Pigs, gun tattoos topped 2014 New England oddities

FILE -- In this March 18, 2014 photograph, Michael Smith, left, bearing a realistic-looking tattoo of a handgun on his stomach, stands beside a Somerset County Sheriff deputy outside his home in Norridgewock, Maine. Smith was arrested Friday, June 13, 2014, after he allegedly showed up at a deputy’s home with a real gun in his waistband and drugs in his backpack. He was charged with stealing prescription narcotics from his girlfriend and released from the Somerset County Jail on $1,000 cash bail. (AP Photo/Morning Sentinel, David Leaming, File)

BOSTON (AP) — Pigs nearly managed to fly in Connecticut, terrorized hikers in Maine and drew a police response with squeals that turned out to be X-rated. It was the Chinese year of the horse, but porkers hogged the headlines in New England in 2014.

There was no shortage of weirdness involving other species, too, including Homo sapiens. Here’s your guide to some of the region’s goofiest stories from the past 12 months:

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HERE, PIGGY PIGGY

U.S. Airways ordered a leashed pig off a plane at Connecticut’s Bradley International Airport after the crew decided it was disruptive. Its owner had tethered it to her armrest when it relieved itself while running back and forth. Meanwhile, in Maine, an 80-pound runaway domestic pig chased children and adults on a walking trail before it could be captured. And officers responding to reports of screaming at a home found an amorous boar squealing with joy after he’d been placed in a pen with five sows in heat.

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HUMAN’S RACE

A candidate who legally changed his name to human — with a lowercase H — lost his bid to run for office in New Hampshire. The would-be legislator formerly known as David Montenegro lost in the primary, cutting short his campaign to make the state House of Representatives just a little more human.

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HIGH-CALIBER TATTOO

A Maine man caused a stir when he ordered a tree removal crew off his property and they told police he had a gun. It turned out to be a realistic-looking tattoo of a handgun, inked on his belly to appear as though a weapon were tucked into his waistband. When he was arrested in a separate incident a few months later, he was packing the real thing.

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TIGHTY WHITIES

“Sleepwalker,” a lifelike sculpture of a man in an eyes-closed, zombie-like trance and wearing nothing but underpants, drew a mixed reaction from the women of Wellesley College. Some students called it threatening and demanded its removal from campus; others posed with it for selfies. Vandals eventually defaced it with yellow paint.

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ARMED WITH A SPUD

Providence police arrested a man who allegedly wielded a potato during a robbery attempt. Authorities said the suspect used the spud to pretend he had a gun when he demanded money from a convenience store and a dry cleaner. The convenience store manager chased him off with a baseball bat, and a dry cleaner employee gave him a fake $20 from a decoy register.

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WHO’S YOUR DADDY?

A Connecticut woman became concerned when she heard someone calling “Daddy” repeatedly near a school. She looked for a child and instead found a large green parrot up in a tree. Firefighters and animal control captured the bird, which they said never stopped saying, “Daddy,” ”Hello,” ”What?” and other words.

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USE YAH BLINKAH

Electronic highway message boards across Massachusetts started admonishing motorists — also known as drivahs — to “Use Yah Blinkah.” That’s Boston-speak for blinker, otherwise known as a turn signal. The message was among several chosen in a state contest. Other winnahs included: “Make yah Ma proud, wear yah seatbelt;” and “Put down the phone! Your LOLs and OMGs can wait.”

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DOGGONE DOG

A pet psychic, a dozen volunteers, traps and bacon couldn’t retrieve this golden retriever. Three-year-old Murphy ran off after he was spooked by a car accident in a mountainous corner of Vermont, eluding pursuers for months despite numerous sightings, including some captured on camera.

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LOCATION, LOCATION

Talk about a lot of d’oh! A Rhode Island developer who mistakenly built a $1.8 million waterfront house on parkland in Narragansett was ordered to remove it. Four Twenty Corp. began building the home in 2009 but didn’t discover the error until it tried to sell it in 2011. The company argued it shouldn’t be penalized for an innocent surveying mistake.

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SPACED-OUT SPEAKER

Rick Mastracchio delivered the commencement address at his alma mater, the University of Connecticut, and his remarks were out of this world. The astronaut recorded the speech from the International Space Station, and it was shown on video boards at UConn’s Gampel Pavilion to 5,000 people, including more than 400 graduating seniors.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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