28 January 2009

January's Strangest News Stories

I thought it would be fun to do a monthly bit where I round up the oddest news stories of the month and present them here for your reading enjoyment. As news sites are sometimes fickle when it comes to keeping stories alive in their original links, I can't promise this particular entry will be much fun to read after a certain expiration date, but who knows? Maybe we'll get lucky. Without further ado, here are the strangest news stories for the first month of 2009:

Unreturned Library Book Leads to Woman's Arrest

This story dredges up the old fears of the Library Police we were warned about when we were little. Apparently it's not just a scary story for kids. Shelly Koontz of Jesup, Iowa found this out the hard way when she was arrested for the theft of "The Freedom Writers Diary" from the local branch library. She'd had the book since last April. No word on whether or not she was wanted by Blockbuster for similar charges regarding the film version starring Hilary Swank. Also no word on whether or not she is the wife of horror writer Dean Koontz, although that would go a ways in explaining why she would want to do anything in her power to acquire outside reading material and hold it for as long as humanly possible.

UPS Driver Used "Terrorist" as Name Signed For Package

This has to go into the "I'm so racist I'm willing to lose my job over it" category. You would think that in these tough economic times, one would do all they could to hold on to what I understand are quite lucrative jobs in the parcel-delivery business. Not so, apparently, for this Bakersfield, California UPS driver, who decided that whatever his turban-bedecked customer happened to jot down in the little electronic field (and by the way--am I alone in hating those things?), he was going to punch in the name as "TERRORIST". The article goes to great lengths to inform the public that the victimized individual was a Sikh, not a Muslim, and, also, that not all Muslims are terrorists. We get no comments from the driver in question, although I for one would love to hear his reasoning for the slight. It would either be hilarious in its ignorance, or--just maybe--enlightening as it pertains to Blbar Singh himself. But probably just hilarious.

At Age 140, Lobster to Regain Freedom

Lobsters live to be 140? This charming news story is almost ruined by the mention of PETA, but not quite.

Two Minor Girls Married Off to Frogs

This little tidbit of modern day fairy tale-ness comes to us from India (where else?). Apparently as part of a yearly ritual to ward off diseases, two seven-year-old girls are married to frogs in an elaborate ceremony. "The district administration proposes to evolve comprehensive schemes to motivate and enlighten the villagers against such evil and ignorant practises," says the district collector. The frogs are returned to the pond after the "wedding" and life goes on, so I'm not sure I would use the word "evil" to describe the ritual. Ignorant? Perhaps. But even that word is somewhat amphibious. Er, I mean ambiguous.

A Billion Frogs on World's Plates

There are worse alternatives to marriage. Grossest line in the story: "Frogs are liquidised to make a 'health drink' in parts of South America"

Would-Be Bride, 107, Seeks First Husband

I have an idea. It involves a small village in India, the woman in this story, and a 140 year old lobster. . .