And you think you’re weird?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 19, 2001

Featured Columnist

There’s a dead (and mummified) frog in my desk. I found it in The Messenger parking lot five years ago and procured it as a prize for my nephew Taylor. I forgot to give it to him. It was perfectly preserved and in fact, still is. It doesn’t even smell and sits among the weird things stockpiled in my desk. Every now and then I get out my strange stuff and look it over. One of my favorite things is my collection of weird tales ferreted from newspapers and tidbits told to me by reliable but strange friends.

We begin with Alabama and our restaurant-guide tip for the day: From The Birmingham News: When six escaped maximum-security Alabama inmates were recaptured, one said the highlight of his brief freedom was the outstanding convenience-store bologna sandwich he ate in Bucksnort, TN. Next time we’re in the mood for a baloney sandwich, check out Bucksnort near where I-40 crosses the Tennessee River.

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Looking to make a career change? Brian O’Dea, 52, had a creative idea for new work based on old habits. O’Dea bragged about his high-level marijuana-smuggling experience in a Toronto newspaper ad seeking a legitimate executive job. He says his phone started ringing off the hook. He emphasized his "security" and international markets experience as well as his management of a "$100-million enterprise employing 120 people.

Or perhaps another entrepreneurial venture. A brisk business continues at the "Seek Ye First Lingerie" shop in Louisburg, N.C. where two female owners purportedly want to appeal to religious women who want to be alluring but not sleazy. According to a report in the "Raleigh News & Observer," the merchandise found at the "Thong Center" rack is the most popular. Those among us who yearn to be politically active will not be inspired by the actions of a San Francisco Elvis impersonator, despite his perseverance. City Mayor Willie Brown got a restraining order against the rock-and-roll wannabe, who had been pestering him for months for a meeting to discuss how to get rid the city’s ample supply of panhandlers and liberals. The mayor knew how to get rid of one.

Another lesson in life: Kerry Bingham of Tacoma, WA was drinking with friends when someone mentioned a person who had bungee-jumped from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in the middle of traffic. Bingham and those who wanted to repeat the "adventure" headed for the bridge. Midway across, they discovered that no one had brought a bungee cord, but the sloshed Bingham volunteered to make the jump and suggested a lineman’s coil of cable, which was lying nearby. One end of the cable was tied around his leg and the other end was tied to the bridge. His fall lasted 40 feet before the cable tightened and tore his foot off at the ankle. He survived his fall into the icy river water and was rescued by two nearby fishermen. "All I can say," said Bingham, "is that God was watching out for me on that night. There’s just no other explanation for it." They never found his foot.

And then there’s burglary in California. Santiago Alvarado, 24, was killed in Lompoc as he fell face-first through the ceiling of a bicycle shop he was attempting to burglarize. Police speculated Alvarado was holding a long flashlight in his mouth to keep his hands free when he took the fatal plunge, ramming the flashlight into the base of his skull as he hit the floor.

And then of course, there’s the weirdo who keeps track of all this stuff. Fran Sharp is a freelance writer in Alabaster. Send her your weirdies at




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