In Turkmenistan’s capital, Ashgabat, drivers of black cars are facing high costs to repaint their cars white or silver after President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov banned black vehicles because he thinks the color white brings good luck. Police began seizing dark-colored vehicles in late December, and owners have to apply for permission to repaint and re-register them. The average wage in Ashgabat is about $300 a month (or 1,200 manats); one resident informed Radio Free Europe that he was quoted 7,000 manats for a paint job but was told that the price would rise within a week to 11,000 manats. “Even if I don’t spend any money anywhere, I will be forced to hand over pretty much my entire annual salary just to repaint my car!” he said. The man’s black car, incidentally, has also been impounded.
Public Safety—Tennessee Style
Tennessee’s legislature has a newly renovated home in Nashville’s Cordell Hull Building, so Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and House Speaker Beth Harwell have been busy outlining some new rules, to wit: “Hand-carried signs and signs on hand sticks” will be “strictly prohibited because they pose a serious safety hazard.” Animals, too, will be turned away at the door, reported The Tennessean on Thursday, Dec. 21. But, unfazed by the obviously irony, McNally and Harwell will continue a policy they enacted last year: Holders of valid gun permits will still be able to bring their weapons into the building.
News of the Weird—Taco Bell Style
n Tampa, Fla., resident Douglas Jon Francisco, 28, was arrested for DUI after he mistook a Spring Hill bank drive-thru for a Taco Bell drive-thru. On Wednesday, Jan. 17, around 5 p.m., the bank branch manager noticed a passed-out driver in a blue Hyundai sedan in the drive-thru lane. When the manager banged on the window, Francisco woke up and tried to order a burrito, according to the Tampa Bay Times. After being informed that the bank drive-thru was not for ordering fast food, Francisco drove around to the front of the building and parked, where deputies later found him and administered a field sobriety test, which he failed. “He made several statements that were differing from reality,” a Hernando County Sheriff’s deputy reported.
n A Facebook event calling for a candlelight vigil to remember a destroyed Taco Bell restaurant in Montgomery, Ala., started as a joke. But according to UPI, about 100 people showed up on Sunday, Jan. 21, to pay their respects to the popular fast-food restaurant, which had burned down four days before the vigil after electrical equipment sparked a fire.
Dog Shoots Man
Outdoorsman Sergey Terekhov, 64, had just let his dogs out to run before a January hunting outing in Russia’s remote Saratov region when one of the dogs bounded back to him and clawed the trigger of Terekhov’s double-barreled shotgun, shooting the man in the abdomen. The Telegraph reported that his brother rushed Terekhov to the hospital, but he died less than an hour after the shooting.
Bradley Hardison, 27, of Elizabeth City, N.C., achieved minor celebrity status in 2014 when he won a doughnut-eating contest sponsored by the Elizabeth City Police Department, whereby he had consumed eight glazed doughnuts in two minutes. At the time, police had been looking for Hardison as a suspect in break-ins going back to 2013, so they arrested him, and he received a suspended sentence that ended in October 2017. The Virginian-Pilot reported that Hardison was charged on Thursday, Jan. 18, with robbing a Dunkin’ Donuts store.
I Love You, You Love Me…
If you’ve been wondering whatever happened to Barney the Dinosaur, the Daily Mail has the answer for you. David Joyner, 54, romped inside the big purple suit for 10 years on the 1990s “Barney & Friends” TV show on PBS. Today, Joyner is a tantric sex guru in Los Angeles who says he can unite his clients’ “body, mind and spirit through tantric massage and unprotected sex.” Joyner credits his tantric training with helping him endure the 120-degree temperatures inside the Barney suit.