Why I love odd news stories - Curt Yeomans

An Ohio man is facing four felony charges of indecent behavior because he was having "relations" with his picnic table.

One crematorium has set up online pay-per-view funerals for people who just can't work the services into their daily schedules.

Octopuses are kinky and violent sea creatures.

Oh yeah, this is going to be one of those columns.

Let me tell you about the joy of odd news stories.

These are the stories which exist for the entertainment of viewers and readers a like. Journalists like these stories because it gives them a chance to have a good laugh at the world.

It's sort of like reading "Mad" magazine, except the participants are real.

You know the bizarre is out there. Finding the perfect odd news gem is like finding a piano playing cat,named Nora, though. It has to have that perfect balance of stupidity, bizarreness and the over all "What the ..." factor.

An example might be a police dog releasing the brake on a truck, which then runs into a woman who was walking to her mail box. The woman then sued the police department and won some money.

Yep, that one really did happen, by the way.

These stories have to be able to make your head turn like a gender-confused male octopus swimming like a girl to attract female octopuses.

The best part is there are so many places to find odd news stories.

I've found www.oddnews.org is a great source for bizarre news stories. You can go to this site and find a story about a New Orleans man who thought a sheriff's deputy had a warrant for his arrest (there was no warrant), ran away and ended up getting arrested and charged with fleeing a law enforcement official.

A highly entertaining site is www.snopes.com. One story on the web site is about a Russian cult, which claims credit cards and the UPC codes on food packages are "satanic." Another story tells the tale of a bull arrested and thrown into jail in southern Mexico for destroying two wooden sheds and eating some corn.

I just won't touch this one, it's too easy and there are so many cheesy places I could go.

It also has the ultimate "waking up in a strange place after a wild night of drinking" story. A man woke up in a garbage truck the morning after he went drinking with friends. He somehow ended up in a trash bin, which was then emptied into the garbage truck.

Conveniently, he doesn't remember how it all happened.

If I woke up in a garbage truck, I'd also deny any knowledge of how I got there.

There are plenty more web sites, such as yahoo.com, CNN.com, netscape.com and Reuters.com, which have odd news pages for fans of the weird stories.

Don't underestimate the entertainment value of police blotters, though. A blotter is a record kept by police departments of who was arrested and why. Inevitably, web sites have popped up devoted to stories about dumb criminals.

Dumb criminals always make for entertaining news stories. If you need evidence to convince you of this fact, just head over to www.dumbcriminals.com. You can find a story about two teenage boys who tried to rob a police station in Port St. Lucie, Fla., because who hasn't wondered how much fun it would be to rob people with armed weapons and handcuffs?

As you can see, there are plenty of examples of odd news stories which make you simultaneously laugh while also worrying about the future of humanity.

Please people, take time out of your day to read the odd news stories.

You can always say "At least it didn't happen to me" - unless you are the subject of the story.

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247 or via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.