27 Oct 2016

Real news stories that sound like they shouldn't be

3:29 pm on 27 October 2016

These reports are stranger than fiction.

There’s a special kind of joy in reading an Onion headline that nails the fine line between irony and absurdity. The feeling when you find out it’s actually a real story? Priceless.

Reddit has devoted a page to headlines which sounds almost too bizarre to be real. So in an ode to a year of strange headlines about US presidential candidates, the Rio Olympics, and Brexit, here are some recent gems that deserve your attention. 


Flightless Kiwi PM has to delay India visit after plane breaks down 

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Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The subeditor at The Hindu who presumably came up with the gem of a headline is really nailing their job. About 1.6 million people are likely to have chucked at this brilliant story about our Prime Minister having to postpone a visit to India on Monday after his plane broke down en route in the north of Australia.

And in true casual Key style, he summed it all up eloquently when he told reporters, “It is a little bit sub-optimal.” 


Woman mistakes town meeting for Donald Trump rally and smears 30 cars with smooth peanut butter in protest 

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Photo: Unknown

Christina Ferguson, a 32-year-old women in Wisconsin, was arrested last week after allegedly smearing cars with peanut butter in an anti-Trump protest. 

Even if this woman hadn’t completely messed this up (it turned out to be a local environmental organisation meeting), smearing condiments on vehicles and shouting about how much you hate Donald Trump seems like an odd way to protest.

But then you read this part of the story and realise she’s kind of a champion:

“When officers from Portage Co. Sheriff Department questioned Ms Ferguson, she claimed she hadn’t left her apartment that night, while allegedly licking her fingers repeatedly.”

In a story that keeps on giving, The Independent reports the Chief Deputy saying “Fortunately it wasn’t chunky peanut butter, so vehicles didn’t get scratched.”

Only in America. 


Nonsense paper written by iOS autocomplete accepted for conference 

In possibly the best story ever, Christoph Bartneck, associate professor at University of Canterbury and ultimate troll submitted a paper to an international physics conference written by the iOS autocomplete function. Like, badly written.

He submitted it under a fake identity aware that none of it made sense. Didn’t matter though – still got accepted.  

Here are some winning lines from the abstract:

  • “Nuclear weapons will not have to come out the same day after a long time of the year…”
  • The atoms of a better universe will have the right for the same as you are the way we shall have to be a great place for a great time to enjoy the day you are a wonderful person…”
  • “Physics are great but the way it does it makes you want a good book..”
  • “Power is not a great place for a good time.” 

Truer words have never been spoken. 


Chimp who smokes a pack a day doesn't inhale, Pyongyang zoo officials say 

The Pyongyang zoo in North Korea has been newly renovated and 19-year-old female chimpanzee, Azalea, is a star attraction. Allegedly, the chimp smokes a pack a day making her a full blown chain smoker.

Thrown a lighter, she lights her own cigarettes and if a lighter isn't available, “she can light up from lit cigarette if one is tossed her way,” according to AP.

It’s easy to imagine the zoo keepers being very defensive about the chimp’s habits; “Yeah but she only holds the smoke in her mouth so what's even the problem? Also, all hail the Supreme Leader." 

Fun fact: according to its official history, the zoo started off with only 50 badgers. 



Justin Bieber walks off stage in Manchester after asking fans to stop screaming

I feel like I wanna connect with you.

The point of the no screaming thing is that when I'm looking at you in the eyes you know that we're actually having a moment and having a connection.

This is what Justin Bieber reportedly told thousands of fans as an explanation for dropping the mic (not in a cool way) and storming off stage earlier this week in Manchester. 

Biebs doesn't like screaming. He finds it “obnoxious”. I mean, how is he expected to look straight into thousands of peoples eyes and connect emotionally and spiritually with every one of them if they wont be silent?

We can now add this gem to the rest of JB's brilliant calls like the time he told Complex, Dude, what is bratty about pissing in a bucket? I had to go piss ... The bathroom was like on the other side". And my personal favourite, “Like I said, you don’t need to go to church to be a Christian. If you go to Taco Bell, that doesn’t make you a taco.” 


Parents too nice for their own good get tattoos of their children's bad drawings 

Not sure where the stats are for this story but, apparently, an “increasing number” of parents are having their kids drawings tattooed on their bodies. While the reporter seems to think this is a terrible idea, she’s wrong. It’s no worse than those roses wrapped in barbed wire tattoss that seemed to be all the rage in the 90s.

One dad (read: hero) even let his kid tattoo the drawings themselves! Parenting champion.