News of the Weird

There really is such a site as News of the Weird collected from the mainstream press by the Editors of Andrew McMeel. You can read it online, but be careful that you enter in all the above. There’s a lot of weird news out there. You wouldn’t want to be reading false weird news.

I have followed News of the Weird for many years. It used to make me thankful that my life is as boring and uneventful as it is. However, as the world has changed these past few years, I wonder how the Editors of Andrew McMeel distinguish weird news from all the other news that comes our way. It seems to me that what used to be really, really weird news is now just plain ole news.

A staple of News of the Weird over the years has been stories of jilted or jealous lovers venting their feelings. Often these stories involve damage to cars – filling them with the contents of a cement-mixer truck, taking a baseball bat to the headlights, or driving their ex’s vehicle out into the ocean during low-tide and leaving it there.

Another staple of weird news involves stories of criminal stupidity. Robbers shooting themselves during the commission of a crime or thieves tunneling into the Sunglass Hut when they were aiming to break into a nearby bank. One of my favorites is when thieves break into a house while the owners are away. They bag all the valuables, but then because a midnight snack would hit the spot, they decide to see what’s in the fridge.  Thus, the police catch them eating ice cream and watching Netflix in the family room.

Given the above, lots of judges get in on the act. Darren Young, 30, of Kahalui, Hawaii violated a protection order taken out by his ex-girlfriend. He sent her 144 less-than-flattering texts. Judge Rhonda Loo sentenced Young to write down 144 nice things about his ex, and to do so without repeating any words. “For every nasty thing you said about her, you’re going to say a nice thing.” I wonder which dictionary he’s using.

Animals are also involved in weird happenings. “Quick-thinking paramedics in Dorset England saved the life of a man whose fishing outing went south when a Dover sole jumped down his throat and blocked his windpipe. Sam Quilliam, 28, had just caught the 5 ½-inch fish and went to give it a kiss when it wiggled free and lodged in his throat.”

Maybe you are like me and wonder why Sam was intent on kissing a fish. Maybe he thought there was a possibility of it turning into his princess. (Something like the story of the Frog Prince.) Or maybe it’s a local custom.  I could understand his wanting to kiss a fish if it was a 24” trout. But the only explanation I can come up with for kissing a Dover sole is that he is a really poor fisherman, and the largest fish he’d caught prior to this was a minnow.

Sam’s story continues. “I ran around the pier like a headless chicken and then passed out,” Quilliam told The Guardian. (Maybe he’s one of those musicians who bite the heads off chickens. They’d think nothing about kissing a fish.) “When first responders arrived, Quilliam was not breathing, but friends were performing CPR.”

Another question. These English fishermen don’t seem to care where they place their lips, but mouth-to-mouth on a buddy has to be for them far worse than kissing a fish. And wouldn’t blowing air into Quilliam’s throat make matters worse? Maybe they were just doing chest compressions when the paramedics arrived. They’d never heard of the Heimlich Maneuver, which German fishermen use whenever they go to kiss a Dusseldorf sole.

In any event, “Paramedic Matt Harrison said, ‘It was clear that we needed to get the fish out or the patient was not going to survive.’” (Don’t you love how the English are so precise with their diagnosis? I can just imagine paramedic Harrison saying such a thing on Masterpiece Theater.) “I was able to eventually dislodge the tip of the tail and very carefully so as to not break the tail off. I had to remove it – although the fish’s barbs and gills were getting stuck on the way back up.” (No joke. You ought to see one of these barby Dover sole.) Finally, the fish came out in one piece. You’d think that Quilliam would have a bad taste in his mouth when it comes to fishing, but the resuscitated fisherman now plans on continuing his quest for the elusive 6” Dover sole as soon as he gets his strength back.

I get the newsprint edition of News of the Weird once a month. This month there was also mention of how KFC fans in Japan are entering a contest to win bath salts infused with KFC’s “11 herbs and spices.” And last month, a cartoon Vanna White, from Wheel of Fortune, answered the question that all America has asked these past decades, “Why Vannamania?” Her answer, “I never understood it. I still don’t.” Weird.

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