News of the Weird by the Editors at Andrews McMeel Syndication

LEAD STORY -- Metaphorically Speaking

Camille Coelho, 54, of Brookline, Massachusetts, an ICU nurse at South Shore Hospital, set out at low tide for a stroll with her son's dog, Lucy, along Constitution Beach on April 8 to relax and look for sea glass, but found herself stuck in mud that reached past her knees instead. "It's a great metaphor for the year," she told the Boston Herald. "I can't believe it. ... This past year has been awful." Passersby rushed to help, but soon called firefighters, who arrived to pull her out. [Boston Herald, 4/9/2021]

Wait, What?

An anonymous New York resident seeking to marry their adult child filed suit in federal court in Manhattan on April 1 asking that laws barring incestuous marriage be overturned, Fox News reported. In court papers, the petitioner claims such a marriage is a matter of "individual autonomy" and asks to remain unnamed because "a large segment of society views (the request) as morally, socially and biologically repugnant." The petitioner is a parent of an adult child, but court documents do not reveal the couple's genders, ages, hometown or relationship. The filing does detail that the "proposed spouses are unable to procreate together." Manhattan family and matrimonial law attorney Eric Wrubel predicted, "It's never gonna fly." [Fox News, 4/12/2021]

Repeat Offender

Heather Poplasky, 32, of Plainfield, Connecticut, was arrested four times in 24 hours over the course of April 10 and 11, according to police. The first arrest came when police were called to her home, where they say she threatened to cut herself with a large kitchen knife and blame it on her boyfriend, WFSB-TV reported. Police charged her with reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct and took her to a hospital for evaluation, where Putnam police issued her a summons following an incident with a member of the staff. On April 11, Poplasky violated the terms of her release from the hospital by returning to her home, where Plainfield police say they again arrested her, adding more charges. While she was in custody awaiting arraignment the next day, police say she flooded her cell by putting a roll of toilet paper and trash in the toilet, and a charge of criminal mischief was added. Her bond topped out at $30,000 for the various offenses. [WFSB, 4/12/2021]

Feast or Famine

-- Fox Business reported on April 13 that toilet paper sales have declined to levels below pre-pandemic levels, indicating that last year's hoarding is affecting this year's sales. Marjorie Greenburgh, 62, of New Rochelle, New York, said because she has 54 rolls still stored throughout her home, "I'm not planning on buying for a while." NielsenIQ clocked the decline in sales at 33% in March. [Fox Business, 4/13/2021]

-- The BBC reported on April 15 that England is experiencing a shortage of garden gnomes. Factors contributing to this critical supply deficit include a shortage of raw materials, the recent blockage of the Suez Canal by a container ship, and the increased popularity of gardening during the COVID-19 shutdowns. "We haven't seen a gnome in six months," said Ian Byrne, assistant manager of Highfield Garden World in Whitminster. "Raw materials are becoming a bit of an issue, and unfortunately, gnomes are a victim. ... Gnomes of any type -- plastic, stone or concrete -- are in short supply." [BBC, 4/15/2021]


Gary and Beth Machens moved into a historic home in Alton, Illinois, in December and uncovered more history to go with it when they found a 19th-century brick tunnel underneath the house. Gary Machens discovered the entrance to the tunnel as he was doing some sidewalk repair. The barrel-shaped tunnel, about 9 feet high and 60 feet long, is believed by local historians to have been built around 1840 -- 50 years before the house was constructed. "Whatever they built this for, it took a lot of men and a lot of hours. You know, one guy didn't do this," Machens told KTVI-TV. He believes the tunnel could have been used to store ice or carriages, or it could have been part of the Underground Railroad. "There was a ferry here in the Alton area to the Missouri side, and it's possible it could have been used for that," he said. [KTVI, 4/13/2021]

Vintage Weird

Brian Robson of Cardiff, Wales, was 19 years old in 1964, when he accepted a job on the Victorian Railways in Australia. He almost immediately regretted his decision and started scheming about how to get back home, but he didn't have enough money for the return trip. That's when he had an idea: With the help of two Irish friends, Robson squeezed himself into a 30-by-26-by-38-inch wooden crate and shipped himself home in the cargo area of a Qantas flight. "The first 10 minutes was fine," he told CNN. "But your knees start to cramp up when they're stuck up to your chest." When the crate arrived in Sydney, it landed on the tarmac upside down. "So now I'm sitting on my neck and my head," he explained, "and I was there for 22 hours upside down," until arriving next in Los Angeles, where two airport workers discovered him. He spent six days recovering in a hospital as word of his story got out, and Pan Am airlines sent Robson home to London in a first-class seat. Robson lost touch with the friends who helped him but now hopes to find them and reconnect. He's never been back to Australia. [CNN, 4/14/2021]

Compelling Explanations

A Blount County (Tennessee) Sheriff's deputy was dispatched to a Dollar General store in Maryville on April 5 after a clerk was presented with a $1 million bill, The Smoking Gun reported. Amanda McCormick, 39, told officers she received the bill "in the mail from a church" and that she planned to use the funds to purchase the cart full of items she had, "including several gift cards ... for care packages for homeless individuals," according to a police report. McCormick and her companion, Linda Johnson, 61, were not arrested but were banned from returning to the Dollar General store, and officers confiscated the bill. [The Smoking Gun, 4/14/2021]

Slave to Fashion

Among the items unveiled in Louis Vuitton's fall/winter 2021 men's collection in January was a leather "Keepall" bag, shaped like a miniature airplane and covered with the ubiquitous LV logo, which went viral April 2 when a Twitter user pointed out that an actual airplane could be purchased on eBay for less than the Keepall's $39,000 price tag. Oddity Central reported the bag, designed by Vuitton menswear artistic director Virgil Abloh, features wings, a tail and four engines; the used single-engine Cessna was listed at $32,300 on eBay. [Oddity Central, 4/12/2021]

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