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WiGWAG: Pinball ban lifted, Walker quotes Timbuk3, and more

Only in Bethlehem

Police in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, say a woman took a baby Jesus from a Nativity scene and dropped the figurine off at a nearby hospital. The note she left said the baby had been “neglected” by his parents, “Joseph and Mary Christ.” Police used surveillance video to identify the 49-year-old woman, who said she was just joking. But she’s facing charges of institutional vandalism and theft of the statue, which was valued at $2,700.

Bing, bing, bing

Kokomo, Indiana, recently lifted its 60-year-old ban on pinball. Mayor Greg Goodnight signed the ordinance repealing the ban at a local record shop, the American Dream Hi-Fi. The shop has two pinball machines — Wizard CB Charlie and Flying Aces — and apparently the free games offered to customers were illegal. During the signing ceremony, the mayor invited the police chief to enjoy a friendly game. He also couldn’t resist repeating the lyrics to The Who’s 1969 hit, “Pinball Wizard.” “This is pretty ironic. As we look back, I was reflecting that ever since I was a young boy, I played the silver ball. From Southway up to Morgan Street, I think I played them all,” Goodnight said.

Dumb, dumb, dumb

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was singing a different tune. The Republican governor delivered an economic speech in December and three times quoted lyrics from “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades,” a 1986 hit by Timbuk3 about a pending nuclear holocaust. Yes, Walker said with a laugh, he was aware of the tune’s apocalyptic meaning. “That’s why I didn’t quote the whole song,” he told reporters after the speech.

Singing the blues

We don’t usually look to House Speaker Paul Ryan for a political pick-me-up, but the Wisconsin Republican delivered one in late December, hinting the state can easily go from red to blue. Ryan, talking with Milwaukee shock jock Charlie Sykes, said Wisconsin’s progressive political traditions mean the state is up for grabs election after election. “You can’t just rest on laurels and assume everyone listens to the same shows and thinks the same thing, because they don’t here in Wisconsin,” he said. “And you constantly have to be energetic and persuasive and really attuned to your principles and your convictions and show how those applied to the problems, come up with better solutions.” Will do, Mr. Speaker.

Special delivery

WiGWAG experienced multiple holiday hassles trying to ship and track wine via UPS and FedEx — seems an adult on the receiving end must sign for a package containing alcohol. We wonder, does the same go for assault rifles? A New York couple expecting the arrival of a toy airplane in advance of Christmas accepted a UPS delivery that turned out to be a semi-automatic rifle, scope, stand and ammo clip. The package also contained copies of an Arizona man’s driver’s license and concealed-weapons permit. That’s one way to put holiday “awe” on a kid’s face.

Doctor ma’am

Your physician’s gender could make a difference in your health. A massive study of older patients hospitalized for common illnesses found about 11 percent of those treated mostly by women died within 30 days of entering the hospital, versus 11.5 percent of those treated by men. Although that difference sounds small, the all-male research team estimated that there would be about 32,000 fewer deaths each year in the United States if male physicians performed at the same level as their female peers. The study didn’t explain the cause for the difference, but we can guess. Are you listening guys?

How about ‘Vermin of the Year’?

We all know Donald Trump’s disdain for what some people call “political correctness” and others refer to as “common decency.” So he was upset when Time magazine named him “Person of the Year.” As Trump explained at his “victory tour” rallies, if not for political correctness, he would have been named “Man of the Year.” He overlooks the fact that, if not for the magazine’s civility, he would more likely have been named “Self-Indulgent, Out-of-Control Crybaby of the Year,” “Petulant Scam Artist of the Century” or any number of other unflattering epithets.

Reptilian décor

Speaking of vermin, a woman in Australia found a 3-foot-long tiger snake hiding in her Christmas tree. The reptile was remarkably well camouflaged, almost blending in with the tinsel. A pest handler who goes by the moniker “Snake Catcher Victoria” trapped the serpent and released it in the wild. The catcher said he’d removed snakes from many places, including toilets, but never before from a Christmas tree.

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