Porcelain watermelons and a bag of snakes

Published 6:11 pm Friday, December 13, 2019

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It feels like just yesterday we were kicking off 2019 in anticipation of everything the new year has in store, and now we’re only a few weeks away from a new year (and even a new decade). The end of the year is a nice time to reflect on what these past few months have been like before we move forward. Or, if nothing else, we can at least crack a few jokes along the way.

Just like last year, I’ve collected a handful of strange and odd headlines from this past year to share. Whether this was a good year or a bad year, I think we can all agree that there’s never any shortage of weirdness. Hope these will keep you chuckling until New Year’s!

January 17: “China tried to grow cotton on the moon, but it didn’t work” (reported by NPR)

As a part of China’s space program, they launched a probe to the moon with a controlled chamber to house the cotton seeds. Though they did manage to sprout at first, the extreme temperature changes on the moon caused the tiny seedlings to die quickly. Perhaps the failure of the experiment was for the best, because can you imagine how difficult it would have been to send a cotton-picker to the moon for harvest season?? (I’m kidding)

February 20: “Man charged with assault using porcelain watermelon” (reported by WRAL)

The incident actually happened last December in Zebulon, but it took until February 2019 for the perpetrator to be arrested. The man charged allegedly hit the victim with “a porcelain watermelon topped with a chicken.” The short article, unfortunately, answers none of my questions about what led to the incident or why such a strange piece of decorative fruit even exists.

March 24: “Need a can’t-miss wheel of cheese? Try playing it some hip-hop” (reported by NPR)

Researchers in Switzerland conducted an experiment to figure out how soundwaves might affect the flavor of cheese. The article doesn’t say WHY they decided to devote actual research to this strange idea, but it does report that the cheese, which was exposed to hip-hop music 24 hours a day for six months, was sweeter than the other cheeses in the experiment. Good to know the next time I try to do some cooking, I guess?

July 18: “Drug in a rug? Is that a bag of cocaine under your toupee?” (reported by NPR)

A Colombian man was arrested in Spain for trying to sneak more than a pound of cocaine into the country… by hiding it under a fake hairpiece. The man at least tried to cover it up with a hat to look less suspicious, but his nervous demeanor ended up alerting the police anyway. The cocaine was worth reportedly over $33,000. With that much money, you’d think the guy could’ve afforded a better toupee.

August 28: “Professor Matthew McConaughey: Actor lands starring role at University of Texas” (reported by USA Today)

Okay, this one isn’t so odd, but really, who would have expected the popular Hollywood actor to also take time out of his schedule to teach at a university? I certainly didn’t. He was previously a “visiting instructor” for his alma mater, but starting in this year’s fall semester, he officially joined the faculty of the school’s Department of Radio-Television-Film.

October 15: “Stolen Orville Wright bust found on NC Outer Banks beach” (reported by News & Observer)

Orville Wright took an impromptu flight as someone stole his bust from the Wright Brothers Memorial. The stolen item was later recovered resting on a sand dune in Kill Devil Hills. Maybe he just wanted a change of scenery??

October 20: “Bag of snakes brings new library policy in Madison County” (reported by Asheville Citizen Times)

Staff at the Madison County Public Library asked their county commissioners for a new pet policy after a man brought his bag of pet snakes (yes, an entire bag full of more than one snake) to the library with him while he did some light reading. That, on top of several past incidents involving pets in the library, prompted the request for the change. Now only service animals will be allowed inside.

Thank goodness, as far as I know, none of our local libraries have had this problem!

I wonder if 2020 will manage to bring us even more ridiculous headlines.

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