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News of the Weird


    Cliches Come to Life

    Gabriel and Tracy Brawn moved into Gabriel's childhood home in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, in 2012 and enjoyed a warm relationship with next-door neighbor Steve Ritter, whose garage had been partially built on the Brawns' property decades ago. But after Ritter passed away in 2016, his wife and grown children took over the property, sometimes renting it out, and "this place turned to craziness and chaos," Tracy Brawn told the Bangor Daily News on July 16, leading finally to Gabriel Brawn grabbing his Sawzall on May 26 and cutting the Ritters' garage in half, right down the property line. "We're putting up a fence," Tracy Brawn said. "Fences make good neighbors." Dover-Foxcroft police Chief Ryan Reardon said, "We were aware of the situation and believe it's been resolved at this point."

    Latest Alarming Headlines

    A roving gang of baboons in Knowsley Safari Park in Merseyside, England is known to vandalize cars and otherwise alarm visitors, but lately, The Sunday Times reported, they've been seen carrying knives, screwdrivers and a chain saw, which workers believe they've acquired from visitors. "We're not sure if they are being given weapons by some of the guests ... or if they're fishing them out of pickup trucks and vans," an employee said. Park officials have pooh-poohed the reports, saying, "We believe that many of these stories have grown in exaggeration as they've been retold."


     A $64,000 glass replica of a Disney castle on display at the Shanghai Museum of Glass in China was shattered in July after two kids "hit the exhibit counter when they were chasing each other," a museum spokesperson posted on Weibo. The Today Show reported Spanish glassblower Miguel Arribas spent 500 hours creating The Fantasy Castle in 2016, but "luckily it's not destroyed," said Arribas Brothers company spokesman Rudy Arribas. When COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, Miguel will go to Shanghai to repair the castle. "We're used to kids and this kind of stuff happening," said Rudy. "Glass breaks."

    Lost and Found

    ♦ Chris Marckres of Hyde Park, Vermont, went skydiving on July 25, but, he told NECN, "I think my adrenaline was so high and I was just so excited, I didn't realize I had lost it." "It" was one of Marckres' two prosthetic legs. The double amputee was harnessed to an instructor and landed safely, but he didn't know where the leg ended up. His plea for help on Facebook was answered the next day by farmer Joe Marszalkowski, who found the prosthetic in his soybean field. Marckres said the leg suffered a few scratches but was otherwise unharmed. "We kind of take for granted sometimes how many truly good people there still are in the world," he mused.

    ♦ Mike Evans of Woodson Terrace, Missouri, went for a 5-mile float trip with friends on the Meramec River on July 25 and decided to get out of the raft and walk behind it in the water for a bit. As the water got deeper, he had to swim to catch the raft, and as he climbed back in, Evans discovered his prosthetic leg was gone, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. He searched with no luck, but a Missouri state trooper responding to a call nearby heard about the loss and coordinated a dive team to help. It took divers a couple of hours the next day to find the leg, saving Evans about $27,000 to replace it. "It was a happy ending to a stressful few days," Evans said.

    ♦ After Christian Meyer of Berlin, Germany, lost his running shoes to a thief, he posted a notice on a community sharing platform and learned other residents had also lost shoes that were left outside. Meyer soon discovered the culprit, telling local media on July 26 that he caught a fox "red-handed" with a pair of blue flip-flops in its mouth and eventually found its stash of more than 100 multicolored shoes, according to Fox News. Meyer's shoes, however, were not among them.

    The Street Where You Live

    Concerned friends of Hartford, Connecticut, retiree Victor King contacted police on July 26 when they couldn't reach King, who had recently reported being threatened with a samurai sword by a man he rented a room to, according to an arrest warrant. The Hartford Courant reported that first responders arriving at the house on Asylum Avenue found King's body, badly slashed and decapitated. Police began a search for the renter, Jerry David Thompson, who was soon found and arrested, but refused to cooperate with detectives, referring them instead to paperwork in his car indicating he believes himself to be a sovereign citizen and therefore not subject to the law. He was arraigned on July 28 and held on $2 million bail.


    A Gwinnett County (Georgia) Sheriff's deputy is recovering at home thanks to three inmates who came to his rescue. The unnamed inmates noticed the deputy didn't seem well as he conducted security checks, the sheriff's office said in a July 28 statement, and then saw him lose consciousness and fall to the floor, "splitting his head open." The inmates began shouting and banging on their doors, which roused the deputy enough that he "thought an inmate needed help and somehow managed to rise to his feet and press the control panel to open cell doors." The inmates rushed out and called for assistance as the deputy lost consciousness again, the Gwinnett Daily Post reported. "These inmates had no obligation whatsoever to render aid to a bleeding, vulnerable deputy, but they didn't hesitate," the sheriff's office said. "We're proud of them."


    Out for an early morning stroll on July 27, Mariel Kinney, 32, and Kevin Pinto, 30, drew the attention of residents in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, who called police to report a naked couple walking their dog down the street, authorities said. "It was kind of wild," Police Chief Joseph Bennett told the Milford Daily News. "They were buck naked." Officers asked the couple why they weren't wearing clothes, but they declined to answer or were incoherent, Bennett said, and "(t)here was a short foot pursuit." After a struggle, they were captured and charged with indecent exposure and assault and battery on a police officer, along with other crimes.



By Harriette Cole

    DEAR HARRIETTE: I have high blood pressure, and I take medication for it. Pretty much nobody in my friend group knows about it because I just don't think it's any of their business. I'm a very private person. 

    The other day when we finally got to meet up in the park -- socially distanced, of course -- I dropped my purse and everything fell out, including my high blood pressure medicine. One of my friends went to help me retrieve everything, and she picked up my meds. She looked at the bottle and asked me why I didn't tell her I had HBP. I was offended. I don't have to talk about my medical condition. Even though she knew what the medication was for, I still felt like it was wrong for her to pry. I told her I didn't want to talk about it. Am I wrong for being so tight-lipped? She is my good friend, but I don't want anybody in my business.

-- Outed

    DEAR OUTED: You have the right to your privacy, to be sure. But step back a moment and ask yourself why you are so overly sensitive to your good friend knowing about your condition. Since she knew immediately what the medication was for, chances are, she or someone close to her may be suffering from the disease. Instead of hiding out and dealing with your illness in isolation, consider gaining support by talking about it with a select group of friends, or even just one. You can request confidentiality. Of course, that doesn't guarantee that she will say nothing, but it certainly should make her more thoughtful about it.

    Millions of Americans suffer from high blood pressure. Having support as you work to make smart choices about diet, exercise and lifestyle changes can be helpful as you work to control this disease. For more information on how to manage your HBP, go to mayocl.in/39lRg0v. 


    DEAR HARRIETTE: I am part of a new team at my job, and things are not going very well. There was consolidation recently that resulted in a small group of us being folded into another department. The way my new boss works is totally different from my old boss, and I am having to figure it out for myself because my new boss doesn't give me any instructions about procedures. I feel like I'm constantly stepping on landmines because I don't know what this boss expects. How can I smooth things over? I feel like we need to start all over again.

-- Restart


    DEAR RESTART: Since your new boss did not take the initiative to give you the lay of the land, you need to request it. Ask for guidelines and procedures on how this team operates. Request written materials that outline processes so that you can be in better alignment. Do your best to cultivate a rapport with your boss and with other team members. It's not the easiest thing to do in this virtual world, but make an effort. Stay engaged as you work to figure out how to find a way of working with this new team.

The Postscript

by Carrie classon

     I noticed my wrists were sticking to my desk.

    This was a gradual awareness. I spend almost all day at my desk and I don't know precisely when it started, but I finally looked down because my wrists were undeniably sticky. I had used the wrist rest in front of my keyboard for ... well, forever, and I'd noticed there were a few rips in the fabric. This had apparently progressed, completely unnoticed, until the wrist rest had started to ooze some awful sticky substance, which was now stuck to my arm. 

    "How did this happen?" I asked myself.

    I have a friend whose father was a hoarder. She described the process whereby the house slowly filled with his stuff. He would conquer one room and then, almost imperceptibly, move into the next room until one day, the family found they could no longer use the kitchen range because it was piled high with stuff.

    "How does this happen?" I asked her. 

    I remember a trip across the country when my husband, Peter, and I came upon a mobile home, sitting by itself, completely covered in a faded blue tarp. I assumed the home was abandoned until I saw there was a light on. The light was kind of hard to see because all the windows were covered with the blue tarp. 

    "How do you get to the point where you are living under a blue tarp?" I asked Peter. 

    "Gradually," he said. I think this is probably true.

    I'm guessing there might have been a way to fix that roof that would have allowed the occupants to see out the windows. But they probably thought this would work for a little while. Then one day turned into two, two days turned into months and, after a while, they got used to it. Who needs curtains when all your windows are covered with a blue tarp? 

    I am spending more time in my house than ever before and it has caused me to notice things. 

    One morning I was waiting for my coffee to warm up and I got to looking at the poster we have hanging in the kitchen. The poster predates our marriage. I remember how I liked it when I first saw it -- a cheerful print of peppers in shades of red and green with the names of the peppers underneath. I took a good look at that poster for the first time in ages and realized there were no longer red and green peppers on it. All the peppers had faded to various shades of pale pink and baby blue. Furthermore, the frame had come unglued and there was a giant gap where there shouldn't be. The whole thing looked dreadful, and it had been hanging there in plain sight for who knows how long without me noticing. 

    "Peter! The pepper poster looks awful!" Peter took a look at it. 
    "You're right," he agreed. 
    "How did this happen?"

    I am replacing the pepper poster with a new poster of peppers. They are brightly colored and hopefully will stay that way for a few years. 

    In the meantime, I am looking around the house as if seeing a newly discovered land, trying to see what I no longer notice. (Why is there a box of cookies tucked behind my printer? Why are there peat pots stacked on the washing machine?) It is a revelation, looking at my house anew.

    And it's probably a good exercise. I'd like to do whatever I can to keep from waking up one morning and looking out on a blue tarp.

Till next time,


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