Reuters News Agency: The News with a Chuckle!!
Reuters has meant news for generations
Man's Pecadillos Often Amuse
Reuters is as much a household name as baked beans. The premium news service has been gathering stories from all over the world for well over 150 years. The service is famous for its financial information as it is for breaking news, and many newspapers rely on Reuters, API, and other news agencies for much of their material, many, in fact, preferring to use it rather than employ foreign news journalists.
Along with the myriad straight news stories, Reuters often encounters humorous and even bizarre happenings which they now include on their websites for their reader’s enjoyment and often amazement. Perhaps we need to invent a new word for stories that both shock and amuse, such as one Reuter’s classic, “Six Drown Saving Chicken,” or the old chestnut “Man Bites Dog.”
In case you are not newspaper-speak savvy, the “Brights” in the title of this hub actually refers to these type of stories which do add a sparkle to mind-numbing stock and share lists or soporific political editorial. Reuters found that they got so many hits and interest in these items they now appear all over their regular fare.
Reuters has also put these gems into a book, also called “Six Drown Saving Chickens,” published a few years ago by Caroll and Graf, New York. Here are a few of these headlines which Reuters thought unusual and thought-provoking enough to include. Some are just there because the happening itself as amazing enough to get their attention, such as the American dog lover in her eighties who died and lay, undiscovered, for a week. During this time, her hungry and quite pragmatic pets had eaten the bottom half of her!
Or the strange account of the British musician who loved his fender guitar so much, he finally married it and arranged to be buried with it. His wife though he was quite nuts.
With regard to the chicken incident, four family members and two friends in Cairo drowned after the first victim, an 18-year-old, dived down the well to rescue the chicken, but got in trouble and the others, one after another, jumped in to save him and, we presume the chicken. Oddly, the chicken was the only creature found alive, floating on the water and probably wondering why so many humans lay belly-up around her.
. Can death ever be funny? Well, many races have a giggle at funeral ceremonies, to wit the Irish and the Chinese. And I have personally seen a cortege so drunk in Mexico that the four pall bearers, beers in hand, all fell into the grave with the coffin on top of them. I swear this is true. (It was in Valle de Bravo in 1989 and I couldn‘t breathe for laughing).
Reuters has also seen the amusing side at times:
Crematorium Burns Down. Workers must routinely load more than one body at once into the pyre when the chapels are busy. When workers in San Antonio’s crematorium loaded a 400 pound body on top of one already on the conveyor belt, the resulting grease-fired inferno could not be contained and the fire escaped from the oven and quickly spread to the whole building. Apparently, and I had no idea, it takes some time - hours in fact - for a body to be consumed down to mere ash. The workers had all left for a smoko, which is normal, to be called back as the crematorium became a pyre and the fire service arrived to put out the flames. No (further) lives were lost, but the incident resulted in about 250,000 dollars in damage. And another hefty sum, we imagine, in damages to the family who watched dear Juan and Emilio being dragged from the flames of the wrong fire, way away from being able to be stuffed into an urn.
Love and Marriage that goes wrong is always grist for the reporter’s mill, as we see every day in the British gutter press (most of it these days). The following was an account of what can happen if you change to apple of your eye into,
“A Woman Scorned.” (My banner, not Reuters). A jealous Brazilian woman punished her lover by offering to forgive him, after she found out he was married to someone else. As he kissed her in some relief, the woman bit off a large chunk of his tongue, which she promptly swallowed to prevent it being sewn back on! The victim, unable to speak, wrote on a piece of paper, “This was the real Judas kiss.” (Jesus’ kiss of Iscariot after his betrayal). His predator ex., having at least had a protein meal, disappeared.
Crime perpetrated by bungling crooks has always been good for a laugh in books, the cinema and in news stories.
“Ronnie Was an Unwelcome Guest at Wedding.” (my banner)
Only in sex quirky UK could a groom inadvertently show a video he made buggering his neighbor’s bull-terrier named Ronnie instead of a video of his marriage ceremony! He lent the video recorder to the dog owner to film the wedding but forgot to erase the “man fucks dog” part. The man denied that he had actually performed sexual acts with the bemused canine to the judge and jury: a custodial sentence was the probable outcome, Reuters doesn‘t say. But can’t you just imagine the look on the bride’s and his future mother-in-law’s faces as they watched events unfold? Ha!
‘Uman Rights! Maybe. Did you know there was a sport called “Dwarf Throwing” in the Antipodes? New one on me. Anyhow, according to a Reuters story, it didn’t go down so well after it came to France where it was banned in several jurisdictions by the courts who found the practice dangerous and undignified. This ruling made one human ball furious that the courts were taking away a living from dwarfs. He wrote “This spectacle is my life, I want to be allowed to do what I want” Evidently, the dwarfs are padded and helmeted, only travel about six feet onto an inflatable mattress. Good old Nanny Europe, always trying to protect us from ourselves, especially where the, ahem, little man is concerned.
Not funny, but peculiar. Breast Implants. Something to note here.
For those women who have the type of breast implants that include trapped air, they might note that the air pockets can expand at high altitudes and cause the breasts to make “a swishing sound,” as a woman found out in Boston. This can also happen in airplanes when the cabin pressure is lower than at sea level. I suppose if you went high enough, they might burst?
Some odd reports have surfaced over the years featuring food and drink. Some hubbers may have read my hub articles on mushrooms and toadstools. An Ottawa, Canada, newspaper editor ended up with very red face after featuring a recipe for Chanterelle Lemon Pasta. The mistake he had made was to run the piece with a photo of the deadly “Destroying Angel” toadstool, not the edible Chanterelle. As The “Angel is one of the most poisonous and lethal fungi on the planet, there was quite an outcry from readers, of whom, luckily, none had gone into the woods and returned with the toadstools to add to their meal.
Finally, to wind up this humble hub, here’s one of the French, who gave the word “pragmatic (ique)” to the world, bowing to the inevitable, This is the population of “Condom” in France who had had enough of tourists wanting to be photographed by the sign with the name of the village on it. They realized there was little they could do to stop the amused hordes, so they opened a museum of contraception. At the time of the Reuters report, there was a feasibility study under way, but the museum is perhaps in place by now. I wonder how many other towns and villages, especially in the British Isles, a haven of such weird names, could find something in their title to use commercially? Bill Bryson mention a few of these evocative village names in his books on Britain: there must be lots…
This is an older Reuters book, I expect there are others since; check Amazon, or you local boot sales - where I found this one!
I credit Reuters New Agency (Now Thomson-Reuters) and Caroll and Graf Publishers for the subject ideas and background excerpted or expanded in this hub article.