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Weird National Briefs (12/19/2018)

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Fowl odor

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - If the smell of Kentucky Fried Chicken roasting on an open fire appeals to you, you’re in luck.

KFC tweeted on Thursday that it is offering an 11 Herbs and Spices Firelog, saying it’s the best way to make your fire smell less like fire and more like chicken.

The 5-pound fire log is available on the company’s website and is limited to one per customer while supplies last.

KFC says the $18.99 fire log can burn for up to three hours, but there are some warnings that go with it: It may result in cravings for fried chicken and attract hungry neighbors or bears. And even though it smells great, it’s not safe to eat.

TME – Worst Yule log ever.

Scuba Santa

SAN FRANCISCO - It’s a busy time for Santa Claus, but he’s making time to feed some fish in San Francisco.

The California Academy of Sciences launched its holiday festivities Thursday by having a scuba diver dressed as St. Nick submerge into a coral reef exhibit while dozens of children watched from behind the glass.

The “Scuba Santa” show runs through Christmas Day. It takes place during the morning feed at the Philippine Coral Reef tank at the San Francisco museum.

Volunteer diver George Bell donned his Santa suit, from hat to coal black boots, and scuba gear for a recent feed and fielded visitors’ questions from inside the tank.

The Philippine Coral Reef tank has thousands of reef fish representing about 100 species.

People can watch Santa’s appearance online by webcam.

TME – Terrible what happened to those reindeer, though.

Flipping out – and off

WESTFORD, Vt. - A Vermont man who is in an ongoing dispute with his town has let officials know exactly how he feels by erecting a large wooden sculpture of a fist with the middle finger raised on his front lawn.

Ted Pelkey said Thursday that he has been trying for about 10 years to move his truck repair and recycling business to his property but has been unable to get a permit. He paid about $3,000 to have the roughly 7-foot-tall (2-meter-tall) sculpture carved with a chain saw. In November, he put it on a 16-foot (4.8-meter) pole with lights where it can be seen from the road.

“I wasn’t trying to get fame out of it at all.... I’m just mad,” he said. “I just got pushed in the corner, and it’s just I’m done with it.”

Since the sculpture went up, people have been stopping by during the day and even night to take photos of it and with it.

“Oh, God. It’s crazy,” Pelkey said. “People are out there at 11 o’clock at night taking pictures with their Santa hats on. It’s wonderful, I think.”

Late Thursday morning, three people pulled off of Route 128 to snap photos within an hour, including a woman from Maine who was in Vermont for work.

Westford Select Board Chairwoman Allison Hope said she could not comment on Pelkey’s case. He has appealed a recent decision.

“So we’re in the middle of an appeal that’s been going on for a while,” she said. “So I want to make sure that we use the process that Mr. Pelkey has a right to avail himself of, and I don’t want to mess with that process.”

She added that the town office has “a really great, really professional staff.”

“In terms of other folks, they do a really wonderful job no matter who comes to talk to them about permit applications,” she added. “They want to get to yes, but they also need to follow the zoning regulations that we have in town.”

TME – He’s got his finger on the pulse of that town.

Songbird smuggling

NEW YORK - Customs officials at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport say they found 70 live finches hidden inside hair rollers.

Authorities say a passenger arriving from Guyana on Saturday had the songbirds in a duffel bag.

The New York Times reports officials believe the birds were brought to the U.S. to participate in singing contests. Customs officials say people bet on how many times the finches chirp, and a winning male finch can sell for up to $10,000.

The birds were turned over to veterinarians to the U.S. Agriculture Department, and the passenger was sent back to Guyana.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says bird smuggling could threaten agriculture through the possible spread of diseases such as bird flu.

Customs officers have seized about 184 finches this year.

TME – Just remember – finches get … stinches?

Crash on the couch

TEMPLETON, Mass. - A pickup truck has smashed through a home in Massachusetts, barely missing a woman who was asleep on her couch.

Police say the crash happened around 11:30 a.m. Thursday in Templeton.

Tracy Samuels, who was sleeping on the couch, says she heard a loud bang, woke up and said, “Why is there a truck in my living room?”

The truck destroyed the family’s Christmas tree and their gifts, but no one was injured in the crash.

Tracy Samuels’ husband, Jason, says the items they lost are replaceable. But he says he and his wife have been together for 27 years, and he can’t replace her.

Police are still investigating the cause of the crash, and no charges have been filed.

The home has been temporarily condemned.

TME – Sir, this is (not) an Arby’s drive-through.

Money for nothing

MONMOUTH BEACH, N.J. - Police in New Jersey have given $3 to the person who found it 14 years ago.

Paige Woodie was 12 years old when she and a friend discovered the cash and turned it into a Monmouth Beach police officer in 2004.

Sgt. Jeff Godwin tells the Asbury Park Press people who turn in found money are able to claim it within a reasonable amount of time if no one comes forward. The cash turned up during an audit and police “thought it had been long enough.”

Woodie says officers came to her home and asked if she could remember what she did in 2004. She couldn’t think of anything bad. That’s when the officers turned over the $3 in an evidence bag.

She says half belongs to her friend.

TME – Straight cash, homey.

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