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Weird National Briefs (08/25/2021)

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You’re the one

BELFAST (AP) — The sudden appearance of a giant rubber duck in a Maine harbor is a whimsical whodunit that’s defied sleuths so far.

The yellow waterfowl emblazoned with the word “joy” appeared in Belfast Harbor over the weekend, and it’s a mystery who put it there.

Harbor Master Katherine Given told the Bangor Daily News that the 25-foot-tall (7 1/2 meter) duck doesn’t pose a navigational hazard, so there’s no rush to shoo it away.

“Everybody loves it,” Given said. “I have no idea who owns it, but it kind of fits Belfast. A lot of people want to keep it here.”

Judy Herman, of Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, stopped to snap photos on Tuesday.

“It’s wonderful,” she told New England Cable News. “Who would expect to see a duck in the middle of the water here?”

TME – It’s all fun and games until Kaiju Ernie shows up.

Street racehorse

HENDERSON, Ky. (AP) — A 2-year-old filly got loose before a race at a Kentucky track and ran onto a highway alongside cars before being apprehended Saturday.

The filly named Bold and Bossy got loose on her way to the starting gate at Ellis Park. Jockey Miguel Mena was thrown off.

She then ran off the track and over a levee heading to U.S. 41. Bold and Bossy ran briefly onto Interstate 69 and Veterans Memorial Parkway, with a posse of trainers chasing her in their vehicles. Police and the sheriff’s department also showed up.

“Thank god for all the people who jumped in to go find her because she left town,” her owner-trainer Michael Ann Ewing said from Lexington.

Ewing said Bold and Bossy lost two shoes and a hind hoof knocked some flesh off the heel of a front foot during her escapade, but she wasn’t seriously injured. The trainer said the filly was cramping from dehydration when she was finally corralled by a man and his wife.

Bold and Bossy was wearing her saddle and blinkers to restrict her vision as she galloped down the highway close to vehicles in other lanes. The blinkers probably made it harder to stop her, said Jack Hancock, a trainer who gave chase.

“She couldn’t see anything beside her, so that made it a little worse trying to catch her,” he said. ”I’ve been here all my life and I’ve never seen one to do a run like this, not that far and not that much highway.”

Horses that get loose on a racetrack often run back to the familiar setting of their barn, but Bold and Bossy had shipped in from Lexington to run in a race for the first time.

“She didn’t know where to go home,” Hancock said.

TME – Seems like the “Fast & Furious” franchise is running out of ideas.

Pope goals

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has received dozens of soccer jerseys and game balls during his eight-year pontificate but he got a new football-themed toy on Wednesday: his very own foosball table.

Francis played a round on the table that was presented to him at the end of his general audience by representatives of a Tuscany-based table football association, Sport Toscana Calcio Balilla in Altopascio.

The mayor of Altopascio, Sara D’Ambrosio, wrote on Facebook that the table was designed to be inclusive and work well for people with physical disabilities to encourage their participation in sport.

The Argentine-born pope is a well-known lover of soccer and his beloved San Lorenzo soccer club in Buenos Aires. He has long promoted sport as a way to promote solidarity and inclusion, especially for young people.

TME – If Adam Sandler movies have taught us anything, it’s that foosball is the devil.

Better late than never?

BOSTON (AP) — More than three centuries after a Massachusetts woman was wrongly convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to death, she’s finally on the verge of being exonerated — thanks to a curious eighth-grade civics class.

State Sen. Diana DiZoglio, a Democrat from Methuen, has introduced legislation to clear the name of Elizabeth Johnson Jr., who was condemned in 1693 at the height of the Salem Witch Trials but never executed.

DiZoglio says she was inspired by sleuthing done by a group of 13- and 14-year-olds at North Andover Middle School. Civics teacher Carrie LaPierre’s students painstakingly researched Johnson and the steps that would need to be taken to make sure she was formally pardoned.

“It is important that we work to correct history,” DiZoglio said Wednesday. “We will never be able to change what happened to these victims, but at the very least, we can set the record straight.”

If lawmakers approve the measure, Johnson will be the last accused witch to be cleared, according to Witches of Massachusetts Bay, a group devoted to the history and lore of the 17th-century witch hunts.

Twenty people from Salem and neighboring towns were killed and hundreds of others accused during a frenzy of Puritan injustice that began in 1692, stoked by superstition, fear of disease and strangers, scapegoating and petty jealousies. Nineteen were hanged, and one man was crushed to death by rocks.

In the 328 years that have ensued, dozens of suspects officially were cleared, including Johnson’s own mother, the daughter of a minister whose conviction eventually was reversed. But for some reason, Johnson’s name wasn’t included in various legislative attempts to set the record straight.

Johnson was 22 when she was caught up in the hysteria of the witch trials and sentenced to hang. It never happened: Then-Gov. William Phips threw out her punishment as the magnitude of the gross miscarriages of justice in Salem sank in.

But because she wasn’t among those whose convictions were formally set aside, hers still technically stands.

TME – Whiz kids nix tricks, fix witch sitch.

Last modified on Wednesday, 25 August 2021 07:47

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