite International Airport in Fresno, Calif., and climbed into the cockpit of a private airplane parked there. She put the pilot’s headset on and was able to start one of the engines of the small plane. But instead of flying away, she steered the plane into a chain-link fence, causing substantial damage to the aircraft. Airport officials said she appeared disoriented when officers reached the plane. No others were endangered in the incident. She was booked into juvenile hall on charges of theft of an aircraft.
Don’t Eat Your Teeth
As she enjoyed an Aldi mince pie in early December, caterer Angela McGill, 52, of Glasgow, Scotland, thought one bite seemed particularly “rough and really hard — I thought it was a tough piece of pastry.” McGill soon realized she had swallowed her partial dentures with two false teeth. Hospital X-rays confirmed the dentures were caught halfway down her throat, but the staff advised her pulling them out would only cause more harm. It took 72 hours for the plate to pass. “It was ever so funny!” she said. “And I was really enjoying the mince pie, too.”
During the holiday season of 2018, former NASA engineer Mark Rober of Santa Clarita, Calif., created a glitter bomb exploding package after having a package stolen from his front porch. Last Christmas, Rober had a new and improved version. When it was touched, the box exploded in glitter and emitted an unpleasant odor along with a soundtrack of police chatter. As a coup de grace, it also took a video of the thief and uploaded it to the cloud. One of the sponsors for Rober’s project was Home Alone actor Macaulay Culkin. Rober calls it a labor of love: “I have literally spent the last 10 months designing, building and testing a new and improved design for 2019,” he said.
All I Want For Christmas Is A Magnifying Glass
Justin and Nissa-Lynn Parson of McKinney, Texas, were all in when their son Cayden, 12, asked for a magnifying glass for Christmas. “We thought, ‘Oh, he wants to magnify something’” to read, Nissa-Lynn said. Instead, Cayden and his brother, Ashton, used the glass to light a newspaper on fire on the family’s front porch. The fire soon spread to the yard, eventually destroying the lawn and some of the family’s Christmas lights. “We ran inside and started screaming,” Cayden said. The family doused the fire with “pitchers of water, blankets smothering it, sprinklers turned on, hose turned on,” Nissa-Lynn recounted, adding that Cayden “will definitely have yard work to do once spring comes.”
The Hostile Chicken
Police in Elizabethtown, Ken., were called to the parking lot of a CVS pharmacy over a “public menace.” The culprit was a “hostile chicken” that “pecked viciously” at the officers and “made some adept use of vehicles for cover” before they were able to corral it in a plastic milk crate. Officers transferred the foul fowl to “someone who can give him more suitable accommodations,” then attended to their wounds with “some doughnut therapy.”
So Much For ‘Merry Christmas’
Poppy Leigh, 13, of Manchester, England, thought wrapping her waist-length hair around an empty plastic water bottle and decorating it with lights as if were a Christmas tree would bring good cheer to her mates and teachers at Manchester Health Academy. Instead, school authorities told her she had to either take the decorations off or go home. Her mom, Christie, wasn’t happy about it: “It’s just a bit of fun and Christmas cheer,” she said. But Principal Kevin Green huffed: “The Academy has the highest of expectations around uniform and teaching and learning, and … whilst it was a remarkably creative hairstyle, it was, unfortunately, inappropriate for school.”
A new tattoo artist in the Haji Lane area of Singapore is Lilith Siow, 12. She learned the art from her father, Joseph, who has operated a tattoo business for 20 years. In 2019, Lilith tattooed at least a dozen customers. She admitted she was nervous at first, taking 90 minutes to complete her initial design. “I was afraid at the beginning. … Once a tattoo sets, it is forever,” she said. As her confidence grows, so does her advocacy for the art. She disagrees that people with tattoos are “bad people.”
Japanese YouTuber Marina Fujiwara has harnessed the pain she feels when she sees couples basking in their love at the holidays and developed a device that reflects her sadness: a light that turns on whenever anyone breaks up on social media. Fujiwara’s device is connected to the internet through a “bridge” and is set to light up whenever a breakup status is posted on Twitter. “I want to celebrate Christmas,” she said. “But when you see a couple in the world going on a Christmas date and doing something like that, I am attacked by a huge sense of loneliness.” While her machine is not available commercially, Fujiwara says it’s easy enough to set one up for yourself. (Check her YouTube channel for directions.)
It Is Legal To Ride An Escalator
After a decade of wrangling in the court system, Bela Kosoian has been awarded $20,000 by the Supreme Court of Canada. It all started in the Laval, Quebec, Montmorency Metro station in 2009, when Kosoian was riding an escalator while looking through her purse. She was not holding the handrail at the time. A police officer told her to respect a sign asking riders to hold the rail. Kosoian declined. She would not identify herself to the officer, who slapped her with two tickets: one for disobeying the sign and another for obstructing the work of an inspector. Kosoian sued, and the highest court agreed with her, saying: “A reasonable police officer should have known that people didn’t have to hold the handrails.” They called the sign a “warning” and not a law. “I knew that I didn’t do anything wrong,” Kosoian said. “It was the principle of it.”