Real news can be a lot better than fiction

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 18, 2007

I’ve long believed that real news events are more interesting than anything fictional.

There’s just a level of appreciation for real news items that show just how bizarre life can be.

Many of these stories never make their ways into newspapers, but here’s a sample from this week.

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4In Beckley, W.Va., a 61-year-old man decided to take his four grandchildren — all around age 4 — out to eat at a drive-in restaurant.

One small problem, though. He decided to let them ride in a 15-foot motorboat that he hauled with a lawnmower.

The man was not charged, but was told to have someone come pick up the children and have them restrained in child safety seats.

4In New York City, Nadege Brunacci was washing her hands in her bathroom in the early hours of Monday morning when something caught her eye.

She glanced back toward her toilet to see the head of a python peeking at her.

The snake, 7 feet in length, was eventually captured by plummers who had to tear apart the downstairs neighbor’s pipes.

After she saw the snake, Brunacci slammed the lid and placed a heavy box on top before screaming for help. She later gave the snake to a friend, who now keeps it as a pet and named it after her.

4In a regional story in Athens, a woman is accused of digging up her ex-boyfriend’s grave and stealing his ashes.

Martha LaFollete lived with Roger Barber for five years before his death in November. She apparently wasn’t invited to the funeral.

Athens County Prosecutor David Warren’s appropriate quote on the matter was: “I have a category of crimes that I like to refer to as ‘aggravated stupid,’” he said.

4Who’s the biggest male heartthrob in America?

George Clooney? Johnny Depp? Brad Pitt?

Well, none of those men can hold a candle to Shahadeh Abu Arrar, a member of Israel’s impoverished Bedouin Arab community. He has eight wives and a whopping 67 children.

In a recent interview, the 58-year-old Arrar said he has more love to give.

“I’m thinking about a new wife, No. 9,” he said. “There are many women who wish to marry me and there is no lack of women. I never had a problem with such things.”

So there’s a sample of the weird. None of those stories could have been made up, which makes it that much better.

I certainly think there’s a time and place for fiction, but I’ll take the “aggravated stupid” any day of the week.

Rick Greene is the managing editor of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached at (740) 532-1441, ext. 12, or by e-mail at