Tuesday, April 25, 2017

WEIRD NEWS

Remember Blockbuster Video? Alaska Does!

You may not know it but not every Blockbuster Video store went out of business. Kevin Daymude still runs a Blockbuster outlet in Anchorage, which is one of several locations in Alaska that survived after the parent company closed its last few hundred outlets in 2013. Daymude, who has been with Blockbuster since the days of VHS, says, "I can't tell you how many business cards I've given out to people 'cause they literally do not believe that I'm from Blockbuster. I feel like a lot of the customers just want to come in and feel like they're someone special. They love the customer service, they love the interaction." Alan Payne owns nine of the last 12 Blockbusters in the country, most of them in Alaska, though even there, several have had to close in the last few years. There used to be more than 9,000 across the country. In 2013, he told the Wall Street Journal that he decided to keep licensing the Blockbuster name because a lot of people associate the name with happy memories. He says one reason why the stores have managed to survive so long in Alaska is because people enjoy the selection and the social aspect - and another is that Internet in the state tends to be expensive and charged by data usage, meaning a trip to Blockbuster can work out a lot cheaper than binge-watching on Netflix. (CBS News)

Boy Tries to Drive Across Australia! Almost Does!

If you wanted to drive across the entire continent of Australia, you'd be talking about 2,500 miles. Well one 12-year-old boy set off to drive it alone, and got ridiculously far. He was finally stopped by police about 800 miles into his journey. That's about the equivalent of driving round-trip drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco with a few dozen more miles thrown in for rest stops and food. The child was stopped in Broken Hill due to a dislodged bumper which was dragging on the ground. Police say the damage suggests he was involved in some sort of accident along the way. The kid had apparently taken the family car and his parents reported him missing just after he left home. He will likely face charges including driving without a license and not paying for gas. As for how he managed to not raise suspicions for such a long period, reportedly he's 6-feet-tall and looks much older than 12. (New York Times)

Hammer Throw Leads to Tragedy

A track and field event at Wheaton College ended in tragedy in Illinois. A 19-year-old freshman volunteering at a competition was accidentally hit by a hammer during the hammer throw event. The "hammer" is actually a metal ball that's attached to a grip via a steel wire; it weighs 16 pounds for men and 8.8 pounds for women, though it hasn't been reported which size hammer hit Ethan Roser. Roser, who had transferred to the school in January, had planned to become a minister. Tragically, he was pronounced dead at the hospital. Wheaton College President Philip Ryken in a statement: "We are deeply grieved, but, because of our faith in Christ, not without hope." Roser's father, Rev. Mark Roser, echoed that faith-based reaction: "We know he's with Jesus, and the fact that he's in paradise is a great source of comfort to us." (WCPO)

Malaria Finally On the Way Out!

After decades of work, there is finally a vaccine for malaria! Three African countries have been chosen to test the world's first malaria vaccine - Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi - which will begin piloting the injectable vaccine next year with young children. The vaccine, which has partial effectiveness, has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives if used with existing measures. The challenge is whether impoverished countries can deliver the required four doses of the vaccine for each child. Malaria infects more than 200 million people worldwide every year and kills about half a million, most of them children in Africa. The vaccine, developed by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, will be tested on children five to 17 months old to see whether protective effects shown in clinical trials can hold up under real-life conditions. The vaccine has taken decades of work and hundreds of millions of dollars to develop. (Newser)

When Idiots Have Affairs

A cheating husband in India tried to get out of a planned vacation trip with his girlfriend by sending hoax warnings of a hijack plot. Motaparthi Vamshi Krishna, 32, of Hyderabad, India, had been having an affair with a woman who made him agree to take her on vacation to the state of Goa on the western coast but he didn't want to go. So he created a new email address and used it to tell airport authorities that he had heard a group of men discussing a hijack plot. Aiming to disrupt flights into Chennai, Mumbai and Hyderabad, he said he had heard six men talking in a restaurant, planning to hijack flights at those airports. Airport chiefs took the warning seriously and ordered security officials to be on high alert. Police traced the origin of the email using Vamshi's IP address, and arrested him at his home. He was later found to have a history of cybercrime, and had previously used his skills to convince another woman that he would marry her, though he was already married at the time. (Metro)

How NOT To Get Out of Speeding Ticket

Meanwhile, down in Florida, 43-year-old Saryna Parker, a former Florida middle school teacher is in trouble after police say she drove drunk, caused a crash, then put on quite a performance for a state trooper. A video shows Parker telling the trooper, "I want to kiss you! If you don't stop looking at me like that, I'm going to kiss you." Parker, who troopers said was driving with her 10-year-old son in the car at the time at first said she wasn't the driver and tried to leave to use a bathroom. As she goes through sobriety tests in the video, her speech seems slurred. She was arrested and after troopers put her in the patrol car, she kicked one of them in the groin, according to the arrest report. Parker also can be heard complaining about the students she taught. Miami-Dade Schools officials said Parker was on probation, has been fired and will never be allowed to apply to their schools again. (Miami Herald)

What the What?

In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a fire in an apartment building injured three people - two of which were treated at the scene while the third was transported to a hospital. All three suffered smoke inhalation. But as fire crews worked diligently to put out the blaze, one man apparently pushed past them, re-entered the burning building- so he could save his beer! No kidding. Of course he was arrested and the fire department later tweeted: "1 in custody after obstructing fire and police. It is not advisable to push past PD and Fire in an attempt to "save your beer." #besmart (Keloland Media Group)

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