Year of the weird

by Jim Longworth

I don’t know if it’s the recession, global warming or reality TV, but lately we’ve had more than our share of strange-but-true happenings. These range from a Georgia Pacific employee who stole $60,000 worth of toilet paper from the company’s warehouse,to an Alaska Airlines passenger who must not have approved of the food being served, so he bit a chunk out of the pilot instead. And then there was the 19-year-old American student who underwent surgery to lengthen her tongue so she could speak better Korean.

These wacky incidents have been piling up with such regularity, that I’ve started using them as kicker stories to end my “Triad Today” broadcast each week. What follows are a few of the more bizarre occurrences of the year thus far, along with my conclusions and observations.

Prison porn gets its day in court

A 21-year-old Michigan bank robber is suing a local jail for denying him access to pornography. Too bad he’s not incarcerated in Great Britain. Over there, inmates have porn smuggled in, disguised as legal documents. I guess those kooky barristers will do anything to get their clients off.

Feds don’t accept funny money

A Wilkes County man was arrested last week for trying to use some strange one-hundred-dollar bills to pay his income taxes. Police say the money was definitely counterfeit, and the man is awaiting trial. Rumor has it that soon, he will be switching to a new tax service… H&R “Cell” Block.

Baseball bat granny

A 70-year-old New Hampshire grandmother fought off an intruder with a baseball bat last week. The intruder was completely naked, and fled to avoid the beating. Rumor has it that the New York Yankees are interested in signing Granny because she can hit a hanging curve. Whatever that means.

Stream of consciousness

A Vienna, Austria man was recently fired from his job for practicing “urine therapy.” That’s right. He was fired for washing his hands and face in his own urine. Scientists disagree as to the medical benefits of urine therapy, but I can tell you this: It has probably done wonders for the aromatherapy industry.

Deli rage

We’ve all heard about road rage, but what about deli rage? A 31-year-old Iowa woman had a “beef” with a friend regarding childcare for her granddaughter. Instead of discussing the matter peaceably, the woman hit her friend with a hunk of bratwurst. She was arrested for assault and, since her weapon was deli meat, police were naturally forced to “process” her.

Gay pride kiss

What’s the world coming to when a homophobe preacher won’t turn the other cheek, just because a woman kisses him during a gay pride parade? Rev. James Belcher was shouting at gay people, calling them “sodomites,” when 74-year-old Joan Parker shut him up by kissing him on the cheek. Reverend Belcher had her arrested, and Parker could get 30 days in jail for assault. This legal “smackdown” probably worries the preacher because now, he doesn’t know who will come out on top.

“Walmart sex changes

Last week, two employees of an Arizona Walmart burglarized the store to pay for their sex-change operations. No comment yet from the corporation, but word is that they’re switching their slogan from “Save Money, Live Better”, to: “Shop Walmart, for a Change.”

Casket sleepers

And finally, last week, police were called to a Bristol, Tenn. funeral home where workers discovered two intruders sleeping inside caskets. Police arrested the men because, after all, this was a clear case of “breaking and interring.”

Jim Longworth is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Fridays at 6:30 a.m. on ABC 45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 10 p.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15).