Gee whiz, now that’s a bit odd

Published 8:45 am Tuesday, February 10, 2015

As a longtime newspaper reporter, a good story is always intriguing. When the subject matter takes a turn towards the weird/bizarre side, it seems to catch the public’s eyes and ears at a higher level.

Here locally we’ve had our fair share of oddball stories…does anyone remember the one from years ago where a fish attacked a woman at a local restaurant. That one story had more hits on our website than any previous article.

I was recently surfing the web after seeing a TV news piece about a two-year-old kid with a nicotine habit when I stumbled across They had a list of their best weird stories, and wouldn’t you know it, the chain-smoking child was number one.

The following represents a partial list (with my “two cents” thrown in for good measure) of their best oddball stories of last year:

#1: A 2-year-old Indonesian boy with a 40-cigarette-per-day smoking habit raised eyebrows in May. His mother said he would become angry and screams if he didn’t get cigarettes, according to the Daily Mail.

Apparently there are no laws in Indonesia pertaining to child endangerment. The child doesn’t know any better, other than crying will allow him to get his way, the same trick every kid has up their sleeve. The mother needs to be arrested and the child should be placed in protective care, complete with “kick the habit” training.

#2: A video made the headlines in California, one appearing to show a rocket or some other object shooting up into the sky and leaving a large contrail over the Pacific Ocean. An expert reportedly said it was most likely an optical illusion.

I’m no expert, but I watched the video and it’s a rocket, a fairly large rocket, streaking across the sky.

#3: A YouTube video from an old Charlie Chaplin film was a hot topic online and had people asking an odd question….is a woman in the video using a cell phone?

In the black-and-white film, one made in 1928, a woman is walking down the street with her hand up next to her ear. She appears to be holding an object in her hand, which looks like a modern-day cell phone.

I watched the video and at the last second she turns towards the camera and her mouth is moving. She’s either talking to her hand or the cell phone was invented nearly 90 years ago.

#4: Hey, don’t flip me off! Residents in Spokane, Washington received an unpleasant gesture from an electronic sign as they crossed the street, according to a report. A crosswalk light displayed an image that looked like the middle finger, rather than a hand to signal for walkers to stop. A storm blew snow into the crosswalk signal, blocking out the pointer, ring and pinky fingers. Only the middle finger and thumb were left visible.

#5: Too “hot” for work! Debrahlee Lorenzana claimed that Citibank fired her because her bosses thought she was too much of a babe to be a banker. She claimed she was dismissed from her job at a New York City branch office because she was too good-looking. Additionally she said her bosses told her they couldn’t concentrate on their work because her appearance was too distracting, and ordered her to stop wearing turtlenecks, pencil skirts, 3-inch heels or fitted business suits.

Citibank fired Lorenzana in August, citing disciplinary problems and poor performance.

With her self-proclaimed good looks, perhaps she could land a modeling gig.

Cal Bryant is Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be reached at or 252-332-7207. 

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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