TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

In 2012, Florida was a state where a lifeguard got fired for saving a life, a woman got arrested for riding a manatee and a man repeatedly used 911 as a phone sex service.

Think that's weird? It gets worse and more tragic.

Rudy Eugene Face Eating Suspect, Ronald Poppo Face Eating Victim In one of the state's most horrifying stories of the year, a man stripped a homeless man naked and attacked him in Miami, chewing off most of his face before police fatally shot him. And it wasn't the only story of its kind. In Manatee County, deputies used multiple Tasers to subdue a naked man who bit off part of another man's arm.

Later in the year a man won a roach-eating contest outside a Deerfield Beach pet store and then dropped dead in front of the store when body parts of the dozens of roaches he swallowed blocked his airway.

"We tend to be a magnet from every direction for all kinds of sketchery," said Billy Corben, a documentary film director whose works include "Cocaine Cowboys" about Miami's cocaine wars in the 1980s. "It's very late in the game where we go, `That dude? I guess he seemed kind of weird.'"

Gen. David Petraeus, Paula Broadwell Corben, whose "The Billy Pulpit" website compiles weird Florida news, said Floridians tend to show up in high numbers on "The Jerry Springer Show" and "America's Most Wanted." And odd stories elsewhere always seem to have a Florida tie -- like former CIA director David Petraeus's extramarital affair being exposed through a Tampa socialite. And when anti-virus software founder John McAfee ran from Belizean authorities who wanted to question him about the slaying of a neighbor, he wound up in Miami Beach, where he shopped, ate sushi and posed for photos with tourists.

"The state seems to either passively or directly endorse all of this lunacy in some way or another," Corben said.

Then again, this is the state where Gov. Rick Scott mistakenly gave the media a phone sex number to promote a meningitis hot line.

gov After a broadcaster posted it, at least one caller was greeted with a recording of "Hello boys..." from a lusty sounding lady.

Several gaffes involved hunting Floridians.

There were the two guys in Santa Rosa County who used a bow and arrow to kill a neighbor's pet turkey, which they planned to eat on Thanksgiving. Then there was a Flagler County man who shot his girlfriend in the legs because he thought she was a wild hog.

A mother and daughter were sentenced to two months in jail for using two dogs to kill a farm-raised pig in their backyard. They posted video of the attack on Facebook, which led to their arrest.

Ah, Facebook! It caused trouble for several other Floridians.

A Sarasota County man was kicked off a jury after a judge learned he sent the defendant a Facebook friend request. The juror further infuriated the judge with a Facebook post bragging about getting dismissed from jury duty. He was given three days in jail.

A Manatee County music teacher was issued a verbal warning for a Facebook conversation in which she described an 8-year-old student as the "evolutionary link between orangutans and humans." Facebook A high school science teacher also had some explaining to do when she put a cone-shaped dog collar on at least eight students and the "cone of shame" photos appeared on Facebook.

Those weren't the only strange events in Florida schools.

A Plant City teacher was charged with trying to hire a hit man to kill another teacher he suspected was spreading rumors about him.

And a man showed up at his kindergartener's school to retrieve a bag of marijuana and a scale he left in the boy's backpack. More evidence that pot affects short-term memory? An 18-year-old Tampa woman was charged with DUI and marijuana possession three times in less than three weeks, the last two times on back-to-back days.

Police: Drunk man on horse charged Bunnell police charged a man with riding a horse while intoxicated after he led officers on a half-hour chase, while a 52-year-old St. Petersburg woman was arrested after police found photos of her riding a manatee.

Floridians also showed that they'll steal just about anything. An Ocala woman told police thieves stole her Thanksgiving turkey from a freezer in her garage; a man was charged in Lakeland after police said he stole two swan eggs from a nest and cooked them; about 150,000 baby clams were reported stolen in Lee County; and a Miami-Dade man had 500 canaries stolen from his home.