Category Archives: Strange things

Strange things in the news part 9: deadman’s pacemaker kickstarts him back to life

Here are a few wacky thing I stumbled across recently:

A funeral home in Mississippi were preparing to embalm a man when he kicked his way out of a body bag. The local coroner suspects that the man’s pacemaker may have stopped, then started working again by itself.

A woman on a tourist bus in Iceland ended up in a search party looking for herself for three hours, before she realised she was the one they were looking for. She’d gone to the bathroom at a tourist spot and changed her clothes.  The other passengers didn’t recognise her in her new clothes and started a search for her.

A Japanese man was so drunk that he fell under a train, which cut his leg off. He was so drunk he slept through it.

And an American evangelical preacher has called for comedian Bill Maher to be flogged for blasphemy.

Ever wondered how  Cosmo magazine  gets around censorship in Middle east? Answer: it’s not easy, but it’s funny. More here .

An American sociology professor has been surveying his students for twenty-five years on whether they have a close friend of the opposite sex. Twenty five years ago it was one in ten, Today almost all have. That might not be funny, but I think it represents a change for the better.

And finally, an American student in Germany had to be freed by the fire brigade after getting himself stuck in a statue of a vagina.

So have you seen anything weird on the news lately? If so fell free to add a note or a link.

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Does Siri believe in God? It’s a definite maybe.

My interview with Siri.

Some of you may have read of the funny answers Siri, the operating system on the iPhone, gives when you ask her questions about her own beliefs. Somebody has programmed her to give very evasive answers about herself. I was sitting with friends, one of whom had an iPhone,  having  coffee, and just for a joke, I tried to ask Siri about her and her religious beliefs. Here’s what happened.

Siri, do you believe in God?

I don’t believe that I have beliefs.

Siri, do you believe in life after death?

Humans have beliefs, computers have silicon.

Siri, do you go to church?

I believe in the separation of church and silicon.

Siri, do you believe God is a trinity?

I would suggest that you address your theological questions to someone qualified to answer them, preferably a human.

Do you eat Pork?

I don’t each much.

Siri, am I a good person?

I don’t believe that I can answer that question.

Siri, are you a good person?

Who, me? Now let’s see, where were we?

And here’s the best: Siri, do you love me?

You’re looking for love in all the wrong places.

The world is getting stranger: what do chess games have in common with assault rifles?

Chess players with assault rifles? Sounds unlikely, doesn’t it? But first some other strange news:

A consumer agency in the US filed a law suit to ban the sale of “Bucky balls” (shapes that fit together with the aid of magnets inside them.) A total of twenty-two children had swallowed the magnets and suffered an injury, out of a total of 475 million magnets sold. Someone did a  bit of mathematics, and calculated the rate of injuries per 100,000 people from Bucky balls, tennis, skate boarding, and dog bites. Guess what’s most likely to give you an injury that needs medical attention? Guess first. I’ll tell you at the end of this blog.

In Australia, a youth on the run from the police decided to hide in the roof cavity of a house when the police came to a party. He should have stayed still, because when the moved, he fell through the ceiling, and into the long arms of the law. I’m sure the cops were surprised too.

Can you imagine chess players with  assault rifles? Neither can I. But it turns out that the Sicilian Defence, one of the most common chess openings, has a variation called the  Kalashnikov variation  What the Hell?? Well, the AK47 weapon was named after an Mikhail Kalashnikov, who invented it in 1947. Chess openings, as it happens, are often named after the city where they were first successfully used in an international tournament, or the player who made them famous by coming up with a new twist and winning unexpectedly. But the various chess websites and books I’ve consulted have no information as to which Mr Kalashnikov started the chess move. His first name appears lost to history.

AK 47 (photo from Wikipedia Commons)

And what about the Buckey balls? It turns out that tennis is more likely to cause you an injury than skateboarding, dog bites, accidental poisoning with household substances, and Buckey balls come last.    Click here for the stats.

The world is getting stranger: that piranha ate my kid’s finger!

Here’s a collection of strange things I’ve come across recently.

A family in Chicago thought their pit-bull had eaten one of their daughter’s finger. When the doctors said it wasn’t a dog injury, the father went home, gutted one of the family’s two piranhas and found the finger. Seriously? They have a toddler and a pit-bull and two piranhas?

In Britain, a team at Bristol University  has developed  a chewing gum called Rev7. It’s water soluble and  won’t stick to footpaths (sidewalks).  London Mayor Boris Johnston is strongly in favor. He’s tired of the cost of cleaning gum and other “adhesive” objects off the  streets.

Motorist Flora Burkhart  has been charged in Van Buren, Arkansas, for rear-ending another vehicle and then fleeing the scene of the collision because she didn’t want her ice-cream to melt.

Two cops in New Mexico, Ernest Armijio and Brian Bernal,  aren’t allowed to carry guns  because of their law-breaking history. One because of a dispute over child support arrears, and the other because of domestic violence.

Some things in life are too quaint for words. I learned this week that Britain has a public office called  “Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary”. What does it do? Conducts reviews of how well the regional police forces in England and Wales are doing their jobs. But it’s a cute title, isn’t it?

Recently, I came across the Finnish and Russian habit of swimming in frozen, or near-frozen rivers and lakes.   Apparently they punch a hole in the ice and jump in, often wearing ordinary swimwear rather than wetsuits.  How do you stop the ice freezing up again on you? Keep a pump in the water to keep it circulating.

So would anyone else care to contribute  anything odd you’ve come across in papers, on the net, or seen personally? The stranger the better!

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My novel ‘Fire Damage,’ an action thriller, is available on Amazon Kindle, at:
The novel is based on the Japanese religious cult Aum Shinrikyo, which released Sarin nerve gas in the Tokyo subway system in the 1990s.
If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the app to read it on your computer or phone from here: