As people enjoy the beach this Fourth of July weekend, the Ocean City Beach Patrol would like to remind everyone to beware of killer umbrellas.
About five years ago (on June 30, 2010), Lynn Stevens was sitting on the beach, minding her own business, when an umbrella came plummeting out of the sky and impaled her leg. Here's her account of the incident:
"It was a very windy day and the umbrella was lifted straight up in the air. It came straight back down and went through my thigh. The pole went into my leg about four inches and it just missed my femoral artery. It didn’t tumble like you see them do so often. Instead, it went straight up and came straight down... It took four men to hold the umbrella steady in the wind to prevent it from doing more damage. They literally sawed off the pole right there on the beach and left about a 12-inch length of the pole sticking out of my leg. They took me to PRMC and the rest of it was taken out in the operating room. It was a little unnerving because the nurses and doctors looked a little astonished to see the umbrella pole sticking out of my leg because I figured they had probably seen everything."
That's pretty terrifying. The worst part is that there's not much you can do to prevent randomly being attacked by an umbrella that falls silently from the sky, because it's other people's umbrellas (improperly set in the sand) that are going to get you. You're at the mercy of their stupidity.
Slingshots taken from young vandals, May 1952. If the police hadn't stopped them, the kids probably would have been building full-sized trebuchets next.
"Salem, Mass., May 8 — Police Lt. Walter Broderick tests one of two huge slingshots confiscated after boys had broken 60 windows in two local factories. Police said the giant weapons could hurl a five-pound rock more than 200 yards."
We've been warning about the threat posed by cows for quite a while here on WU (see here, here, and here), and recent news confirms the danger they pose. A 68-year-old woman was walking her dog in a field in rural England, when she was attacked and trampled by cows. Her dog survived. And just a few months ago, a 46-year-old hiker in England was similarly attacked and trampled by cows. Has the uprising of the cows begun? [ibtimes.co.uk]
The linked article includes some tips on what to do should you find yourself facing a field of potentially hostile cows:
Allan Holtz calls himself "the stripper". (He's a comic-strip historian.) On his blog, he recently directed his readers' attention to the Noah's Ark Boys — an odd series drawn by Ben McCutcheon that briefly ran in the Chicago Sunday Tribune back in 1911.
Holtz explains that the Noah's Ark Boys strip was inspired by the Noah's Ark figurines that were (and still are) the toys of choice in many religious homes. Children were supposed to learn wholesome Biblical values by playing with these toys. But McCutcheon evidently learned a slightly darker lesson, because every week his strip concluded with the Boys on the receiving end of some kind of horrific violence: burnt, blown apart, frozen, crushed, etc. Although the Bible is pretty violent, when it comes down to it. So maybe he did get the right message.
Mark Rober, who apparently works at NASA, has posted an interesting video about what he calls his "roadkill experiment." It explores how many people will swerve into the shoulder lane to deliberately run over an animal, such as a turtle, snake, or tarantula. No real animals were harmed. He used rubber ones.
The results: Most people ignored the animals, but one person swerved to hit the turtle, and slightly more swerved to hit the snake and spider. What does this tell us about human nature? Perhaps that most people are basically decent, but there are definitely a few psychos out there. (via Gizmodo)
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.
Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.