Mental Floss

The Weird Week in Review

Miss Cellania
Coinneach Combe
Coinneach Combe / Coinneach Combe

Penis Island Sign to be Changed

A sign welcoming visitors to the Scottish Isle of Bute in both English and Gaelic has been standing for around nine years, but it was only recently that officials were told of a translation error -actually just a missing accent mark- that renamed the island Penis Island.

Àdhamh Ó Broin, a native dialect campaigner and Gaelic coach for the TV series Outlander, said: “It’s meant to be the genitive case, not the genital case. A genitive case is when one noun follows another and its form changes. Bhòid is Bute but Bhoid is penis. You would need the accent over the ‘O’. It says ‘Welcome to the doorway to the beauty of Penis Island’.” He added: “You know when people speak Chinese the wrong way and they end up saying ‘Your mother is a dog’ instead of ‘The rice is nice’? It’s like that.” After a photograph of the sign went viral, local council members promised to investigate how the sign ended up that way. The sign will be corrected as soon as possible.   Bute councillor Len Scoullar, an independent, said: “It makes us look bloody stupid.

To be fair, only 1.1% of Scottish residents speak Gaelic. And those people probably thought it was funny.

Residents Turn Sinkhole into Fish Pond

Detroit isn’t known for efficient city services these days. A 14-foot-long hole in Hull Street on the city’s east side was cut by a construction crew years ago and never repaired. The hole eventually filled with water, and residents stocked it with fish. Sonia "Auntie Na" Brown, director of a neighborhood outreach program, says the fish came from children who caught them at a park, but a water department worker said he thinks the motive was to make city government look bad. The fish pond was only discovered last week when the water department came out to investigate a leak from a nearby home. The fish were relocated, some to a tub in Auntie Na’s garden, the rest to a local pond. City officials launched an investigation to find out who dug the hole and who was responsible for repairing it. Meanwhile, the city planned to repair the hole in the road.

That’s Not How You Inflate a Tire

A mechanic in Scarborough, North Yorks, UK, saw a strange sight at about 7 a.m. on August 9th. A driver pulled up to the garage in a car with a flat tire. The man was trying to inflate the tire, but he was using the garage’s vacuum cleaner! When that didn’t work, he grabbed a water hose to see if that would do the job. The mechanic called police, who came and arrested 21-year-old Mateusz Biazik. Biazik registered alcohol at twice the legal limit for driving on a Breathalyzer. Biazik didn’t think he was drunk, because he hadn’t had a drink since the night before. He and a group of friends were starting on a day trip, and Biazik was asked to drive because he was the only one with a valid license. He no longer has a valid license, as the local magistrate remanded his driving privileges for 18 months and fined him £380. 

Seaside Proposals with Diamond Rings Tempt Fate

Presenting your new fiancée with an engagement ring at the beach, on a pier, or in a boat should be a well-known faux pas by now, but men cannot resist a romantic seaside location for a proposal. The latest such disaster happened when nervous Matthew Picca proposed to Kayla Harrity at a restaurant over the water in Southport, North Carolina. He dropped the ring on the deck, and it tumbled between the boards into the ocean.

Kayla says everyone was in total shock and speechless. "I covered my face and began to cry because I knew my boyfriend was devastated," she said. "Matthew did not even get to say anything to me before the ring fell into the ocean."   Almost immediately, Kayla says, several people went down to the boat slip underneath the bar and jumped in the water and started looking for the ring. Kayla's brother-in-law, sister and Matthew all jumped into the water, fully clothed, to search for the ring.

The group of searchers in the water grew, and an hour and a half later, the ring was found! Since so many people had helped in the search, Matthew was obliged to propose again for the benefit of the crowd.

Runaway Goat Causes Wild Goose Chase

A security breach at Adelaide Airport in Australia Monday morning caused a few minutes of mirth among passengers, but no real danger. A goat that was being loaded into a crate escaped and led airport employees on a 15-minute chase across the tarmac. The caper unfolded in full view of waiting passengers, recording the chase on phones behind the airport windows. The goat was finally captured and an airport spokesman said that no flights were delayed.