Weird News: What about your town?

by Rhode

Look at you New Yorkers… when you organize, you can change holiday decorations… :)

New York Motorists Vote To Shift Wreaths That Have Infuriated Them For Years

What’s the weirdest thing your town has done?


58 thoughts on “Weird News: What about your town?

  1. Probably the chairs. We are known for people setting out chairs weeks before the 4th of July parade — my favorite was when someone put a chair out in front of the elementary school on January 1 — and it seems like each year they get bigger and sillier. Here is a slide show with a lot of boring pics but some that show some of the stuff people do —

  2. Dell,

    I love that story!

    Also what does it mean he lost his job at the CIA? I assume it means he was either a contractor or he really screwed up.

  3. The Holland Tunnel wreath story was major news around here until they took action and move it. Some drivers stare at it for hours everyday as the traffic is bad. I guess it could drive people nuts.

  4. I hope you can see this video, if not google Austin Loop 360 Christmas Trees. People decorate trees on the side of this highway in Austin. This year we had a man who was going around and undecorating them because of litter.

    The other one was putting out blankets on the ground for the free plays in Zilker Park during the summer. People would claim their spots in the morning and they’d be there that evening. I don’t recall what happened to change that, but likely with more people you had blanket movers.

    Have to head into the physical office downtown today, look forward to reading more later. FWIW – That Holland tunnel tree would make me nuts!

  5. Oh, there’s a lot that has to do with taxes and the useless city council.

    But it seems appropriate with 9″ of snow predicted tomorrow to call out the insanity that is “Dibs”. Basically, people put old junk out in the street to “hold” parking spots. In theory it is to hold parking spots that they have worked to shovel out, but it gets ugly when people just put their junk out to hold spots that they did NOT shovel, that just happen to be in front of their house, or well into the spring. (Unofficial rules are that “dibs” are only fair game for a short while after a snowfall.) You move people’s junk and take “their” spots at your own risk. People have been known to turn a hose a car to fully ice it over for stealing spots along with more permanent vandalism.

    Heated debates take place about whether dibs are a cherished tradition or totally insane.

    We are in the middle of a crazypants mayoral election right now, and one of the most controversial hot button issues that any candidate can answer is “Are you for or against ‘dibs’?”

    Some NSFW words in here (but nothing too bad)

    (We have one car and a garage for it, so I haven’t really dealt with this personally for a long time.)

  6. “People have been known to turn a hose a car to fully ice it over for stealing spots”

    I love this. Only when used for good, of course. ;-)

  7. Ivy,

    Here it’s class based. No one in the Back Bay, Beacon Hill or the South End saves their dug out spaces. It was historically very common in Southie. Although, with all the gentrification, I wonder if it’s less common.

  8. DD, does Denver have anything weird? I can’t think of anything off-hand. We have the Stock Show, and that means a parade of cows and horses and so on down the main street in downtown on the first day. That’s all I can think of right now.

  9. DD, does Denver have anything weird?

    Do they still have the scary demon horse at the airport?

  10. OK, I thought of somehing…We have one of the fancy Barnes and Nobles that sells beer and wine. Actually, it is a full restaurant. It has become really popular as the place for moms to meet up, and my kids tell me that all the high schoolers go there in preference to the Starbucks now. They have lots of author readings, and community stuff – the HS poetry club does readings there.

  11. I drive through the the town of Peshtigo, WI once in a while. It’s claim to fame is that it is the center of the most deadliest wildfire in American history. Unfortunately it occurred on the same night as the Chicago Fire, and therefore is lost in history.

  12. That’s the best thing about the airport.

    RMS, I can’t think of anything either. The only thing that comes to mind is Frozen Dead Guy Days but that’s Nederland.

  13. Mooshi, seriously? what about your police and traffic enforcement? They are obsessed with giving out tickets for meters, speeding and any traffic violation. They seem to be every where in your entire community – especially aggressive with the meters too. I would love to see a news story about how much revenue they collect each year from traffic enforcement and traffic violations. I finally figured out a way to avoid tickets by parking on residential streets and just walking to the stores. It’s a five minute walk, but it saves so much stress since they seem to show up as soon as the time is up.

  14. Lauren, I hadn’t noticed much difference in enforcement here. They have been draconian about enforcing the 4 hour limits on street parking, because we had really serious problems with people from out of town taking all the parking spaces in the residential areas so they could then commute by train.
    However, my husband recently was given a ticket in the Target garage in WP because one of his tires touched the white line. I had never heard of that being an offense before! Every car in the row was on the white lines – they had all gone askew a little – and every last one had a ticket. I couldn’t believe it!

  15. I don’t know if this is an unusual practice or not but in Seattle on residential streets, it is common for cars to park in either direction on both sides of the street. For example, our street runs east-west. There are cars parked facing both east and west on both sides of the street. In other more orderly places I would imagine you might have cars that are either all parked pointing east on one side and all pointing west on the other side. Which is what we do on the arterials.

  16. MM- I’ve never heard of someone being given a ticket for a bad parking job – especially in a garage for a store like Target or at a mall.

  17. “They seem to be every where in your entire community – especially aggressive with the meters too.”

    I have never encountered a more dedicated set of public servants than the Parking Enforcement officials in our town. Actually, “Officials” probably isn’t the correct word. As far as I can tell, they are all retirees (most seem to be age 70+) who are not full-time municipal employees. But they are eerily all-knowing and all-seeing. I’m usually very careful about where I park, but on the two occasions when I overstayed the parking limits, they ticketed me.

  18. SSM, my parents were startled to see that kind of parking when they visited me in Austin, my first home after undergrad. I’ve since lived in numerous places where it is the norm on smaller streets.

  19. @Rhett – Here dibs seems to be less of a class thing and more of a native vs transplant thing.

    @Seattle – People did that park on either side thing around my ILs old neighborhood all the time. You see that in the outlying city neighborhoods but not in the more dense areas in the center of the city or in places with more transplants.

  20. Mooshi – Wow that is some strict enforcement
    Here, parking is adequate but if some one is parked improperly, they can box you in.
    We have very limited street parking spaces in the city proper and those are enforced. Mostly all the office goers park in the building garages. There are still some surface lots but I am sure those will be all built up. They built enough parking at the light rail stations and there are some private properties that offer park and ride spaces. The most infamous parking lot in the city is that of a strip club. One of my colleagues says he parks at the “Gentleman’s Club” (cough ;-))

  21. The coming storm’s effects are going to be highly localized. Looks like Fred is still in for it, and NoB and L and my son have potential issues with ice on the trees and power lines, but I can’t figure out from the NYC weather forecasts whether they expect any snow or sleet at all in Westchester. The “inner ring” burbs of Boston (me) will get 3 to 6 of snow, and then lots of rain, but people will be at home and have time to clear it away before kickoff and the flash freeze.

  22. Re. the storm: It never ceases to amaze me how even people who have lived around here for years, and know that within a few hours of even a major snow storm, the roads will probably be passable and the grocery stores open, still feel compelled to prepare for Snowmageddon whenever there is a storm in the forecast. I usually do my grocery shopping on the weekend, but I’ll leave it to Monday. I could have done it earlier today (the snow has just started here), but I didn’t want to have to deal with these folks:

  23. Meme, we are still planning to drive my kid back to his college tomorrow. The forecast calls for rain in the morning, with a big temperature drop off later in the day. I think that is the tricky thing about the forecast – if the temp drop happens while it is still raining, we could end up driving in sleet, ice, or snow. Also once the big freeze happens, any water on the roads will turn to slick ice. I plan to be back home and not driving before it gets dark.

  24. And yes, our grocery store was a zoo when I was there about an hour ago. Milk, bread, eggs, all stripped. My theory is that people go because otherwise they fear that if they wait, everything will be sold out.

  25. Storm update. After much anticipation and worry on the part of town/HS sports people, local weather forecasters, it hasn’t been much yet. A friend and I went to the Dartmouth at Cornell hockey game today (I drove). The start time was moved to 3pm from 7pm which is probably good. The drive there took a little under 2 hours vs the usual 1.5 and the drive back was 2.5. Just prudent driving. Still more snow to come and it’s snowing harder now that I’m home, but I really doubt we’ll get the 12-18″ predicted.

  26. My iPhone glass is shattered & can’t be replaced because the phone itself is bent (has been for a long time, functioned fine). Because of recent discussion here, I think I’m going to get a refurb. I’m trying to decide if I should get an X (latest models) or an 8 (one model back). I can get the features I want either way.

    I know that all refurbished phones have been tested and should be as flawless as brand new phones, and I know that among brand new phones, there are a few lemons. Among current model phones turned in, I expect there are a lot of bad phones, because why else would you return a current model? The 8s, otoh, might have been replaced because people wanted to upgrade to the newest thing.

    Does anyone here have experience that speaks to this? Am I overthinking it?

  27. On winter storms: our feed of the game in OK City last night had a constant crawler of cancellations across the bottom of the screen, pretty much the whole game. Saw a bunch of churches, an event at a mosque, and the real sign of a serious storm, the Catholic parishes canceling bingo! (Reminder: I attended a Catholic high school, and my mother worked her regular bingo shifts all the way through; I believe I’m entitled to make this joke).

  28. Apple is struggling to sell the new phones, and I was able to get a decent price on the XR. I read a lot of reviews and they suggested that it was worth it to spend a little more to get the X vs the 8 because of the features. My stepmom got the X, and DD used most of her holiday gifts to get the XS. All three of us were able to get trade in value for our old phones (6) because Apple really wants to sell the new phones. I am not sure if you will be able to get any trade in value though if your old phone is in bad shape.

    I don’t usually care about all of the new bells and whistles, but the battery life is fantastic on the new phones. I used to charge my phone all of the time, and I never have to worry about it with the new phone. I fully charged my phone last night due to expected power outages, and that is the first time that I fully charged the phone since I purchased it in December.

    The other decision point (besides price) should be how you use the phone. I take a lot of photos and the quality of the photos does improve if you jump to the X.

    If you google 8 vs X – several reviews will come up about the differences between the 8 and the X models. You should jump to the X models if you can get a great deal.

  29. We ended up with about 6” over 36 hours with the lake effect snow continuing off & on for awhile overnight. Now it is frigid.

    I’m glad we didn’t have to deal with ice.

    It’s nice & clear now which I hope will hold for the lunar eclipse tonight.

  30. 14-year-old DS was a huge help shoveling the heavy, wet snow this morning. DH just found out on Friday that he has a torn rotator cuff (he’d been having shoulder pain for a while), so it’s great having DS to back him up. Relating back to our discussion the other day about accepting your limitations as you grow older, DH is adamant about not getting a snow blower, because he is sure that he can rehab his shoulder back to the way it used to be. For now I’m just nodding my head and basically saying, “yes, dear,” but clearly this is an issue that will need to be revisited in the future. Granted, we have only a small sidewalk and driveway, but still…

  31. We had no weather here. I really wonder why this was so hyped in the NYC area. I follow the forecasts on Weather Underground, and at no time was there ever a forecast for more than a little snow and a bunch of rain. Which is pretty much what we got. People, read the weather forecast before panicking! And keep in mind that the weather forecast for say Hudson County is NOT the same forecast as for coastal NYC.

    Drove the kid back to college this afternoon. No traffic so it took 40 minutes each way. We lugged his gear up to his room. I felt like the Bad Mom because the other arriving families brought mega packs of paper towels, shampoos, cleaning products, bottled water and sodas for their kids. All we bought for my kid to take back was a bottle of shampoo and some shaving cream.

  32. Oh, and because of the general panic over the supposed weather, my daughter’s fencing practice got canceled this morning – the facility where they hold practice decided to shut down last night, but no one realized it. All the fencers got there, and even the coach who drove in from Manhattan. But the building was locked.

  33. We had very cruddy weather here, about two inches of snow that was quickly saturated with rain and then froze to a nice crust. We have a long, steep driveway. DS got the snowblower going, made one pass down the driveway and wasn’t able to snowblow back up the driveway because the auger and chute were full of ice, what we got is the worst combination of precipitation for snowblowers. My neighbors had the same experience.

    My brother is in VT this weekend and said the snow there was fantastic. We’re going in two weeks, fingers crossed that VT gets no rain between now and then.

  34. We almost missed the eclipse due to low clouds, but when we could finally see it, DD found it underwhelming.

  35. I woke up early because the wind is so loud and it is non stop. I don’t mind because I am watching another great match from the Australian Open. There have been several great matches this weekend and the one good thing about this weather is that I can stay indoors and watch the matches. We did spend several hours on Sunday decluttering, but we have to go out today to get some stuff done. I can’t wait to go outside – it is 2 degrees right now and the winds are just adding to the nasty day.

  36. We had the closet guy come to see our closets. His verdict was that for the most we are as good as it gets given the space limitations of our older home. We are doing just one change. But, he suggested further decluttering to make the interior Marie Kondo worthy. DD worked on her closet and I think she has convinced DH to take her to the container store for bins.

  37. 0 degrees F here + big wind. I went out around 9 to move the snow that had at one point been off my driveway but which had been blown back on (not as deep and also light and fluffy). My dry cleaner delivers on Monday and he’s out on his route…I called to say no big deal if it’s delayed and found that out.

    I feel bad for the Saints; the blown call with 1:40 to go did change the outcome of the game, IMO. And, though I would have preferred KC over NE, the better team won that one.

    I have today off as a holiday (newly added for 2018) so I’m glad I don’t really have to deal with the weather/being outside unless I motivate to e.g. go to the gym.

    DW and I made a couple of soups yesterday that’ll make 3+ future dinners for us, so we felt productive about that.

    Things look beautiful outside.

  38. Well clouds moved in quickly just as the eclipse was starting, along with heavy lake effect snow. Visibility was so bad that I couldn’t see 1/4 mile, much less any of the moon.

    We went to the eclipse event at the planetarium which was still very enjoyable. I love planetarium shows, maybe even more so now that I live in a light polluted area where few stars are actually visible most of the time. They had some cool exhibits and interactive displays too. DS liked the one where you had to pick the meteorite out of a selection of rocks & the Mars rock which you could briefly hold. (Seems like moon rocks are always encased in glass, so this was a nice change.)

  39. It was 9 below when I left the house this morning, but has climbed all of the way up to +3 and not a cloud in the sky. This weekend was the first time the local xc ski places have been open — we got just enough snow to set a track, and even with 13 degree high the parking lot was mobbed with cars from Chicago. One guy who zipped up the hill past me had to have been at least 70. He said he was a 30-year ski instructor and gave me tips about getting up the hill faster, which made me think of our conversation of a few days past. I hope to see him out there this afternoon, and then he can tell me how to get DOWN the hill safely, which is a much bigger issue for me.
    It’s good to see so many other middle-aged folks out on the trails with the young ones.

  40. We missed all fun snow-type weather, but OMG is it COLD here. Made a huge mistake walking to the gym this morning – the 2” of exposed ankle was absolutely frozen by the time I got home!

    DD got the full brunt of the snow – she was in Vermont skiing with a school group. After Saturday’s ice, she was looking forward to the snow softening it up a but, but of course they just got a giant dump of fresh snow on top of the ice, so she was all over the place. Many pitiful texts this morning about how much she hurts. 😉

  41. It was cloudy most of the day yesterday – but it unexpectedly cleared in the evening and we had a great view of the lunar eclipse which was fun to watch.

    Scarlett – my grandfather and my great aunt (his sister) both had hip replacement surgery the same year. For my grandfather, that was the beginning of the end. He just gave up at that point. He was still in pretty good shape (golf and tennis) – but also a longtime alcoholic. My great-aunt on the other hand fully committed to PT and to getting back to where she was before. And was successful -my brother ran into her (not literally) downhill skiing in Vermont the next year.

  42. p.s. I think my great aunt continued skiing well into her 80’s (she was 95 when she died).

  43. SSM, amazing to hear such divergent results between siblings, even so many decades after they left the nest.

  44. Scarlett, are you collecting hip replacement stories? I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned my parents’ story on here before–he got his hip replaced in early Oct, was biking off to tennis 3.5 months later. He is an extremely compliant patient, and I believe he did all of his PT as directed. My mom corrected his form on at-home exercises, and also made sure that he got up and actually used it in a “normal” daily-life kind of way.

  45. @Scarlett – My 70yo FIL was just asking us to go X country skiing with him. I haven’t gone in years. I would think it would be a good activity for middle-aged and up active adults in some ways as it feels easier on the joints than running, but it is definitely more intense than walking or easy cycling.

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