I don’t know about you, readers, but after the tragedy and seriousness in the news lately, I’m ready for a laugh.

Searching for something lighthearted, I turned to Google again for some delights from news teams around the world. And as usual, the weird world didn’t disappoint.

Let’s start with a story from Augusta, Maine for a report that struck me odd on a few levels. There, Unicode Consortium has proposed the release of 157 new emojis this year, including an eight-legged lobster than has Maine residents boiling.

Everyone knows the “cockroaches of the sea” have ten legs, right? I mean, come on. Eighty-eight keys on a piano, 5,280 feet in a mile, 60 seconds in a minute and ten legs on a lobster. Wait, no, I’m thinking eight legs on a spider, that’s what I learned in school. I had honestly never considered how many legs a lobster had.

I guess it would take residents of an oceanside area to care about the anatomical correctness of a lobster emoji.

Here’s the other part of that story that has me puzzled. There’s an organization that controls the release of emojis?

From there (imagine a winking face emoji here), we’ll go to Mainz, Germany. Now Germans aren’t necessarily revered for their humor. But this story is fantastic, and it’s made even better because there’s no explanation offered by the “victims.”

Police in western Germany were called to free two men who were entangled with a mannequin wearing a knight’s costume and a toy car. Officers were called “after crimes were heard from an apartment … in the early hours of Saturday,” read the Associated Press story. The men were too drunk to explain how they became “hopelessly locked together.”

I really wish there had been a photo with the story. I can’t quite wrap my mind around what a spectacle that must have been. I’m picturing something like a scene in a Mel Brooks spoof of Star Wars called Spaceballs when Rick Moranis, as Dark Helmet, and Bill Pullman as Lone Starr get their lightsaber-like “Schwartz rings” stuck together. “Maybe if I put my leg up on yours, we can pull apart?”

Now this next story caused me to laugh out loud just at the headline alone. “After elk crashes copter, some question wildlife chopper use.”

Well first of all, did he have proper pilots training? The ungulate probably had a hard time with all those switches on the controls.

Reading the story a little more, it’s a little funny, but with a tragic ending. The low-flying research helicopter in the mountains of eastern Utah had been trying to capture the animal with a net to tag it. However, the scared beast leaped toward the aircraft, and met a grisly end colliding with the tail rotor.

The humans on board the craft weren’t seriously injured. One commenter on Yahoo left an interesting observation — “Elkohol was not a contributing factor.”

A story reported by UPI from Australia showed that even reptiles are in the mood for a little brewed beverage every now and again. Stewy the Snake Catcher — I’m guessing not all of that is his given name — was contacted by members of the public who spotted a tiger snake with its head stuck inside a can of Carlton Draught.

Stewy was able to safely release the beer aficionado from his hopsy hideaway, with little thanks from that low-down, dirty snake. In all seriousness, though, Stewy held on to the reptile until it made a recovery.

One more story, and this may be today’s “winner” of the weirdest, coming from Sweden.

In a bizarre marketing ploy, Ikea is trying to drum up sales of cribs by printing a coupon that can only be revealed by a pregnant woman’s urine.

The ad, in the magazine Amelia, includes a special kind of paper along with instructions.

“Peeing on this ad may change your life,” it read, according to Adweek.

I certainly hope the magazine isn’t left in waiting rooms after use.

(Schellhammer is the Era’s associate editor. She can be reached at marcie@bradfordera.com)



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