Weird Wild Stuff

Words by Shelton Hull

Honestly, we could do this month’s entire column about all the weird, wild stuff that related to the life and death of Queen Elizabeth II, and, in fact, we did. (You can read that special edition right now in the October digital entertainment issue.) We now return to your regularly scheduled programming…

Aug. 17: Archaeologists in Poland made a disturbing find while excavating a cemetery from the 1700s: a possible vampire. The alleged vampire was even found with a literal sickle wrapped around her neck and nailed into the ground, as well as a padlock around her toe, presumably to ensure that she could never rise up again to terrorize innocent people. This is how nations dealt with their deplorables before impeachment was invented.

Aug. 29: Halloween is coming, and I’m sure you’re already preparing. One weirdo from (appropriately enough) Bellevue, Missouri, got the party started in his own stupid, special way by paddling some 38 miles down the Mississippi River in a customized giant pumpkin that weighed at least 846 pounds. The S.S. Berta landed 11 hours later, breaking the old record of 25.5 miles, set just four years ago. Why? No one knows.

Aug. 30: If there’s one thing we all love to see in this column, it’s stuff spilling onto the highway. We may do an end-of-year countdown in this very category, and that list will certainly include the gallons and gallons of pre-made alfredo sauce that spilled all over Interstate 55 in Memphis. Dairy in the summer is a recipe for disaster—the smell must have been unbearable.

Aug. 31: With over 1,600 books banned in over 3,000 schools covering 32 states, the nation’s public libraries have leapt into the spotlight, using their platform to bypass censorship in various creative ways. Oakland found a novel way to address the situation, but without being too on the nose, by opening an art exhibition dedicated to the various items that library patrons left in their books over the years. Unfortunately, no one left a copy of the U.S. Constitution because a lot of these school districts need a crash course in it.

Sept. 2: R.E.M is one of the most underrated rock bands of the last 40 years. Their iconic frontman, Michael Stipe, has finally released his very first solo single, “Future If Future, ”which he’s been teasing since 2018. Produced by Brian Eno, with a B-side by Beatie Wolfe, the song debuted in a limited-edition run of 500 on “bioplastic vinyl,” which has never been available in America before. Recordheads can expect to see this material in stores very soon.

Sept. 5: Atlanta has a lot of crime, even by Florida standards. Whether it’s people getting robbed at Waffle House, carjacked on the highway or gangsta rappers settling scores on video, it’s a lovely city, but also dangerous. Add to this list of grievous crimes: feeding the homeless, as one college student found out when she tried to buy a Popeye’s two-piece. The police were very sympathetic to her, which is surprising, given that she was a Black woman in Atlanta. This sounds insane, but to be fair, people die over Popeye’s way more often than you might think.

Sept. 9: Mister Rogers said it best: “Look for the helpers.” But he never lived in Hialeah, where one of the most indefensible scams in recent memory took place. A retired firefighter picked a poor way to pad his nestegg by selling nearly 15,000 fraudulent AHA certificates. What’s AHA, you ask? Why, it’s the American Heart Association, which certifies folks for CPR, and all kinds of other stuff. He made nearly $900,000 with this scam, but he may spend the rest of his life in prison. We should all be lucky that no one died because of him.

Bonus entry: Since the tragic situation in Ukraine is, to a limited extent, America’s fault, it’s good that we are stepping up to help these people, whose lives are being destroyed because of our piss-poor decision making. More than half of all requests to host Ukrainian refugees have come from just five states, and we should be proud that Florida is one of those states. It makes perfect sense, given our large concentration of Ukrainian-Americans, particularly here in Northeast Florida. There’s nothing weird about that—it’s just a nice thing that we thought was worth noting.


About Shelton Hull

Shelton Hull has been writing for Folio Weekly since 1997, but his resume goes back even further. He has written for almost every newspaper, magazine and zine in Northeast Florida, as well as publications like Orlando Weekly, Narrow GNV, Creative Loafing Tampa, Charleston City Paper, Ink19 and The Atlantic. He currently writes the "Folio Weed" column, which he created in 2018; he remains one of the widest-read and most influential cannabis writers in the world today. He also compiles material for "Weird Wild Stuff" column, and he previously wrote the legendary "Money Jungle" column for Folio Weekly from 1999 to 2009. He is a regular contributor to "First Coast Connect" on WJCT, as well as the Jacksonville Music Experience. He is a co-host of "The Contrast Project" and the "Bold City Civics" podcast. He is also a co-founder of the record label Bold City Music Productions. He can be reached at [email protected]