Funny News Articles

As work is slow, here are some more things that have engaged my time:

A News of the Weird Classic (December 2000) : A New York Times dispatch from India highlighted the growing problem of intra-family frauds in which one member claims a living relative’s land or wealth by swearing to the government that the relative is dead. According to the Times, the “deceased” had finally begun to fight back. An advocacy group, the Association of Dead People, helps aggrieved citizens figure out how to prove that they are alive, which can be difficult, given India’s slow-moving bureaucracies. The association’s founder said that he personally had tried to authenticate his existence by public actions such as running for office, filing lawsuits and getting arrested, but that he nonetheless remained officially dead. [New York Times, 10-24-00]

A woman being interviewed for jury duty on a murder case in Bronx (N.Y.) Supreme Court in October asked to be excused for the reason that she was once murdered, herself, by her husband (but had somehow been revived by a doctor). (She was dismissed from the jury, but on other grounds.) [New York Post, 10-8-08]

In a recent report of DUI excuses in the Swedish newspaper Nerikes Allehanda, a 56-year-old woman had asserted that, though she had been drinking, her driving was not affected because she had remembered to keep one eye closed so as not to be seeing double. [The Local (Stockholm), 10-30-08]

Facing a state budget crisis in July, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fired about 10,000 temporary and part-time workers and ordered the 200,000 permanent employees to be paid only the minimum wage of $6.55 an hour until the legislature passed a crisis-solving budget. However, a week later the State Controller John Chiang pointed out that state payroll records could not be changed to accommodate the cut because they were written in the antiquated COBOL computer language, and virtually the only state employees who knew the code were some of the part-timers Schwarzenegger had just fired. [Sacramento Bee, 8-5-08]

In August, a 78-year-old woman apparently misread the signs at Arlanda airport in Stockholm, Sweden, and placed herself on a baggage belt, which led to a chute, but she was only slightly injured and did not miss her flight. [Agence France-Presse, 8-27-08]

In April, Tommy Tabermann, a member of Finland’s parliament, submitted a bill to require one week’s paid vacation a year solely for romance, to counteract the country’s alarmingly high divorce rate. [Bloomberg News, 4-17-08]

Howard Shanholtzer was arrested in Garden Grove, Calif., in May in connection with stolen security cameras. Figuring that police might be looking for his white Mitsubishi pickup truck they probably saw on surveillance video, Shanholtzer allegedly stole another pickup, but for some reason, it was another white Mitsubishi. [Orange County Register, 5-24-08]

A new stand appeared at the Corvallis (Ore.) Farmers Market in the last week of May, manned by Jeff Oliver, 21, lifelong resident of Oregon. His “Meet a Black Guy” booth let him mingle with shoppers and have their pictures taken with him as he tried, he said, to promote racial understanding and break stereotypes. “Corvallis is not a very diverse place,” he said. [Corvallis Gazette Times, 6-1-08]

Unlike their American counterparts, debt collectors in Spain are legally allowed to humiliate deadbeats in front of relatives and neighbors, and are thus quite successful, according to an October Wall Street Journal dispatch from Madrid. One collector’s employees make flamboyant house calls in “top hat and tails” and another’s are dressed as Franciscan friars, and yet another collector sends bagpipe players to announce the debt to the entire neighborhood. One debtor hurriedly paid off his daughter’s wedding tab when the collector found the ceremony’s guest list and began billing each attendee for his or her “share” of the debt. [Wall Street Journal, 10-11-08]

Not Ready for Prime Time: What started as a “strong-arm” street robbery in Warren, Mich., in October, ended when the victim turned out to be stronger than the perp. When it was over, the victim had gotten his money back, plus $30 of the mugger’s as the man fled, according to a police report in the Macomb Daily. [Macomb Daily, 10-9-08]

In Bristow, Va., as a woman stood nearby with her car running, early one October morning, a stranger jumped in and started to drive off, though the woman’s 6-year-old daughter was still in the car. The incident ended quickly, though, as the child kicked the man, pinched him, and screamed until he bailed out and fled, according to a report on WRC-TV (Washington, D.C.). [WRC-TV, 10-8-08]

A plumbing error in October at the annual Grape Festival in Marino, Italy, stymied the traditional hook-up in which white wine cascades through the famous fountains in the center of town. Instead, water continued to run in the fountains, but “10 to 12” nearby homeowners must have thought it glorious divine intervention, briefly, when they opened their taps and found white wine flowing freely. [BBC News, 10-8-08]

  1. #1 by Mrs on December 8, 2008 - 4:00 pm

    I used to read news of the weird all the time, but some of it was just too . . . weird. You know, like the people who have their tongues surgically forked, like a serpent’s tongue?

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