It's been a banner year for WTF stories, a category we helped define a few years back with “Today In WTF” headlines.
If you enjoy head-scratching stories, you really couldn't ask for a better front-row seat than the one journalists get in Los Angeles.
We have it all — victims set on fire (accidentally or not), people who take hit-and-run victims for horrific rides on their hoods, even deer being skinned in posh neighborhoods. Read on:
5. Deer skinning: If you recently moved on up to the Pacific Palisades, you have arrived to a community with some of the highest property values anywhere. Arnold Schwarzenegger is (or at least was) your neighbor. So, apparently, is a bloody, knife-wielding guy who was spotted last month “dressing down” a deer that was a road-kill victim. The man was planning to eat it. Because of the proximity to the Santa Monica Mountains and the abundant wildlife nearby, this isn't unusual or illegal. Just surreal.
4. Driving with dying or injured people on your hood. This year we had not one but two stories of hit-and-run drivers who allegedly kept going despite having victims on their hoods. Only in L.A? A recent LA Weekly cover story noted that nearly one of every two accidents in town involves a hit-and-run allegation.
Last month Torrance cops alleged that Sherri Wilkens drove drunk with a dying man on her hood … for two miles. Then, this month, El Segundo police said motorist Stephen Jimenez didn't want to have his Mercedes repo'd, so he struck the repo guy and drove with him on his hood for three blocks. Allegedly.
3. Getting set on fire. A California magician told us he was unceremoniously set on fire, or at least his face was, when he appeared on a Dominican television show in fall. As Wayne Houchin, a frequent guest performer at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, was known for his stunts, we had our doubts. But he told the Weekly, “This was absolutely not a stunt gone wrong. It was completely unexpected.” In fact, reports indicated an arrest warrant was issued for the show host.
2. Dumb and drunk. If you're drunk and filled with romance for our beautiful city, we don't blame you. Just be careful how you take it all in. In the case this fall of a 25-year-old who had one too many, he climbed into a Hollywood Hills neighborhood to get a better view of our metropolis, only to become impaled on a wrought-iron fence. Firefighters had to cut off the piece of fence that skewered his leg and send it with the guy to the hospital for removal. Really.
See the next page for our number one WTF of 2012!
1. Blazing bikinis. Our fave WTF of the year came from a statement by the makers of Banana Boat: Some of their sunscreen products do the opposite of what you like, which is to protect yourself from burning. No, these particular ray-blockers might set you on fire. The only good thing about this was that the warning came after summer had ended, when most you had already stashed your sunscreen away (hopefully away from an open flame).