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News » News of the Weird


A weekly roundup of international news oddities



Alex Masmej of Paris, France, is a 23-year-old with a strong sense of self-worth. So strong, in fact, that he sold shares of himself via an initial coin offering, or ICO, in April. Masmej sold tokens, called $ALEX, to 30 investors, raising more than $20,000, which he plans to use to move to San Francisco. Investors in $ALEX reportedly receive a share of any money he makes over the next three years, up to $100,000; a vote on some of his life decisions; and promotion from Masmej on his social media channels, Decrypt reported. (He has a whopping 3,200 followers on Twitter and 517 on Instagram.) "Since there are no legal contracts," Masmej said, "I can technically run away with the money." But he won't because "it will hurt my reputation amongst those very people I need help from. It's more likely that I just don't make money and pay back very little." Mmm hmmm.

Double Trouble
Some folks never learn. On May 9, a New Hampshire State Police trooper pulled over Nicole George, 31, in Newington. George was driving 90 mph in a 50 mph zone; after the traffic stop, she went on. But only 13 minutes later, a second trooper clocked her doing 111 mph in a 65 mph zone in Rochester. The first trooper responded to assist at the second traffic stop, NECN reported, and she was arrested for reckless operation. However, after her arrest, authorities found about 40 grams of fentanyl and some methamphetamine in George's possession; they seized her Honda Pilot, and they suspect criminal activity was the reason for her big hurry.

As rioters looted and vandalized stores and other businesses in Seattle on May 30, one woman, wearing a cloth mask and a backpack, was caught on news cameras calmly walking out of the Cheesecake Factory with a whole cheesecake, adorned with undisturbed strawberries on top. A KIRO news crew captured the footage as others threw bottles of liquor and broke windows. "With everything going on, sometimes you just have to take a moment to treat yourself," one Twitter user commented.

I Am Not Dead Yet
The BBC reported that on June 2, railroad workers became alarmed after spotting a pair of human feet and "no signs of life" near the Chafford Hundred station in Essex, England. The British Transport Police reported that officers who rushed to the scene "found a man in his late 30s enjoying some nude sunbathing." A spokeswoman for Network Rail punned: "Let me lay it bare, the railway is not a place to sunbathe. Please keep away from the tracks." Another spokesperson said the episode was "not as uncommon as you might think." The sunbather received "words of advice" but no citation.

The Foreign Press
Police in Madrid, Spain, caught up with a wanted criminal in late May, AFP reported. Nacho Vidal, a porn star, was charged with manslaughter relating to the death of fashion photographer Jose Luis Abad last year at Vidal's country residence. According to authorities, Abad died after inhaling "venom of the bufo alvarius toad" during the "celebration of a mystic ritual." The toad, which is native to Mexico and the southwestern U.S., secretes venom containing a powerful psychedelic substance. Police said Vidal and his cohorts have lured people who are "easily influenced, vulnerable or who were seeking help for illnesses or addictions" to the rituals on a regular basis. One of Vidal's relatives and an employee were also arrested.

• Dang those tricky Zoom calls. As at least 12 government officials met online on May 29 in Mexico, Sen. Martha Lucia Micher thought her camera was off and changed her top as her colleagues looked on. Micher, 66, issued an apology, saying: "In one part of the session, without realizing and while the camera of my computer was on, I got changed showing my naked torso. ... Thanks to a call from (other) senators ... I realized my error." She went on: "I am a woman who has fought for the left for almost 40 years and who has occupied various public roles in my fervent commitment for the defense of human rights, I am a woman who is not ashamed of her body." According to the Daily Mail, she blamed the mistake on her lack of technological savvy.

• Car buffs who were able to snag a 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 were lucky: Coronavirus shut down production before too many of them could be built. So imagine how angry the owner of one of the prized autos was when he took his car to a Chevy dealership in Jacksonville, Florida, for service on June 1—and the car was dropped off the lift. According to CarBuzz, the new 'Vette has a different weight distribution than its predecessors, and service techs didn't know the right way to position it on the lift. Car owner Jake Anthony posted a photo of the wrecked hot rod on his Instagram account, where he noted that "I've spoken with (GM) executives, I'm not interested in a new base model."

Unclear on the Concept
Julie Wheeler of Beaver, West Virginia, pleaded guilty in February to health care fraud and faced up to 10 years in prison. So she and her husband, Rodney Wheeler, apparently cooked up a plan to keep her out of jail: On May 31, Rodney and the couple's 17-year-old son reported that Julie had fallen from the Grandview overlook at the New River Gorge National River. Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and rescue crews began a search for her, including use of a helicopter and rappelling into a jagged canyon, to no avail. After three days of searching, however, Julie turned up—hiding in a closet in her home, WVNS reported. Now, in addition to the fraud conviction, Julie and Rodney will face multiple charges of conspiracy and giving false information to West Virginia State Police. "It is hard to hide at home," remarked U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart.

The Entrepreneurial Spirit
Cobbler Grigore Lup of Cluj, Romania, was disturbed to see people ignoring social distancing guidelines put in place for the COVID-19 pandemic. So he created a pair of size-75 (European) men's shoes, each of which is about 2 1/2 feet long. The shoes have a regular space for the foot but then a long bill-like section that extends from the toe. Lup told United Press International that the shoes are designed so that two people facing each other (and wearing his shoes) have to keep a distance of about 5 feet.

The Way the World Works
Lowering the Bar reported on June 3 that the divorce rate in Saudi Arabia has climbed by as much as 30% during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a referenced report, at least some of those divorces are the result of women finding out that their husbands are secretly also married to another woman, an apparently not uncommon practice in that country. "The pandemic, domestic isolation and curfew contributed to uncovering the hidden (marriage)," the report noted, citing specific cases.

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