It’s been about six months now since longtime “News of the Weird” writer Chuck Shepherd decided to call it quits, which means it’s been about six months since we’ve taken up the reigns and delivered you our “Bizarro Briefs” right from the Advocate newsroom. Here are some of our favorites from over the course of this bizarro year!
Watch Where You Sit (published July 10)
A 25-year-old Jacksonville, Florida, woman was surprised when a 38-year-old man came to her door in a panic and ran straight to the bathroom. She followed him and saw he had a gunshot wound to his penis. The man told her he accidentally sat on a firearm that was on the driver’s seat of his car. She took him to the hospital where he underwent surgery.
A Real Shit Show (published July 17)
Performers often shoot for an explosive performance; what patrons at a popular Canadian strip club witnessed, however, was explosive diarrhea. Dancers at a Winnipeg club came down with diarrhea after eating from the free buffet, and multiple dancers lost control of their bowels on stage, according to the Alberta Times. One unnamed witness described what he saw as a stream of brown liquid that “gushed over the stage.” Some guests vomited while others ran for the exits. The dancers themselves had a difficult time escaping. As another witness observed, “high heels and diarrhea really don’t mix.”
A Call For Bacon Bounty Hunters (published August 9)
A Canadian farmer is looking for the guy who stole $1,000 worth of power tools from his farm in Nova Scotia. The reward: about five pounds of bacon. Melvin Burns of Moo Nay Farms also had some words for the thief, or the other thief who stole about $5,000 worth of pigs and hens earlier this summer: if you come clean, you can get a job helping out on the farm. “If they needed money that badly, we could find them something to do and help them out,” he told CBC News in Canada.
I Say Tomato, You Say Illegal Drug (published Sept. 5)
In the early morning, a Kansas family awoke to pounding on the front door and calls to open up. When the father opened the door, he was immediately confronted with seven members of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, who pointed guns at him and his family and proceeded to search the house for marijuana they had been advised was inside. What they found was a hydroponic tomato garden that father and son were growing as an educational project. What the sheriff’s office didn’t count on was that both parents were former CIA agents. That was 2012. Since then the family has sued the county, city, and the officers involved. Earlier this summer, a three judge panel ruled in favor of the family, stating that the raid was based on “junk science, an incompetent investigation, and a publicity stunt.” The judgement continued, “The Fourth Amendment does not condone this conduct, and neither can I.”
Dealing with the 1 Percent (published Sept. 18)
The Pasco County Sheriff’s office in Florida wasn’t so sure every one of the 54,000 people who said they were going to the Facebook event, “Shoot at Hurricane Irma,” on Sept. 10 were joking. Feeling threatened by the hurricane, the organizer suggested that residents “show Irma that we shoot first,” in an apparent reference to the state’s Stand Your Ground law. The police department made a high quality graphic to show people who planned to shoot at the hurricane that there’s a chance the bullets could come back at them. “Over 99 percent of the people out there have common sense and are listening, but we in law enforcement deal with the 1 percent, so we are trying to get the message to them,” explained Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco in USA Today.
Yes, I Did Inhale (published Oct. 2)
A British man recently got the medical news you never want to hear: a lung cancer diagnosis. A persistent, year-long cough led him to seek an X-ray, during which doctors discovered what they believed to be a tumor. But while operating on the man to remove the tumor, the doctors instead retrieved a Playmobil miniature traffic cone. The man, who was 47 at the time of the operation, explained he had gotten the play set, including the toy cone, on his 7th birthday. In a report on the procedure in the British Medical Journal, he told researchers he regularly inhaled the toy pieces from the set. This one sat there undisturbed for 40 years until leading to his cough, diagnosis, and later — one imagines — sheepish relief following the operation.
No More Hair Of The Dog (published October 9)
While you were catching up on politics, international relations, or local stories of interest, you likely missed the most important story of the week: a scientist has developed a new kind of alcohol that doesn’t give you a hangover. The scientist — his name is Professor Nutt (really) — has been working on his creation for the past decade, according to the British paper the Evening Standard. He is now looking for funding for the final round of tests before he opens 100 hangover-free cocktail bars over the next 10 years. The substance he has been working with mimics the effects of alcohol on the brain, but it does not affect the liver. The Food Standards Agency, Britain’s version of the FDA, hasn’t yet weighed in on the drinks, but Nutt thinks there is early evidence to suggest they are fit for human consumption.
What was that? (published October 16)
Can you remember what Congress voted on today? A better question might be: Can Congressmen? A Washington pharmacist said he filled Alzheimer’s prescriptions for sitting members of the House and Senate, Vox reported after finding the tidbit in a Stat News story. Though he didn’t name any names, Congressmen might want to think about finding a new pharmacist — and their voters might want to think about finding a new Congressman.
More Gross Fish (published October 23)
What’s the worst thing that can happen to a pedestrian-friendly downtown area? Not sure we want to dwell on that. But a really, really bad thing that can happen is that someone can dump rotten fish fillets down a storm drain (marked “No dumping, drains into rivers”). That was the situation in downtown Northampton this week when, as the Daily Hampshire Gazette reported, the literal “fishy situation” created a “stink.” The rancid fish, releasing a nostril-assaulting stench on passersby, were removed by shovel, then gloved hands by city workers. Police don’t appear to have caught the culprit of this foul crime, so it may be up to the perp’s guilty conscience, who, like Shakespeare’s Claudius, must confront a deed that “smells to heaven.”
Vegetable Orchestra (published November 6)
An orchestra in Vienna, Austria loves its vegetables so much that members learned to play hollowed out carrot flutes and squeaky leek violins. Since 1998, the Vegetable Orchestra has been turning pumpkins into drums and making eggplant clappers. The Vegetable Orchestra’s music takes inspiration from rock, electronica, and other genres. Although most of the veggie instruments don’t survive, they end up as either organic waste, gifts to the audience, or post-show soup.
Holy Lamborghini, Batman! (published November 20)
What do you do when you’ve built a reputation on helping the poor, but then you’re offered a fancy new Lamborghini? That was the conundrum facing Pope Francis this week, when the car company offered him a special edition Huracan (base price $217,000) customized just for papal uses (It’s white with gold detailing). First, he blessed it. But it doesn’t look like he’s going to be tooling around Vatican city in the car. Instead, he’s decided to auction it off and donate the proceeds to a charity. A classy choice, Pope Francis, but can we get a ride in it first?
Eat your heart out, Chanel No. 5 (published December 11)
Perfume researcher Christopher Brosius has done the impossible — captured the fragrance of a Sunday roast beef and gravy dinner, along with carrots and potatoes, in a small bottle of perfume. Here’s the catch – it didn’t smell good on human skin. Brosius owns CB I Hate Perfume, which specializes in weird perfumes that smell like wet earth or a summer day at the beach. For years, the roast beef perfume was a stumper. Then he layered the scent with parsley and black pepper as well as patchouli and tobacco to create his perfect roast beef perfume.
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