Odd headlines: Urinals, boats, and bears… oh my!

Published 9:54 am Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Here we are at the last few weeks of 2018. December is a good time to reflect on the year we’ve had before we move on to the next one. Or, if nothing else, we can at least crack a few jokes about the past year.

Whether it was a good year or a bad one, I think we can all agree it’s been full of weirdness. All year long, I’ve been keeping a list of the strangest news headlines I’ve read in the past year, so I can share them. Hope you all will get a good chuckle!

April 4: “Elephants roam Spain highway after car crash” (reported by BBC News)

It’s not every day you see the majestic creature wandering by as you’re on your morning commute. I can’t even imagine what I’d do if I saw a group of elephants strolling down Highway 158 while I was trying to get to work. According to the article, a circus truck transporting the elephants crashed while trying to pass another vehicle. The elephants had to be removed from the highway by a crane.

I imagine the sight might have been more entertaining than the circus itself!

May 9: “Sugar Crash: After tanker flips, chocolate bars traffic on Polish highway” (reported by NPR)

In keeping with the theme of odd highway sights, liquid chocolate poured out onto a highway in Poland after a tanker truck flipped over. The chocolate quickly congealed on the roadway, causing the cleanup to last several hours. But reportedly, the first responders didn’t mind cleaning up the sticky situation.

Bonus points to NPR for the puns in that headline.

June 21: “Deputy frees bear trapped inside car” (reported by Associated Press)

This one made me take a second look as I scrolled past it. The article didn’t provide details on how exactly the bear ended up inside the car, but apparently it damaged the interior so much that the doors wouldn’t unlock. Luckily the deputy broke a window so it could escape back into the woods.

No word on what the car owner said to the insurance company when they filed their claim.

July 9: “Commissioners say it’s too hard to make doo-doo a don’t in Wake” (reported by WRAL)

The Wake County Commissioners voted down an ordinance requiring people to pick up after their pets, deciding it would be too difficult to enforce. The story itself isn’t so weird, but the headline is fantastic.

July 19: “Washington, D.C. is counting all its cats. It will take 3 years and $1.5 million.” (reported by NPR)

Different groups are working together to count all the cats (both pet and feral) in the nation’s capital so they’ll have accurate information to help figure out how to manage the feline population. Various methods they’ll use to gather data include watching video camera feeds, surveying households, analyzing pet shelters, and physically counting cats in outdoor areas.

I can’t even imagine how many cats are out there if they expect three years to complete the work! (For the record, I’m a dog person.)

August 14: “Nope, those aren’t mailboxes: Paris rolls out sidewalk urinals” (reported by NPR)

In a story that doesn’t quite make sense, Paris is trying to reduce public urination by offering a way to publicly urinate. The brightly colored boxes which look similar to mailboxes have been set up on sidewalks around the city to offer people a place to go in a hurry. Reportedly, the inside of the urinal is filled with straw and composting materials and can eventually be used to fertilize plants.

Somehow, I feel like this solution isn’t going to work very well.

November 9: “Smooth sailing for I-95 bridge hit by boat” (reported by WRAL)

Again, we return to an odd highway story, this time in NC. It’s not every day that traffic on an interstate gets held up by a boat… miles away from the ocean. A boat on a flatbed trailer got wedged under an I-95 overpass near Smithfield. The DOT reported after inspection that the bridge suffered no damage, so traffic went back to smooth sailing when the highway reopened.

I wonder what odd headlines 2019 will bring.


Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at holly.taylor@r-cnews.com or by phone at 252-332-7206.