Bizarro Briefs: Bear Takes Joyride Into Mailbox
Aug09

Bizarro Briefs: Bear Takes Joyride Into Mailbox

Bear Takes Joyride Into Mailbox In Durango, Colorado, bears frequently break into cars looking for food. This week was the first that one resident can recall a bear actually taking the car for a short drive. After likely releasing a Subaru SUV’s parking brake in a driveway, a black bear rolled down the driveway and crashed the vehicle into a mailbox. The commotion woke the mailbox’s owners, who looked out the window to see the damage....

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Bizarro Briefs: Hipster Dogs Don’t Need Shots
Aug03

Bizarro Briefs: Hipster Dogs Don’t Need Shots

Hipster Dogs Don’t Need Shots The anti-vaccination movement has expanded — to include additional species. Many pet owners in Brooklyn are refusing to vaccinate their beloved canines, in some cases for fear that the vaccines will give the dogs autism, veterinarian Amy Ford told Brooklyn Paper — despite research that shows no links between vaccines and autism. She said the refusal comes most often from those who live in “hipster-y...

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Bizarro Briefs: Perfectly Preserved Surrealist Stache
Jul27

Bizarro Briefs: Perfectly Preserved Surrealist Stache

News of the Weird is no more, but fear not. The Advocate is continuing the tradition of delivering weird news, now as Bizarro Briefs. Perfectly Preserved Surrealist ‘Stache If you thought Salvador Dali’s mustache could not have gotten any more legendary, you were mistaken. Forensic experts in Spain said last week that they found the famous surrealist’s long, waxed mustache completely intact when they exhumed his remains for a...

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Bizarro Briefs: Robocop Becomes Self Terminator
Jul20

Bizarro Briefs: Robocop Becomes Self Terminator

A Suicidal Robot Our D.C. office building got a security robot. It drowned itself. We were promised flying cars, instead we got suicidal robots. pic.twitter.com/rGLTAWZMjn — Bilal Farooqui (@bilalfarooqui) July 17, 2017 The Knightscope security robot, an R2D2-shaped rolling bot, can turn, beep, and whistle while on patrol. It can also self-destruct, as one proved while working outside the Georgetown Waterfront in Washington, D.C. It...

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Bizarro Briefs: Holy Handgun, Batman!
Jul17

Bizarro Briefs: Holy Handgun, Batman!

A man and woman dressed as Batman characters were shot by police while having sex in an Australian nightclub. The man, dressed as the Joker, was shot in the stomach after police mistook his fake gun for a real one. The woman was dressed as Harley Quinn, and was shot in the leg. Roughly 40 police officers raided the event, called the Saints and Sinners Ball — and reportedly billed as a “no-holds-barred extravaganza of adult fun,” on...

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Introducing … Bizarro Briefs
Jul10

Introducing … Bizarro Briefs

Last week we got the surprising news that longtime News of the Weird feature writer Chuck Shepherd is retiring! Like, very surprising, because we had no idea this was coming. BUT, the Advocate is all about weird news, so we’re going to keep it going ourselves! Without further ado, the following are the strange, eclectic, zany, madcap, and — as Chuck might describe them — weird stories we found in the news this week: Putting The Weed...

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What’s Next for Weird (Zany) News: An Advocate Chat
Jul05

What’s Next for Weird (Zany) News: An Advocate Chat

The Advocate Chat is a recurring series where the Valley Advocate staff talks about a topic on their minds. The text below has been lightly edited. dave.eisen (Managing Editor Dave Eisenstadter): Last week we got the surprising news that longtime News of the Weird feature writer Chuck Shepherd is retiring! Like, very surprising, because we had no idea this was coming. BUT, the Advocate is all about weird news, so we’re going to...

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The News of the Weird Author is Retiring: Here’s a Retrospective
Jul03

The News of the Weird Author is Retiring: Here’s a Retrospective

Editors Note: News of the Weird is ending, but we’ll be continuing the tradition at the Advocate, starting our own feature highlighting the oddities we find in the news. Watch for it next week! Weird News is forever, but this is my last “News of the Weird” column, as I am now exhausted after almost 30 years in the racket. In this final edition, I remember a few of my favorites. My deep thanks to Andrews McMeel Syndication and to...

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News Of The Weird: Carrier Pigeons Carrying Drugs
Jun26

News Of The Weird: Carrier Pigeons Carrying Drugs

Customs officials in Abdali, Kuwait, apprehended a pigeon in May with 178 ketamine pills inside a fabric pocket attached to its back. Update Three weeks ago, News of the Weird touted the “genderless,” extraterrestrial-appearing Hollywood makeup artist known as Vinny Ohh, but then Marcela Iglesias announced (following a leaked TV clip) that she had formed an agency for would-be celebrities who had radically transformed their bodies...

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News of the Weird: Sipping Cappuccino With Rats
Jun19

News of the Weird: Sipping Cappuccino With Rats

Already, trendy restaurants have offered customers dining experiences amidst roaming cats (and in one bold experiment, owls), but the art house San Francisco Dungeon has planned a two-day (July 1 and 8) experimental “Rat Cafe” for those who feel their coffee or tea is better sipped while rats (from the local rat rescue) scurry about the room. Pastries are included for the $49.99 price, but the rats will be removed before the food...

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News Of The Weird: Creepy House For Sale
Jun12

News Of The Weird: Creepy House For Sale

Brantford, Ontario, real estate agent Kyle Jansink, speaking for unidentified sellers, said he accepted the challenge of selling a meticulously maintained home “as is” — still packed with the sellers’ clown-related items (dolls, miniatures, porcelain statues, paintings).    The New Power Nap If high-schoolers seem stressed by active lifestyles and competitive pressures, and consequently fail to sleep the recommended nine to 10...

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News Of The Weird: Worshiping Hadley Grass
Jun05

News Of The Weird: Worshiping Hadley Grass

Reverence for the lineage of asparagus continues in epic yearly Anglican church festivities in Worcester, England, where in April celebrants obtained a special blessing for the vegetable by local priests as a costumed asparagus pranced through the street praising the stalks as representing “the generosity of God.” Critics (including clergy from other parishes) likened the parades to a Monty Python sketch, and “an infantile pantomime,”...

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News Of The Weird: The Economics Of Asteroid Mining
May30

News Of The Weird: The Economics Of Asteroid Mining

Goldman Sachs analyst Noah Poponak’s 98-page paper (leaked to Business Insider in April) touted the wealth obtainable by capturing the platinum reputed to be in asteroids. The costs to mine the stone (rockets, launch expenses, etc.) might have dropped recently to about $3 billion — a trifle next to the $50 billion worth of platinum Poponak said a single asteroid might contain. (On the other hand, experts point out, such abundance of...

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News of the Weird: Speed Bumps For Fast Walkers
May22

News of the Weird: Speed Bumps For Fast Walkers

Officials in charge of a Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal heritage site recently installed “speed bumps,” similar to those familiar to Americans driving residential streets — but on a pedestrian walkway, with row upon row of risers to resemble a washboard. A Western travel writer, along with editors of People’s Daily China, suggested that officials were irked that “disorderly” tourists had been walking past the ancient grounds too rapidly...

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News of the Weird: Hello, My Name is Isis Harambe
May15

News of the Weird: Hello, My Name is Isis Harambe

The word “Isis” arrived in Western dialogue only after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, as an acronym for the Islamic State, and the Swahili word “Harambe” was known to almost no one until May 2016 when the gorilla “Harambe” (named via a local contest) was put down by a Cincinnati zoo worker after it had dragged an adventurous 3-year-old boy away. In April, a Twitter user and the website Daily Dot happened upon a 19-year-old California...

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News of the Weird: A Russian Monument to Flossing
May08

News of the Weird: A Russian Monument to Flossing

Russian artist Mariana Shumkova is certainly doing her part for oral hygiene, publicly unveiling her St. Petersburg statuette of a frightening, malformed head displaying actual extracted human teeth, misaligned and populating holes in the face that represent the mouth and eyes. She told Pravda in April that “only [something with] a strong emotional impact” would make people think about tooth care. Entrepreneurial Spirit A San...

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Vigilante ‘Apostrophizer’ Corrects Signs in Bristol, England
May01

Vigilante ‘Apostrophizer’ Corrects Signs in Bristol, England

Mother of Invention Robotic models of living organisms are useful to scientists, who can study the effects of stimuli without risk to actual people. Northwestern University researchers announced in March that its laboratory model of the “female reproductive system” has reached a milestone: its first menstrual period. The “ovary,” using mouse tissue, had produced hormones that stimulated the system (uterus, cervix, vagina, fallopian...

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News of the Weird: SWAT Called on Homeless Intruder
Apr24

News of the Weird: SWAT Called on Homeless Intruder

A June 2016 police raid on David Jessen’s Fresno County (California) farmhouse caused a $150,000 mess when sheriff’s deputies and Clovis Police Department officers “rescued” it from a trespassing homeless man — with the massive destruction leading to Jessen’s lawsuit announced in March. The misdemeanant helped himself to an ice cream bar, some milk and half a tomato, but was otherwise “unarmed.” However, by the time the police...

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News of the Weird: Swedish ‘Museum of Failures’ might succeed
Apr17

News of the Weird: Swedish ‘Museum of Failures’ might succeed

If at first you don’t succeed… Samuel West announced in April that his Museum of Failure will open in Helsingborg, Sweden, in June, to commemorate innovation missteps that might serve as inspiration for future successes. Among the initial exhibits: coffee-infused Coca-Cola; the Bic “For Her” pen (because women’s handwriting needs are surely unique); the Twitter Peek (a 2009 device that does nothing except send and receive...

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News of the Weird: The Jetsons in Dubai
Apr10

News of the Weird: The Jetsons in Dubai

Recently, in Dubai — the largest city in the United Arab Emirates — Dubai Civil Defense started using water jetpacks that lift firefighters off the ground to hover in advantageous positions as they work the hoses. Also, using jet skis, rescuers can avoid traffic altogether by using the city’s rivers to arrive at fires and, if close enough to a waterway, can pump water without hydrants. Even more spectacularly, as early as this summer,...

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News of the Weird: TP Goes High Tech
Apr03

News of the Weird: TP Goes High Tech

China’s public-park restrooms have for years suffered toilet-paper theft by local residents who raid dispensers for their own homes — a cultural habit, wrote Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, expressing taxpayer feelings of “owning” public facilities — but the government recently fought back with technology. At Beijing’s popular Temple of Heaven park, dispensers now have facial-recognition scanners beside the six toilets, with...

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News of the Weird: Location, Location, Location
Mar27

News of the Weird: Location, Location, Location

A highlight of the recent upmarket surge in Brooklyn, New York, as a residential and retail favorite, was the asking price for an ordinary parking space in the garage at 845 Union St. in the Park Slope neighborhood: $300,000 — also carrying a $240-a-month condominium fee and $50 monthly taxes. That’s similar to the price of an actual one-bedroom apartment in less ritzy Brooklyn neighborhoods like Gravesend — a few miles away....

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News of the Weird: Entrepreneurial Spirit
Mar20

News of the Weird: Entrepreneurial Spirit

Perhaps there are parents who, according to the Cinepolis movie chain, long to watch movies in theaters while their children, aged 3 and up, frolic in front in a jungle-gym playground inside the same auditorium. If so, the company’s two “junior” movie houses — opening this very week in San Diego and Los Angeles — may bring a new dimension to family entertainment. Another view, though, is that the noise — often screaming — plus the...

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News of the Weird: Exploiting Villains
Mar13

News of the Weird: Exploiting Villains

In February, two teams of South Korean researchers announced cancer-fighting breakthroughs by taking lessons from how two of medicine’s most vexing, destructive organisms — diarrhea-causing salmonella bacteria and the rabies virus — can access often-unconquerable cancer cells. In journal articles, biologist Jung-joon Min of Chonnam National University described how his team “weaponized” a cancer-fighting invader cell with salmonella...

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News of the Weird: Suspicions Confirmed
Mar06

News of the Weird: Suspicions Confirmed

Despite California’s 2015 law aimed at improving the fairness of its red-light cameras, the city of Fremont — population 214,000 — reported earning an additional $190,000 more each month last year by shortening the yellow light by two-thirds of a second at just two intersections. Tickets went up 445 percent at one and 883 percent at the other. In November 2016, for “undisclosed reasons,” the city raised the speed limit on the street...

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News of the Weird: U-S-A! U-S-A!
Feb27

News of the Weird: U-S-A! U-S-A!

Although discouraging the marriage of children in developing nations has been U.S. foreign policy for years, a data-collecting watchdog group in America disclosed in February that 27 U.S. states have no minimum marriage ages and estimates that an average of almost 25,000 children age 15 and under are permitted to marry every year — “estimates” because some states do not keep records by age. Compelling Explanations 1.) Glenn...

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News of the Weird: The Man With the Golden Mop
Feb20

News of the Weird: The Man With the Golden Mop

San Francisco’s best-paid janitor earned more than a quarter-million dollars cleaning stations for Bay Area Rapid Transit in 2015, according to a recent investigation by Oakland’s KTVU. Liang Zhao Zhang cleared almost $58,000 in base pay and $162,000 in overtime, and other benefits ran his total income to $271,243. He worked at San Francisco’s Powell Street station, a hangout for the homeless, who notoriously sullied the station 24/7...

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News of the Weird: EWWWWW!
Feb13

News of the Weird: EWWWWW!

On Jan. 31, doctors at Stanley Medical College and Hospital in Chennai, India, removed a live, full-grown cockroach from the nasal cavity of a 42-year-old woman whose nose had been “itchy” earlier in the day. Two hospitals were unable to help her, but at Stanley, Dr. M N Shankar, chief of ear-nose-throat, used an endoscope, forceps, and, for 45 minutes, a suction device — because, he said, the roach “didn’t seem to want to come out.”...

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News of the Weird: Work of a Researcher
Feb06

News of the Weird: Work of a Researcher

Field work is always challenging, explained Courtney Marneweck of South Africa’s University of KwaZulu-Natal in a recent journal article, but studying the sociology of a white rhino’s dung meant developing a “pattern-recognition algorithm” to figure out “smell profiles” of 150 animals’ feces — after tracking them individually to observe them in the act. Wrote Marneweck, “I think my record for waiting for a rhino to poo was 7½ hours.”...

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News of the Weird: Suspicions Confirmed
Jan30

News of the Weird: Suspicions Confirmed

Schools’ standardized tests are often criticized as harmfully rigid, and in the latest version of the Texas Education Agency’s STAAR test, poet Sara Holbrook said she flubbed the “correct” answer for author motivation — in two of her own poems that were on the test. Writing in Huffington Post in January, a disheartened Holbrook lamented, “Kids’ futures and the evaluations of their teachers will be based on their ability to guess the...

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News of the Weird: Post-Truth Society
Jan23

News of the Weird: Post-Truth Society

In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals finally pulled the plug on Orange County, California, social workers who had been arguing in court for 16 years that they were not guilty of lying under oath because, after all, they did not understand that lying under oath in court is wrong. The social workers had been sued for improperly removing children from homes and defended their actions by inventing “witnesses” to submit made-up testimony....

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News of the Weird: Leading Economic Indicator
Jan16

News of the Weird: Leading Economic Indicator

The salary the Golden State Warriors pay to basketball whiz Stephen Curry may be a bargain at $12 million a year, but the economics is weirder about the prices Curry’s fans pay on the street for one of his used mouthguards retrieved from the arena floor after a game. One used, sticky, saliva-encased teeth-protector went for $3,190 at one August auction, and SCP Auctions of California is predicting $25,000 for another, expelled during...

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News of the Weird: Too-Much-Reality TV
Jan09

News of the Weird: Too-Much-Reality TV

Russian producers are planning the so-far-ultimate survivors’ show — in the Siberian wilderness for nine months with temperatures as low as minus-40-degrees Fahrenheit, with 30 contestants selected after signing liability waivers that protect the show even if someone is raped or murdered. Police may come arrest the perpetrators, but the producers are not responsible for intervening. The show, Game2: Winter, will be telecast live,...

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News of the Weird: Oh-So-Sweet Dreams
Jan03

News of the Weird: Oh-So-Sweet Dreams

The Hastens workshop in Koping, Sweden, liberally using the phrase “master artisans” recently, unveiled its made-to-order $149,900 mattress. Bloomberg News reported in December on Hastens’ use of superior construction materials such as pure steel springs, “slow-growing” pine, multiple layers of flax, horsehair lining (braided by hand, then unwound to ensure extra spring), and cotton covered by flame-retardant wool batting. With a...

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News of the Weird: Holes Against Humanity 
Dec27

News of the Weird: Holes Against Humanity 

The rebellion against the absurdities of Black Friday this year by the organization Cards Against Humanity came in the form of raising money to dig a pointless hole in the ground. During the last week of November, people “contributed” $100,573, with Cards digging initially for 5.5 seconds per donated dollar. In 2015, according to an NPR report, Cards raised $71,145 by promising to do “absolutely nothing” with it, and the year before,...

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