Uh, How Did That Get In There?

In retrospect, it was a horrible idea, but so many of these entries start that way. A British man fishing on a pier in southern England took a six-inch sole he had just caught and jokingly placed it in front of his open mouth. The fish, seizing the moment, leapt down the man’s throat, blocking his windpipe and sending him into cardiac arrest. Luckily for the 28-year-old man, paramedics were on the scene within two minutes and were able to remove the fish with forceps. After six tries, they were able to get it out of there. The fish does not appear to have survived, despite a valiant attempt at revenge.

Just Sign Your Rights Away Here

In the that’s-so-fucking-illegal-it-makes-your-head-spin category of bizarro news, the city of Dickinson, Texas, is requiring applicants for Hurricane Harvey relief funds within its borders to certify in writing that they will not take part in a boycott of Israel. American Civil Liberties Union of Texas Legal Director Andre Segura, who probably is busier than a day-care director in charge of 100 toddlers, called the requirement “reminiscent of McCarthy-era loyalty oaths.” So, sorry Dickinson residents, if you want to rebuild your home that was devastated in the worst storm your area has seen in decades, you’ll have to give up your First Amendment rights. Maybe if you’re lucky, they’ll distribute free pro-Israel flags you can use to patch your walls, roofs, and windows if you decline to sign the agreement.

Crowdsourcy McCrowdsourceFace Strikes Again

We’ve written here about Britain’s Boaty McBoatface and a winning horse named Horsey McHorseface. Now comes Trainy McTrainface, the crowdsourced result of a search for an official name for Sweden’s new Stockholm to Gothenberg express trains. But, unlike the Brits — who renamed Boaty to the stuffy RRS Sir David Attenborough — the Swedish transport company MTR Express seems to be going through with the name, and passengers will be able to ride it this week.

More Gross Fish

What’s the worst thing that can happen to a pedestrian-friendly downtown area? Not sure I 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.”

Fly Cookie, Fly!

A Scottish shortbread cookie covered in a dome of chocolate with marshmallow called a Tunnock teacake is a time honored favorite when tea time comes around in the highlands. Even though the cookies come wrapped in silver and red foil like something out of a 1950s science fiction movie, it’s a generally held belief that these cookies weren’t designed for trips to the upper atmosphere … until now. The Glasgow Science Centre museum in Scotland attached at Tunnock’s teacake to a weather balloon on Oct. 13, which flew up to the stratosphere. After an hour and 29 minutes, the cookie carrying weather balloon reached an altitude of 21 miles. Although the cookie reached the Earth’s stratosphere it didn’t make it to space, which begins at 62 miles above the planet.

Cephalopod Robots Playing Hide N’ Go Seek

Animals in the cephalopod family such as octopuses and cuttlefish have the natural ability to blend into their surroundings in a blink of an eye, whether that’s blending into seaweed or hiding in the sand by altering the color and texture of their skin. Now researchers from Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania are working on developing synthetic octopus skin for robots that would mirror its surroundings. The researchers hope to develop the future of camouflage gear by using a silicone and fiber mesh skin that would have a series of air pockets that could be inflated to produce various shapes.

Viral Photobombing via House Cat

Scott Madaus, a live television reporter for FOX13, a station based in Memphis, Mississippi, was on the hunt for a cougar after a man had captured footage of a large cat in Hernando, Mississippi. During the live broadcast, the camera zoomed in on something moving in the background and the words, “Large Cat Spotted” appeared on the screen. “And that’s not it,” Madaus said. “That looks like a house cat.” The small and adorable house cat was transfixed on the camera until the end of the viral clip, which had more than 14,000 views just four days after it was posted on Oct. 15.


A San Antonio high school is bravely stepping up to participate in the national conversation about renaming hateful Confederate symbols — by skirting the issue entirely. The school, formerly named after Robert E. Lee, will change its name to L.E.E. High School, with L.E.E. standing for “Legacy of Educational Excellence.” It’s a decision at least one member of the school board described as “trying to put lipstick on a pig,” according to Newsweek. Here’s some suggestions from the Valley Advocate if you want to doll up that pig some more: Robyrt E. Lee High School, the high school formerly known as Robert E. Lee, or if you love the acronyms, how about S.L.A.V.E.R.Y.R.U.L.E.Z. High School.

I’ll Take My Suffering Animal-Style

There’s funny pranks, there’s border line pranks, and then there’s “now that’s just mean,” where people on the butt end of the joke are seriously frustrated. An example: The 40,000+ people who were convinced an In-N-Out Burger pop-up was happening in New York City. It wasn’t, Vice reports — it was just a particularly cruel Facebook hoax. Fake news, fake burgers — the only thing real about it was the suffering.

Clearly a Hardened Criminal

A Florida first-grader being suspended isn’t news, but here, her dastardly deed was bringing a butter knife to school. The criminal mastermind was caught at the scene of the (not really a) crime, nefariously spreading jelly on her PB&J with the offending dangerous — nay, lethal — weapon. “We’re just here for the safety and security of all our student and that’s our number one goal,” Principal Pamela Jones explained to news station WCAX. No comment from the first-grader, who, since her suspension, has probably progressed to the heinous infraction of using spoons to eat cereal.

Pissed Off? How about Pissed On?

What’s your worst flying experience? Bet this guy has you beat. A New Jersey man is suing United after a passenger “whipped it out” on his flight, aimed, and fired. As the flight was getting ready to take off, the passenger seated in 24E took out his penis, and aimed it at his neighbor and proceeded to urinate all over his leg, while he was confined to his seat due to an imminent departure of the flight, the lawsuit reads, according to Courthouse News. Why is he suing? Allegedly, the flight crew didn’t stop the rogue urinator and wouldn’t let the pissed-on passenger change seats.

Take That, Tree

Fans of the game Minecraft know that to get wood, you punch a tree — but usually that’s not true in real life. A Queensland, Australia, man has a counter-argument, and that counter-argument is him repeatedly punching a banana tree until it falls down. A video shows “The man’s rapid punches slowly start to tear away pieces of the tree, until it finally falls over,” UPI reports.

Got an idea for a bizarro brief? Send it on over to deisen@valleyadvocate.com.