Mad Minute stories from Monday, February 12th

PARIS (AP) — The Paris public transport company RATP says a baby boy born in a suburban train will get free rides in the French capital until he is 25.

Live-tweeting the event Monday, the RATP said the baby was born in a train in the center of Paris, disrupting traffic on the RER A line. Rescue workers took care of the mother and child and brought them to the nearest hospital. News of the “unannounced birth” was displayed on Paris train traffic screens.

The RER A line issued its “sincere congratulations” to the baby’s mother — and tweeted that traffic was back to normal.

Lots of Parisians happily welcomed the birth on social media. Others, however, noted the RATP’s gift wasn’t all good news, saying that Paris train traffic is frequently disrupted by strikes and other incidents.


NEWBURYPORT, Mass. (AP) - Police say a Massachusetts man fled naked from a hospital, broke into a nearby home and attacked its resident with a hammer.

Newburyport Police say 26-year-old Robert Girard, of Amesbury, fled Thursday night from Anna Jaques Hospital after removing his IVs and GPS monitoring bracelet. Officers found him after a resident living near the hospital reported a man broke into her home and attacked her partner with a hammer.

The victim, a 50-year-old man, was treated at the hospital and released Friday. Police didn't disclose his name or the extent of his injuries.

Girard pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and aggravated burglary at his arraignment Friday. He was held without bail and will appear to court again sometime next week.



They are all over the East Coast. They even have a name. The "Pittsburgh potty," wall-less toilets often found out in the open, in the middle of the basement, dates back to before the 1900s, according to one architect.

"If you make use of it, it's actually quite convenient," Bill Martin said. 

In Pittsburgh, the theory is these no-privacy toilets were heavily used.

"The legend is that it was for steel workers," Pittsburgh Potty owner Colleen Krajewski told Fox News.

Photographer Ted Zellers, who is writing a book about the phenomena, has seen more than 100 basement toilets in Pittsburgh, and he said seeing a lone toilet out in the open is not unusual.

"Steel workers would come home. They would clean up down in the basement before they came upstairs," Zellers said.

Zeller's book featuring the Pittsburgh Potty was inspired by the many toilets he saw when he lived in that city.

Martin said he's seen several Pittsburgh Potties in homes and buildings throughout his career. He offers a different reason for the toilet's existence: a cheap and easy solution for backups at the time.

"The less expensive substitute was the lone toilet in the basement," Martin said. "This way if there was a backup, it would manifest itself at the toilet in the basement, and it would not back up all the way into the living space…People didn't finish basements years ago for specifically this reason." 

Since piping improvements after World War II, Martin said there was no longer a need for these Pittsburgh potties, but they've managed to stick around.

"I see them in the Northern New Jersey area, I see them in New England, I see them in D.C., in Philadelphia, even across the country," Martin said.

"Some people would install a sink near it," Martin adds. "Obviously that makes it useful."

While Zellers doesn't completely buy into the steel worker narrative, he is convinced that the blue-collar workers are responsible for the toilets' survival. 

"Even though I don't think it's a cause of the toilets, I do believe it is a way that these toilets were used and valued by a lot of people," Zellers told Fox News.

Today, some have left the lone toilets as-is and others have turned it into a decorative bathroom. Krajewski said the previous homeowner of her Pittsburgh home, whom she said has no ties to the steel industry, had remodeled the basement toilet before she bought it and put a wall around it.

"She had put framed art and some decorative lettering on the door," Krajewski said. The toilet stall has the word "loo" written on it. "I added a sink and a chandelier and a pretty mirror so that you feel refreshed after using the bathroom." The house has one other bathroom on the second floor.

For Zellers, being on the documentation side of this phenomenon that he said has very little records was not always easy.

"One man was quite concerned when I arrived, and without expression or changing anything, he just closed the door over my face," Zellers remembers. But he adds people were often friendly or at least curious to know more about the project.

Krajewski said she did not get a visit from Zellers, but she suspects why.

"As far as Pittsburgh potties go, this is the least scary that I've seen and I am comfortable using it," Krajewski said of her makeshift bathroom.


BERLIN (AP) — A couple in eastern Germany have gotten married in a swing dangling from a motorcycle atop a tightrope, 14 meters (46 feet) above the ground.

The German news agency dpa reported that a pastor standing in a cage atop a fire service ladder presided over the wedding of Nicole Backhaus and Jens Knorr in the town of Stassfurt on Saturday. The couple exchanged rings in the air but, for safety's sake, waited until they were back on the ground to kiss.

More than 3,000 people watched the wedding in the sky, which took place during a local festival.

The tightrope was stretched between the town wall and a tower, and the motorbike was ridden by Falko Traber, a member of a family of artists.


A city in Kansas is reportedly demanding $132,000 from the parents of a 5-year-old boy who knocked over a glass sculpture.

The piece of art, "Aphrodite di Kansas City," was on display at an Overland Park community center when the boy damaged it on May 19, the Kansas City Star reported. He was attending a wedding reception with his parents at the time.

"He probably hugged it," the boy's mother Sarah Goodman told the paper. "Maybe my son hugged a torso because he's a loving, sweet nice boy who just graduated from preschool."

Overland Park's insurance company sent a letter accusing Goodman and her husband of negligence for failing to keep an eye on the boy, the paper reported.

"I don't want to diminish the value of their art, but I can't pay for that," Goodman told the paper.

She said her son didn't damage the sculpture on purpose. She also said the city should have protected it better.

Kansas City artist Bill Lyons created the sculpture. He told the paper it was uninsured and damaged beyond repair.

"I want to be reimbursed for the amount of time that I spent on it and for what I think it is worth," he said.

Goodman said that she has presented the bill to her insurance company to resolve, according to the paper.


June 18 (UPI) -- A gathering of nearly 20,000 bees swarmed over a Times Square surveillance camera on Sunday, the New York City Police Department announced.

Police responded to the bees located at 42nd Street and Broadway and quickly removed them before they were sent to a safe location, ABC 7 reported.

There was no reports of anyone getting stung, with the NYPD stating that no bee was left behind.

It remains unknown how or why the bees made their way over to Times Square and the camera.

Recently, 70,000 to 80,000 bees were removed from a 76-year-old woman's home in Houston who has had issues with the insects periodically over the 40 years that she's lived in the house.


June 17 (UPI) -- A Georgia grandmother strangled a rabid bobcat to death with her bare hands.

DeDe Phillips, 67, had just put a bumper sticker on the back of her truck that read: "Women who behave rarely make history" and was about to take a photo of it when the bobcat crept into her backyard, facing her.

"My neighbor's dog was barking and it drew my attention," Phillips told the Athens Banner-Herald. "I saw the cat and I took a picture. The cat took two steps and was on top of me. ... It came for my face."

But Phillips fought the cat off.

"As soon as it took the first step, I was in trouble and I knew it," she told CBS 46-TV. "When it got to the pole, it leaped on me...I grabbed it by the shoulders and pushed it back away from me...and I took it down."

The bobcat bit and scratched but Phillips wrapped her hands around its neck and didn't let go.

"I strangled it to death," she said.

Animal Control officers came by later and found the bobcat was rabid. Phillips said she will require costly medical attention and her family set-up an online fundraiser to help pay for the treatment.


ENGLAND - Talk about a special delivery! A woman in England made a rather unique request for her order after finding a spider inside her home. Demi Sweeney texted Deliveroo's help line, asking if her delivery driver could help her rid of the spider if she placed an order.

"(Sounds silly but this is a serious question) I have a huge phobia of spiders, there's one in the corridor of our house near the door," Sweeney said. "If I order food through Deliveroo is it possible at all if the driver could get rid of it?"

The company responded to her, stating that that they couldn't make any promises, but they would see what they could do.

"The only thing is, our driver may be more afraid of (spiders) than you are," they told her. 

Sweeney placed an order for KFC, hopeful that the delivery driver would come to her rescue. Lucky for her, he agreed, standing on a chair to reach the spider, and squished it. 

She later thanked him on Twitter, calling Joe a 'lifesaver.'


June 14 (UPI) -- An animal rehab facility in Minnesota was surprised to find a rescue kitten that was brought in was actually a bobcat.

The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota shared a photo of the kitten that was brought in by a "very observant client" who heard it crying for help in a parking lot.

"After bringing home the stray kitten and listening to it, he started suspecting it wasn't a domestic breed," the center said.

About 24 hours later staff at the center determined the kitten was actually a bobcat.

Upon realizing the kitten wasn't a standard house cat, staff determined the kitten was generally in good health but dehydrated and should be transferred to a different facility.

"She'll spend a few days with us stabilizing then we'll transfer her to another rehabber who works with bobcats," the center said.


June 18 (UPI) -- The late Michael Jackson's former elephant Ali, temporally escaped from his enclosed home at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in Florida.

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens shared news of Ali's escape on Facebook Sunday noting that the elephant slipped through a gate that was accidentally left open, leading him to an area behind the giraffe and elephant barn.

"While guests were never in danger, safety protocols went into place and and Zoo staff immediately jumped into action to get the big guy back where he belonged. His keepers were able to quickly and safely walk Ali back into his enclosure with some food encouragement," the zoo said of how they were able to bring Ali back to where he belonged after breaking out for 20 minutes.

Ali came to the zoo in 1997 after residing at Jackson's famed Neverland Ranch. The legendary singer had a full private zoo at his estate with Jackson sending many of the animals to live at wildlife enclosures and public zoos before his death.

Jackson also formerly kept another elephant named Gypsy that was gifted to him by Elizabeth Taylor in 1991.


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