How much would you pay for a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car? At a Scottsdale, Ariz., auction on Jan. 19, Rick Champagne paid $4.2 million for one. The reason: It was the car used as the Batmobile during the 1960s Batman television series. “I really liked Batman growing up and I came here with the intention of buying the car,” Champagne, 56, told the Reuters news service. “Sure enough, I was able to buy it.” The insurance premiums on the car will reportedly be $420,000.
What Alvin Rogers does before showing up to serve jail time for shoplifting is his own business. That is, unless he shoplifts again. Told that he needed to bring with him two sets of underwear before reporting for a weekend stint in jail in Eastville, Va., the 33-year-old from Painter, Va., was caught stealing the required underwear from a dollar store. After being convicted on the underwear heist, Rogers was sentenced to more than two years in prison.
Armed and dangerous
While New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been trying to reduce gun violence in his state, New York City park workers perhaps cleared out the biggest gun of all. City employees removing a Revolutionary War–era cannon from Central Park on Jan. 11 made the unsettling discovery that the cannon had been loaded and ready to fire for the more than 140 years it had been kept at the park. The workers were refurbishing the artillery piece, a gun off a British frigate that had been on display in the park from the 1860s until 1996, when they discovered the cannon was loaded with a ball, cotton wadding, and 800 grams of black powder that was still capable of firing, even though capped with concrete. “We silenced British cannon fire in 1776,” the NYPD said in a statement, “and we don’t want to hear it again in Central Park.”
Within hours, Sabine Moreau should have known she wasn’t in Belgium anymore. But misplaced trust in her GPS direction system turned what should have been a 93-mile trip to Brussels into a 900-mile, two-day odyssey to Croatia. On Jan. 12, Moreau, 67, left her home in Erquelinnes, Belgium, to go pick up a friend from the train station in Brussels. To navigate the trip, Moreau flipped on the GPS system in her car and dutifully followed the directions as she drove southwest hour after hour. First she saw signs written in French. Then German. Then in other languages. All this, she says, didn’t make her realize something had gone terribly wrong. “It was only when I ended up in Zagreb [Croatia] that I realized I was no longer in Belgium,” she told the UPI. During the 900-mile journey, Moreau stopped for gas twice, got into a minor accident, and even pulled over to sleep for a few hours. When she arrived in Zagreb, she phoned home to find her family had filed a missing person report and police were preparing a manhunt for her.
The way home
No one is certain exactly how, but the cat came back. After bolting from her owners during a loud fireworks display at Daytona Speedway Park on Nov. 4, Holly the cat trundled into West Palm Beach, Fla., on Jan. 5 after walking 190 miles back home down the coast of Florida. The cat, in characteristic cat fashion, didn’t actually arrive at its home, but instead walked into Barb Mazzalo’s garden. Mazzalo took the weak and skinny cat to a vet who checked the animal’s microchip and arranged to return her to her owners Jacob and Bonnie Richter, who live about one mile from Mazzalo.
Considering the details divulged in her lawsuit against Mariemont City Schools, perhaps Maria Waltherr-Willard should have chosen a different profession. The 61-year-old former high-school teacher is suing the school district, which serves Cincinnati’s eastern suburbs, for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by discriminating against her because she had a rare phobia: fear of school-aged children. According to the lawsuit, the district was trying to force her out of a job by transferring her from her high-school position to teach 7th- and 8th-graders—an age group that she says caused her blood pressure to spike and anxiety to soar.
Smash and carry
It’s the thing every musician fears. While flying from Buffalo, N.Y., to Detroit in December, musician Dave Schneider, lead guitarist for the Hannhukah-themed rock band The LeeVees, tried to carry his prized 1965 Gibson ES-335 semihollow-body guitar onto a Delta flight as he had many times before. But this time the Delta crew told him he would have to check the rare vintage instrument. Upon landing in Detroit, the musician said he had a bad feeling and asked the flight crew if he could check in on his guitar as Delta’s Detroit ground crew unloaded his axe. As soon as he got close enough to see, his guitar was being crushed in a loading elevator. The damage to the guitar was estimated at nearly $2,000—but Gibson later gave Schneider a replacement ES-335.
Who wins in an investment contest between several financial professionals, a class of investment students, and a cat named Orlando? Orlando, of course. London’s Observer newspaper pitted experts from three London investment firms against students at a British school and a cat in a year-long investment contest. Each of the three teams was given a hypothetical $8,000 to invest at the beginning of 2012. Leaders from the financial firms as well as the students pored over possible choices. But the choices of Orlando the cat were divined only when the feline tossed his toy mouse at a randomly numbered grid. When the year was up, Orlando’s portfolio had grown to $8,868—better than the students or the financial experts.
A passer-by in Munich, Germany, knew something was wrong on Jan. 9 when he spotted an elderly man at a subway station with an intravenous needle attached to his arm. The concerned citizen escorted the unnamed 94-year-old to transit officials who then called the police. “After several calls, it emerged that the pensioner had bolted from a Munich clinic,” police said in a statement. “He himself said he was on his way to a beer hall to have a belated birthday celebration.” After the man was returned to the hospital, officials there told him they would buy him a beer of his choosing.