Sometimes, when faced with a deadline, there’s no better place for a columnist to go than the actual headlines of the day. There’s stuff so bizarre, so out there, that it would be impossible to make up. And with all the news outlets having large presences on the Internets, there’s lots of stuff out there you just can’t make up.

Let’s start with those wacky Mexican smugglers. Getting marijuana across the border into the United States is nowhere near as easy as it was in the days of Cheech and Chong. The authorities have so many ways of finding herbal contraband that it doesn’t make sense to truck it through the border checkpoints. What’s a smuggler to do?

CNN’s online outlet released some photos and video footage, courtesy of the Department of Homeland Security, that shows the latest in how the Mexican hooch haulers are getting their packages closer to their final destinations. The headline reads: “Giant Pot Catapult Found At Border.”

In other drug-related news, Orlando TV station WKMG recently produced a piece on the dangers of a new high that carries serious health risks. The headline: “Synthetic Cocaine Sold as ‘Bath Salts.’” I had no idea that anyone would actually entertain the idea of shoving personal hygiene products up one’s nostrils… but there are things I’m just not meant to understand. In addition to bath salts, some of this ersatz blow is sold in little gram bags labeled, and again, I’m not making this up, Pixie Dust “plant feeder” or Snow Blow “herbal party snuff.” I suppose that if there are such things as legal (fake) pot (legal buds, spice), then legal coke wasn’t far behind.

The legal synthetic marijuana substance was even the subject of a CBS Evening News piece last summer. Although legal, there have been some nasty side effects reported to health care professionals and poison control facilities. Although I’m sure he didn’t mean for it to come out like this, Dr. Gaylor Lopez, director of the Georgia Poison Center, was quoted as saying (and I’m not making this up), “We started seeing a mushrooming of calls.”

This just in on CNN: Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich Sues Over Olive Pit in Sandwich! (Does anyone really care?)

(As I typed the above parenthetical question, my web browser quit unexpectedly. I’m not making this up. I guess Congresspeople have their little feelers out all over the place…)

Also from CNN: “Megachurch pastor Joel Osteen Says Criticizing His Wealth is an Insult to God.” Really.


From Yahoo News: “Body of TV Quizmaster Snatched From Grave.” Why someone needed to exhume the body of an 85-year-old former game show host and former person is a mystery. According to the story, however, it is not the first time that the body of a famous personality has been snatched in Italy. It must be zombies.

Facebook friends may be even friendlier than we thought, as this headline affirms: “Social Networking Leads To Sex Faster.” It’s the new “digital intimacy.”

Here’s a shocker from the Lone Star State: “Texas Only Has Enough Lethal Drugs For Two Executions.” I guess it’s break-out-the-rope-time. The existing supply should last through Tuesday.

Next, a story from the City of Brotherly Love: “Housing Agency Spent Thousands of Dollars on Belly Dancers, Luxury Bags.” In addition, the authority’s executive secretly spent more than $500,000 in housing authority funds to settle sexual harassment claims.

According to this story from ABC News, it seems that many of the nation’s low-income housing programs are plagued by theft, mismanagement and corruption at local levels, including millions in federal tax funds spent on housing for sex offenders and dead people.

We’ll wrap this up with an update to a story that’s been making local headlines; namely, the piano on a sandbar in Biscayne Bay. It seems that a local South Florida teen and his father are behind the stunt. Nicholas Harrington, 16, told WPLG that he was behind the mystery, with a little help from his friends. “I liked the idea of an anonymous piano out there, no explanation to it,” he said, adding that he viewed it as art for a portfolio in a future college application.

So why did Harrington come forward with his story? It’s because someone else falsely claimed responsibility for placing the piano on the sandbar! William Yeager (a noted prankster) said he and a fellow filmmaker have placed pianos in various cities. Since the real story surfaced, however, Yeager has been humming a different tune. Officials say no charges are likely to be filed against anyone in this case of the piano that went to sea.


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