Weird Wild Stuff

Words by Shelton Hull


Well, 2023 is almost over, and we have seen all kinds of weirdness this year. We have a Democrat as mayor of Jacksonville and a football team that’s actually good (despite the incessant fickleness of sports media, who are still getting used to it), both of which feel more like miraculous than just weird. Florida has retained its title as the weirdest state in America, but our friends to the north and west have given us some pretty stiff competition. We’ve compiled a slew of strangeness in this column over the past 12 months, and we’re finishing strong today!


Ramen noodles, right? We’ve all eaten our weight in them, either from the square plastic bags or polystyrene cups that are all but mandatory in college dorms and office break rooms from here to Timbuktu. Weirdos will pour hot water into the cup, whereas all the cool kids prefer to pour tap water into the cup, then microwave it. Well, as is often the case when trying to be like the cool kids, we may have been slowly poisoning ourselves all along, and not just with all that sodium. Nissin Foods, which has been helping us make it to payday since 1973, announced that they’re switching to paper cups in 2024, and now — now —their product is microwave-safe. Let’s hope that future generations will know of Poly Styrene only as the beloved former singer of 1970s punk band X-Ray Spex. She, too, was not microwaveable. RIP.


Speaking of dead people, some months back we told you about the Florida woman who conspired with the caterer to get everyone high at her own wedding reception. Very much illegal, but also kinda funny because it’s just THC. This next story, however, is not funny at all, but let’s joke about it anyway. A woman in Canberra, Australia was arrested for murdering the parents and aunt of her ex-husband in the most terribly tasty of ways. Her weapon was a beef Wellington, which, as you know, is a slab of beef tenderloin wrapped in prosciutto and puff pastry, along with finely-chopped and sauteed mushrooms. Now if you’re gonna make this dish for the holidays (which you should because it’s great), it’s very important that the mushrooms you use are not of the Amanita phalloides variety, aka “death cap.” We shouldn’t have to tell you this, but since we are in Florida, maybe we do. 

Things fall off of trucks all the time, and as a general rule, the messier the spill, the funnier it is. A recent accident in Vandalia, Ohio was kinda funny but also potentially traumatizing for onlookers because the cargo in question was 2,000 little piglets, who spilled out of a crashed semi-truck on Interstate 75. It’s unclear how many were caught, but since they were destined to be raised in captivity and then brutally slaughtered, we hope that none were. Our vegan friends are probably outraged, but aren’t they always?

For our money, there are few things more satisfying than seeing violent criminals get their comeuppance, and this is one of the best examples of 2023. A carjacking suspect in Glendale, Wisconsin, was one of four who scattered after crashing a stolen Dodge Durango into two other cars, which could have been disastrous for all involved. This fella almost got away by hiding in a porta potty, which was stationed at a golf course, until a couple of quick-thinking golfers (an oxymoron, sure) saw him, rushed over and tipped it over. The result was exactly as you would imagine, and we are here for it. No sympathy, whatsoever. The only bad news is that he was white, so police had no choice but to take him alive.


Let’s wrap up this column — and this year — with one of the weirdest, wildest stories of the entire year. Police in Nicaragua launched an investigation of the Miss Nicaragua Pageant on charges of rigging the pageant. Now that’s hardly unusual: The pageant circuit is fundamentally corrupt, creepy and perverse, and we’ve all known that for years. But this has a fun little twist, in that her plan was apparently to install a bunch of beauty queens who could use their talents, shall we say, as part of her plan to overthrow her government. Crazy concept, but the entire Reagan/Bush administration basically dead now, Nicaragua is actually now allowed to pick their own leaders, and local customs may vary. It’s unclear exactly how this was supposed to work, but presumably as long as Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega stays out of any Moscow hotel rooms, he should be fine. Needless to say, the movie basically writes itself, but if you need a script written, holla!


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].