Your favorite Obscure Store stories of 2001
JIM ROMENESKO: Many of my favorite stories of '01 have already been mentioned, but here are a few others:
> Man jailed for saying his McNuggets were "shit"
> Man arrested for having sex with chicken at motel
> Condom in toothpaste leads to man's heart attack
> Student's pants catch fire during drama skit
CRAIG STAFFORD: The articles linked on Romenesko always brighten my day. The Darwin Awards have nothing on these people! You are everything Jay Leno's HEADLINES should be if, oh say, Leno didn't suck so badly (and in front of millions). Many articles rank as my favorite, but this one is an all-time classic. It was fairly recent on Romenesko, but damn, it still makes me laugh....hard. It was from the University Daily Kansan Sports section: "Student Excited Dad Got Head Job", complete with a photo of a young hottie with her mouth open in...ah, er, excitement. The article itself reads like a bad romance novel: "It's just a special time in our lives. I don't think anyone will ever understand how cool it is. It's overwhelming." I've always wanted to be with a girl like that, and one so willing to speak with the press about us. I laughed until I turned blue (in the face) and sent it to everyone but the Pope. But then again, I'm the same person that found it amusing years ago to give a girl I liked a Reece Cup t-shirt that I'd sent away for with their slogan at the time "Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together".
NANCY OTT: Favorite 2001 stories: The guy who claimed that an Ultima Online player had been killed in the Sept. 11 attacks so he could get permission to use the man's roleplaying character.
* The two wandering dogs -- one was blind and the other acted as its seeing-eye dog. (This one is my sentimental favorite.)
* My least favorite stories were the ones about forgetful parents accidentally leaving their infants to die in broiling hot cars.
I'm trying to remember where the article about the drunk clown came from. I think one of the quotes was something along the lines of "I don't drink until 2 o'clock and the kids don't mind anyway." There was also a great picture of the clown.
CAL EVANS: The best story of this year, in my opinion, is the tale of the Pet Smart employee who used a dog as a mop to clean up said dog's urine! Talk about behavioral training...my own mother couldn't have done a more thorough job!
CONSTANTINE VON HOFFMAN:
It was a year of ugly attacks on American cultural institutions. I speak of course of the man who attacked cookie monster at the Sesame Place theme park in Pennsylvania. The best part was his trying to justifying slugging the poor, minimum-wage teen in the furry outfit. This rivals my favorite of 2000 -- the beserk pig on the airplane story. That was also a PA story as I recall, leading me to ask -- which state provided the most Obscure Store stories? Whichever one should get an award.
KATHLEEN HARRINGTON: My favorite was the Ohio woman who signed a contract to be a sex slave for one year. Let's keep it all on the up and up, hey? Also many good stories this year about domestic disturbances involving assault by food items - chili dogs, M&M's, mac and cheese. Usually there was some mention of alcohol too. I always appreciate a story that is enhanced by a photo of the subjects or one with an evil clown as the perp. From the international arena I would nominate the story of the English boy too ugly to serve KFC and the Polish woman with hands so rough she was denied entry to the US. I have had my fill of stories about foreign items found in fast food and folks with excessive numbers of cats, living or dead. Has anyone else noticed an abundance of missing body part (lips, ears, penis, nose) Êstories?
PAT CAMPBELL: Without a doubt the Tammy Felbaum story. The 42 year old transsexual from Butler, PA is charged with the castration and death of her sixth husband. This story is beyond weird. Tammy/Tommy as he/she is known in the trailer park had her husband sign a consent form prior to the crude surgery thinking that would allow her to abdicate responsibility for her actions. It turns out she has performed this surgery before, twenty years ago on herself. Police are also looking for husband number one, they believe she may have neutered him as well. The way this story is going we may have a small army of eunuchs in Butler , PA. Over the weekend we learned from neighbors that she didn't limit her surgical expertise to human beings. Apparently a number of animals had been killed in an attempt to create a two headed dog. To add insult to injury Tammy is being fined $300 per day by the health dept. because of the deplorable state of her mobile home.
MONTY COX: I don't understand how anything could top the story about the little guy out in Colorado that found a lump of mold in his sports drink that looked like a penis. Did you see the picture? It looked like a little three inch penis! He drank half of the damn bottle before he saw it floating around in the red fruit punch. I would give anything to have seen the look on his face when that little hunk of mold surged forward and gave him a kiss on the lips as he was taking a big chug. The coroner even thought it was real flesh! The cops didn't know what to think. The drink manufacturer was freaking out. Everyone was scratching their heads! That's got to be the most bizarre story of the year. Bar none.
JAMIE PAQUETTE: Many thanks to Romenesko and Obscure Store for the daily glimpse into the weird, vapid, thoughtless, drunk and sometimes just plain crazy side of humanity. One of my favorites was the woman who mangaged the local pizza chain and tried to increase her store's sales by ordering pizzas and then stashing them in her garage. First, she would deliver them all herself, then she gets busted when she asks a co-worker to help her move. Brilliant! Then there was the judge who sentenced the teen drug offender to listen to Afroman's "Because I Got High". The song ostensibly has an anti-drug message, but anyone with a clue knows that it's just some stoners goofing around. Plus, the teen in question knew the song already and was a fan of it. Recidivism anyone? Happy New Year.
ANDREW GAMET: One of my favorite stories was that of a man that went up to his vacation home, only to find two hippies had not only broken in and were living there, but also had sold some of his furnishings and were remodeling the home. I believe the hippies had said that they "...believe in a world where no one 'owns' anything, but everyone shares." This is a find idea, but they probably should have asked the owner if he agreed as well.
Another story I remember was that of an Asian woman who traveled to America in search of the buried money from the movie Fargo. Tragically, she is found dead in the end of the story, by unknown means. But still, despite what language you speak, you'd think it'd be easy to explain to someone what is and isn't real.
And lastly, I remember the story of the white high school kid who dressed fully in a fat black man outfit to rob a bank. The truly memorable thing about this story was the picture of the kid, in fully black makeup and with a pillow under his sweatshirt. He looked surprised that he was caught. What a jackass.
DAVID DAHLGREN: My favorite story of this year was the man who drove his 4X4 pickup onto the roof of a friend's house. What made it especially great was that his truck was impounded until he paid the towing bill, and while it was impounded, the police found that the tires on the truck had been bought with a stolen credit card. Second was the guy who stated that although he had never added oven cleaner to a Burger King burger, he did throw patties up into the rafters for a few days before cooking them and serving them to people.
NICOLE: One of my favorite Obscure stories was the one about the woman who castrated her husband. It's not so much that part of the story, but all the little odd bits that were included -- that she had done it before, at their request, the comment one of her victims, er, patients made that she was real good at doing that to dogs. That was just too odd. Though I have to admit, the massive amount of frozen cat stories are right up there. How many cats were there total, from all those stories? 700? 800? Yeesh.
JOHN HIGGINS: I'm particularly fond of stories about people caught having sex with animals, both because of the sheer weirdness but also to see how the local paper treats the subject, tiptoing carefully or writing it straight as if it happened all the time. Favorites include the guy who killed his adult son after seeing the son french kiss his dog and a guy in Wisconsin caught in a cow pasture standing with his pants around his ankles behind a holstein -- for the second or third time.
GREG CANNON: My favorite for the year is an import, courtesy of the one of the British tabs. It's the story of a young lad deemed too ugly to work the register and have contact with the public at the local KFC. The truly brilliant part was that the paper stuck a thumb in KFC's eye and sent the kid on a date with one of its busty Page 3 girls to a posh restaurant and the pictures showed a kid that was a perfect mix of excitement and embarrassment as the curvy model did a very good job of pretending to fawn over him.
BOB: One man's top five:
1. Drunk man steals snowplow to buy beer
2. Elvis impersonator harasses SF mayor
3. Inmate sues prison for not receiving God-like treatment
4. Man (and his motor scooter) files bizarre suit against Jesus Christ to reclaim said motor scooter. Other listed defendants: the UN, the El Paso County sheriff, the Colorado Springs police chief and the Sanhedrin, the highest court and council of the ancient Jewish nation at the time of Jesus' crucifixion.
5. Karate students attempt to coverup arrow in eye incident by removing the arrow themselves
EMILY IN SOMERVILLE, MA: Unlike last year's Obscure Favorites, which included indelible images of the Fried Chicken Head and the Dog With Its Head Stuck In A Jar, this past year will be remembered for Jim Romenesko's untiring reportage of keen pop culture trends. Strings of articles on hazing incidents, failed "Jackass" stunts, school censorship battles, dog attacks, and the like kept me more than up-to-date. Of course, there are some miscellaneous whoppers: the woman whose poodle chewed off her lip while she slept; the guy from Maine who tried to murder his son for sleeping with his pet dog; the transgendered wife who castrated her husband and kept a Dr. Moreau-type lab in their trailer home; the moose that ran off with the family's swingset in Alaska; the many cat-hoarding ladies of America; and of course, the "Dildo Bandito" of Boulder, CO.
JOE LEX: My Top Ten Obscure Store forwards of 2001:
1. Illinois trucker says child porn inspired anger that kept him alert at wheel -- lamest excuse of the year: "Child porn makes me angry enough to stay awake on the long haul."
2. "Sock man" gets 30 days for probation violation Ð a worthy Central Illinois successor to the Enema Bandit of many years ago
3. Seaquarium workers eat endangered sea turtle after it dies from injuries -- the "Tastes a Little Like Spotted Owl" award
4. Pasco jail trusties say their new uniforms make them look like the hamburglar -- our fashion-conscious criminal class
5. Woman collects road kill to increase respect for wildlife -- oxymoron of the year
6. Police say refund paid on shovel after killing -- Chutzpah of the Year
7. Man makes love to lamp-post -- the You Light Up My Life award
8. Man fulfills vow to drive to own wake -- a few more minutes he could have climbed directly into the coffin and saved someone a LOT of inconvenience
9. Twins create thousands of tiny clay cats dressed in Civil War uniforms -- I wonder if their feline Dan Sickles had only three legs?
10. $1.5 million suit filed in the library cat case -- Meaner Than a Junkyard Dog
Close in follow-up -- the couple being chased around the backyard by the flaming possum. The article didnÕt mention anything, but I wonder if there was any alcohol involved?
And the "Shoving Marshmallows into a Piggy Bank" award goes to the funeral home workers who hammered the lid shut on the obese woman as her family watched in horror.
No stories this year about men dressing sheep in blue nightgowns, though.
DANIEL WOLFE: My favorite is the one about the man who collects pennies obsessively. The best part was the picture of the guy, rolling around naked in his penny collection. But it was a pretty interesting story, very well written, and you can't help but admire the man for stealing pennies from his wife's wallet while the interviewer was still there.
Aside from my continued fascination with elderly citizens who interminably crash through store fronts, houses, restaurants etc due to their "feet" being stuck on the pedal... the best had to have been that story of the college "journalist" who thought that the ManBeef.com site was genuine... first I spit soda out my nose at the name manbeef.com, then heartily laughed my vegetarian butt off over what a nitwit article that girl wrote...
© 2001 by Jim Romenesko | firstname.lastname@example.org