The local alt-weekly where I live used to carry News of the Weird. It was a delightful thing to discover when I was in high school. I guess the full archive isn’t available online, which is unfortunate because I’d love to be able to refresh my memory on the details of some of my favorites. That would include a story about a former Soviet republic where the government had to turn off the electricity to homes during the day. Too many factory workers were calling in sick so they could stay home and watch the Mexican telenovela “Los Ricos También Lloran”.
I liked the feature “No Longer Weird,” where bizarre things he reported on in the past seemed improbable, but over the course of doing the column, they kept happening with enough frequency that he had to retire them because they just weren’t weird anymore. The one I remember was: hoses for the chemical toilet liquid on airliners would leak, then while in flight, the blue liquid (and sewage) would instantly freeze upon contact with the hull due to the cold at that altitude plus the wind effect. Then, when the blue shit-bergs became massive enough, they’d snap off and hurtle towards earth, the frozen shit meteorite punching a hole through some guys roof and ruining his day. seems pretty weird. but this kind of thing happens a lot, apparently.
My personal favorite was the guy who injected cocaine into his penis and achieved a 48-hour erection, ultimately resulting in gangrene and the subsequent surgical removal of his penis.
So when the Viagra ad instructs you to call a doctor if your erection lasts longer than 12 hours, they mean it.
When I was in first grade (a few years before News Of The Weird came into being) a mysterious frozen object fell from the sky in some guy’s yard. It was a big thing on the news with quite a few people convinced it was something from space. U.F.O.s were a big thing at the time, with the success of Close Encounters of The Third Kind and TV shows like Project U.F.O.. Some people even tasted the thing, which, oddly enough, wasn’t blue, but kind of a yellowish green.
It turned out to be one of those frozen airplane sewage chunks. I don’t blame Shepherd for reporting it as weird, even if it did turn out to be pretty common, but apparently it wasn’t an unusual thing even before he took notice of it.
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