- Views & Opinions
“Is this real?”
“Are you serious?”
“This is like an Onion headline!’
Those are responses that readers have posted on the Wisconsin Gazette Facebook page in response to actual headlines over the years.
People who get their information online have reason to be wary. Healthy skepticism and critical thinking skills are perhaps needed more now than ever. Sometimes, sadly, fake stories are even promoted by legitimate news media trying to keep up with the latest viral sensation. Just check out snopes.com.
The real news has been so frightening and depressing during the past few months, that we thought, “Hey, let’s do something light this issue.”
So we’ve expanded WigWag into a full-length feature. All of the stories are real, though some are stranger than fiction.
When stories such as these are actual, no wonder it’s easy for people to confuse what’s real with what isn’t..
Twitter has been buzzing with stories that Donald Trump is a space alien. The evidence is as scant as proof that President Obama wiretapped Trump tower. The rumor started with comments about The Orange One’s strange behavior, bizarre tweets and, of course, unearthly hairdo. An SNL skit added fuel. It’s unclear if the tweeters actually believe what they’re saying, but the fact that so many people are sharing it strike us as strange.
Major League fans are still talking about the big win of 2016, when the Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians and won their first World Series in 108 years. Many are talking in particular about the naked pep talk that Anthony Rizzo delivered in the locker room before the final game. In The Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse, author Tom Verducci reveals that Rizzo stripped, cranked up the theme from Rocky on the stereo, jumped on a coffee table and shouted lines from the movie. The rest is history.
A couple in Sandusky, Ohio, is in trouble for staging a murder in a bathtub and texting the pictures to their friends. Nataleigh Schlette and Micah Risner pleaded not guilty to inducing panic. For a joke, she got in a bathtub and poured ketchup over herself and Risner took photographs that he sent to friends. Three people called police to dispatch officers to the scene.
My, what big eyes these thieves must have: Los Angeles police recently reported the theft of 100,000 packages of “Modern Renaissance” eye shadow — valued at about $4.5 million — from a warehouse storing Anastasia Beverly Hills cosmetics.
Sheriff Wayne Ivey in Brevard County, Florida, has devised the Wheel of Fugitive to decide which wanted man or woman to target for arrest. Each week, Ivey spins a wheel containing the mugshots of 10 people. The mugshot at the top of the wheel is the “Fugitive of the Week,” and he or she wins all the publicity that comes with that title. Videos of Ivey spinning his Wheel of Fugitive appear on the sheriff’s Facebook page, introduced with a chorus shouting “It’s Wheel of Fugitive.”
Does the spring-break capital of the U.S. ever take a break from strange crime? The Broward County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office is searching for an armed suspect who robbed a South Florida blood bank. Video shows the robber wearing an Iron Man red sweatsuit, hoodie and Iron Man mask. The sheriff’s office said the man demanded money and told a clerk he was hungry.
Two Wisconsin men are accused of stealing 1,800 cases of diapers from a Fox Crossing warehouse Jan. 3–Feb. 13. The diapers were from a charitable organization that provides goods and services to low-income families. ”
Did Neanderthals invent the French kiss? A new report in the journal Nature details an analysis of dental plaque from the remains of four Neanderthals found in Belgium and Spain.. A genetic analysis of the DNA in the plaque provided information about what Neanderthals ate (wooly rhino, bark and mushrooms), their quality of health and who and how they kissed. A microbial genome in the plaque associated with gum disease also suggests Neanderthals and humans kissed each other — deeply.
Darrell Hamilton Jr., shot a video of his romantic proposal to girlfriend Rheanna Lopez, but motion sickness spoiled the picture. Hamilton popped the question during a plane ride over an area near Fresno, California, where the fruit trees had just erupted into bloom. The video shows Hamilton showing Lopez the ring and asking, “Will you marry me?” It also shows him vomiting all over the floor seconds later.
A man whose company scoops pet poop was placed on probation for two years and fined $500 for buying fake Secret Service identification cards and badges to impress women on a dating site. Among his shenanigans, Christopher Diiorio, 54, flashed one of his fake ID cards during a traffic stop and tried to use a Secret Service badge to get a hotel room at the government rate. Unknowingly, he also tried to lure his estranged wife online by touting his fake credentials.
Ivanka Trump, who looks like she’s no stranger to the knife, is inspiring other women who want her look — and we’re not talking about her jewelry. China’s Trademark Office has received 258 applications to license some form of the First Daughter’s name, including a plastic surgery center that plans to churn out Ivanka clones. Meanwhile, a Houston plastic surgeon told USA Today she’s inspiring cosmetic makeovers in the United States as well. One woman spent $30,000 and endured six hours of surgery to get some of what Ivanka has, particularly her nose, cheeks and breasts.
A Texas lawmaker was making a point about legislation that restricts women’s access to health care and abortions when she proposed fining men $100 when they masturbate. In addition to the penalty for wasting semen that fails to result in pregnancy, Democratic Rep. Jessica Farrar’s bill also sought to require a “medically unnecessary digital rectal exam” for any man who wants a vasectomy or Viagra — a poke at the mandatory and medically irrelevant transvaginal ultrasounds that women seeking abortions are forced to endure.
This sounds like a Florida story, but it occurred in Indiana: Two brothers, 24 and 21, both stark naked and high on mushrooms, were arrested in the parking lot of an apartment complex when residents called the police after seeing them rolling around on the lawn, punching and making out with each other. Before the police arrived, they’d also punched people, assaulted a woman and smashed cars.
“Not a good batch of whatever he got,” one resident said of the older brother in an interview with WRTV of Indianapolis.
“Defiant Girl” has become iconic since the statue appeared on Wall Street on the eve of International Women’s Day, staring down the famous bull. Women frequently go to be photographed with it. As one young woman was snapping a shot of the statue, a suited Wall Street guy suddenly appeared and started humping the statue while his male friends laughed and cheered him on. She shot the picture and posted it on her Facebook page.
A book — “written” by a conservative author and filled with blank pages in a dig at Democrats — was recently the top-selling political humor book on Amazon. Reasons to Vote for Democrats: A Comprehensive Guide consists of 266 blank pages and features a virtually wordless table of contents, chapters and bibliography. It’s billed in the description as “a political treatise sure to stand the test of time.” The paperback is available for about $8.
A lonely 50-year-old Japanese man who amassed a 6-ton pile of porno magazines died when his collection collapsed on top of him. The man’s body was not found until six months later, when his landlord went to the flat over unpaid rent. It was not clear if the man had suffered a heart attack and fallen into the stacks of magazines or had been crushed by the magazines’ weight. Maybe he should’ve just used the internet?
A tiny moth with a wingspan of just 0.4 inches is the first species to be named for President Donald Trump. The yellow and white scales topping the moth’s head resemble Trump’s unique hairstyle, inspiring the name Neopalpa donaldtrumpi. The moth’s habitat extends from Southern California through Baja California in Mexico. The border wall that Trump has proposed building would divide that stretch.
A man was arrested and charged with cyberstalking after allegedly tweeting an animated strobe image to a journalist with epilepsy, triggering a seizure. The suspect was identified when investigators discovered that he’d sent out tweets saying, “I hope this sends him into a seizure,” and, “Spammed this at (victim) let’s see if he dies. … I know he has epilepsy.”
A 17-year-old boy in India was pronounced dead and laid to rest in his coffin. But a funny thing happened on the way to the cremation, according to the Times of India. He startled relatives by waking up and beginning to breathe.
Viewers tuning into Islamic television station Touba TV in Senegal recently got a huge shock — the normal afternoon religious programming was replaced with hardcore pornography for nearly 30 minutes. Touba TV called the broadcasting blunder a “criminal act” and has filed a formal complaint against the unknown saboteur for taking over the network, adding that its viewers were extremely offended.
A Buddhist monk was arrested in Myanmar after authorities found more than four million methamphetamine pills — worth upwards of $4 million in street value — in his car and in his monastery. Township police officer Kyaw Mya Win said it was not a normal case. The monk must now give up his monkhood and face trial as an ordinary person. Myanmar is a major producer of methamphetamine, usually smuggled from the northeast to neighboring countries.
Grand Rapids attorney and local political figure Robert “Bob” Eleveld published his own obituary, while at the same time assuring friends and family he was still alive — though suffering from a rare type of cancer. He wanted his planned memorial service to be a “celebration of life.” Hundreds of his friends and family turned out to celebrate his life at the faux memorial service. In an extreme case of irony, Eleveld died peacefully in his bed the next day, surrounded by family.
In an effort to retire elderly drivers from the roads, a police department in Japan is offering an interesting new incentive; discount funerals. Drivers 75 or older were responsible for over 13 percent of fatal traffic accidents in Aichi Perfecture, Japan in 2016. A funeral home teamed up with the Ichinomiya police and is offering 15 percent discounts on the cost of a funeral alter for elderly customers who surrender their drivers’ license at police stations. Having a funeral in Japan isn’t cheap, costing an average of about 1.5 million yen ($13,300).