News of the Weird by the Editors at Andrews McMeel Syndication

LEAD STORY -- Good Timing

The U.S. Geological Survey recorded a 5.1-magnitude earthquake in Alleghany County, North Carolina, on Sunday, Aug. 9, at 8:07 a.m., about the same time parishioners at St. Gabriel Catholic Church in Charlotte, 100 miles to the south, gathered at Mass and heard this among the morning's Bible readings: "After the wind there was an earthquake -- but the Lord was not in the earthquake." Father Richard Sutter, pastor at St. Gabriel, later told The Charlotte Observer he didn't feel the rumble himself, but several worshippers approached him after the outdoor service to share the "God-incidence." Father Cory Catron, closer to the epicenter near Sparta, also felt the quake and said it made for "good homily material." As his services ended later that morning, an aftershock rattled his church. [Charlotte Observer, 8/10/2020]

The Mother of Invention

As wildfires tore through parts of California on Aug. 19, Chad Little of Vacaville and his family prepared to evacuate, but Little changed his mind and decided to stay, he told KCRA. The family is in the process of rebuilding the home they lost five years ago in an attic fire, and "I can't let it go," he said. Little had hoses ready, but when the electricity went out, the water was cut off, so he grabbed a rake to clear away dry grass. As his cars and then his shop began to catch fire, he reached for the only liquid he had -- cans of Bud Light, shaking and spraying them at the fire, dousing the flames just before firefighters arrived. "My buddies all tease me about drinking water-beer," he said. "I say, 'Hey, it saved my shop.'" He also managed to save his home. [KCRA, 8/21/2020]


Sonja Lee has been struggling to make rent on her Houston apartment since losing her job in March, and has talked with her landlord about payment arrangements, but on Aug. 17, she received an eviction notice in the form of a piece of paper taped to her door that read, "Guess who's moving? You!!!" accompanied by a smiley face emoji and a demand to turn in her keys by 6 o'clock that night. "So y'all think it's funny," Lee told ABC 13 News. "There was nothing funny about that." The apartment complex owner said the manager has been disciplined and has apologized. [ABC 13 News, 8/20/2020]

Questionable Judgment

Balladeer James Blunt recently revealed that early in his college years at the University of Bristol, he adopted a completely carnivorous diet in order to prove his manliness, according to Men's Health. "I just lived on mince, some chicken, maybe with some mayonnaise, and it took me about six to eight weeks to get very, very unhealthy and see a doctor, who said, 'I think you've got the symptoms of scurvy,'" he confessed in a podcast. In response, Blunt tried to reverse the vitamin C deficiency that causes scurvy by drinking a liter of orange juice every night, which caused him to develop acid reflux. "So as you can see, yeah, food is not necessarily my forte." [Men's Health, 8/20/2020]

Government in Action

Kelly Eroglu in Cwmbran, Wales, was disappointed when her petition to open a coffee shop catering to bicyclists, and including parking spaces for bikes, was turned down by the local planning board because it lacked sufficient parking for cars. "It's crazy," Eroglu told The Guardian in mid-August, "because the Welsh government have prioritized (about $450 million) to improve walking and cycling within Wales." Eroglu is planning to appeal. "No way am I giving up," she said. [The Guardian, 8/20/2020]

News You Can Use

Police in Brockville, Ontario, Canada, say a homeowner ignored a warning from his pet parrot on Aug. 17 because the bird "isn't always a reliable source of information," CTV reported. As a thief entered the home through an unlocked door, authorities said, the parrot issued a friendly "hello," which didn't alert the homeowner or deter the man from taking a credit card from a wallet. A neighbor photographed the suspect leaving the scene and security cameras later caught a 33-year-old man using the stolen card at a store, said police, who arrested him. [CTV, 8/20/2020]

Least Competent Criminals

-- Herbert McClellan, 27, took advantage of a distracted clerk at a Speedway gas station in Clearwater, Florida, on Aug. 18 to snatch about $100 worth of scratch-off lottery tickets, according to police, who were alerted by store employees a few hours later when McClellan returned to the store to claim the $30 prize offered by one of the tickets. Fox13 reported McClellan was charged with petit theft and dealing in stolen property. [Fox13, 8/21/2020]

-- Police in Hollywood, Florida, had little trouble tracking down a trio of thieves who broke into nearly 30 homes, stealing more than $150,000 in cash, weapons, mobile phones, electronics, jewelry, a vehicle and more, because all three were "already on pretrial release for previous crimes and ... wearing court-ordered GPS ankle bracelet monitors," Officer Christian Lata said. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Zion Odain Denvor Hall, 21; Tyrek Davontae Williams, 19; and Tremaine Raekwon Hill, 18, were arrested on Aug. 14 and charged with charged with burglary, grand theft and racketeering. Police believe they're part of a larger organization committing criminal acts throughout South Florida. Additional charges are to come. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 8/18/2020]


Competition is stiff this year for the New Zealander of the year award, The Guardian reported on Aug. 19, but one candidate has garnered surprising attention: a Turkish Angora cat named Mittens who roams Wellington and has already received the key to the city. "In this extraordinary year, we know that everyone has a hero," said Miriama Kamo, the patron of the award, and for many it's Mittens, who has 50,000 followers on Facebook. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, the country's director-general of health, are also in the running. [The Guardian, 8/19/2020]


Workers at the James H. Cole funeral home in Detroit got a start when a body they were about to begin embalming came to life, the Associated Press reported. On Aug. 23, fire department paramedics in suburban Southfield were called to a home where they found 20-year-old Timesha Beauchamp unresponsive. After trying to resuscitate her for a half-hour, they consulted an ER doctor, who "pronounced the patient deceased based upon medical information provided" from the scene, according to the fire department. She was transported to the funeral home where, more than an hour later, she opened her eyes, and staff summoned emergency crews to take her to a hospital, where she was listed in critical condition. [Associated Press, 8/25/2020]


Kirk Mathes of Barre, New York, returned to his farm from out of town to find a large safe on his property with a note attached saying whoever opened the safe could have the contents. Mathes told WHAM the safe has attracted so much attention that local deputies had to shoo away a large crowd trying to break it open with sledgehammers on Aug. 13. For now, he has moved the safe to one of his barns (he estimates it weighs 500 to 600 pounds), but he has no interest in seeing what's inside. "If you open it, the show is over. In these times ... it might get people a chance to ... have a lot of fun talking about it," Mathes said. "My personal feeling is, leave it as a mystery." [WHAM, 8/19/2020]

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