Category: News

Update and Apology

Dear wonderful people who read our blog and listen to our mini-podcast on Skepticality,

It’s been drawn to our attention recently that the reduction in story submissions we’ve noticed as of late isn’t due to some unique alteration in the earth’s magnetic field that’s caused our loyal fans to stop thinking to tell us every time something ridiculous happens to them but is, in fact, due to an unknown technical error that’s keeping us from receiving their stories. That’s right, apparently you’ve been sending us stories that we never received! The horror! The inhumanity! The fruit cake!

So with this in mind, we’ve switched our contact form from a third-party add-on to the newer form WordPress supports directly in hopes that we’ll get more reliable submissions. In addition, it allows for a much prettier, better-formatted submission page, so EVERYBODY WINS*!

Which leads us to a request: If in the last couple of months you’ve submitted a story to us and NOT received a personal thank-you from a member of our team (nearly always Wendy), please resubmit it now via the normal Submit page, or at least send in an inquiry to make sure we didn’t miss it. We’ll be eternally* grateful, and you’ll get your second shot at fame and fortune*.

Thanks as always for your support, and we look forward to your story submissions. Again. And sorry. Again.

*This claim has not been verified.

Thanks for the referral to this article by friend of the blog Greg Bart.  It is dizzying in the number of coincidences – the old camera found at a garage sale, the picture inside the camera of a deceased family member;  the family members who died in car accidents, both from neck injuries, the irony that one of those was working for an insurance company… definitely a story made for The Odds Must Be Crazy.

Wichita boy’s garage-sale buy holds a treasure for his family

A 13-year-old boy bought a Polaroid camera at a garage sale, and brought it home to look on the internet for instructions to use it. When he opened it, he saw that the camera still had a photo inside. He showed the photo to his grandmother; she didn’t know that the photo had come from the garage sale camera, and commented that it was her son, the boy’s uncle, Scott, who’d died 23 years earlier. She thought it was a family photo, but didn’t really recognize it.

In the photo Scott is sitting on a sofa with a high school girlfriend, Susan. The grandmother guessed it was taken in 1978 or 1979, about 10 years before his death. When told it came from a garage sale camera, she thought her grandson was kidding. Nobody else in the family could believe it, either.

At the time he died, the man in the photo was about start a new job with an insurance company. He was in a collision and died from neck injuries. His brother had died seven years earlier in a car accident, also of neck injuries.

The family said they don’t know the people who were having the garage sale, and in fact, the man who sold the camera may have picked it up at another garage sale himself.

Although the family considers the discovery of the photo in the garage sale camera miraculous or a sign that their lost loved ones are communicating from beyond this life, and it is understandably startling and disconcerting to find a photo of a lost loved one in a polaroid camera, I remember those, and I’m somewhat surprised that the picture was still as good as it looks in the newspaper photo. I seem to remember that they fade after awhile. But nonetheless, I can’t help thinking about how many Polaroid cameras people had, and the popularity of the hobby. They were amazing for their time – instant pictures that were even sometimes used like postcards – but as common as cellular phones are now. It’s interesting that a 13 year-old boy, after Polaroids were no longer being made,  would pay a dollar for one at a garage sale; and brilliant that he would look up on the internet how to make it work.

Honestly, I think I’ll let this one speak for itself:


When one tracks enough of the details you can figure out that with two right-handed batters in a row, the odds weren’t too extreme that they’d both hit the ball into roughly the same left-field area. So since they DID manage to hit two home-runs in a row (unsure how often this happens… anyone?), that would probably make it unusual if they DIDN’T end up within a similar range. But it’s still some pretty solid dedication on the part of the fan, plus some notable dexterity to pull this off while clutching the first ball in his hand, to catch both.

btw, this was the first batter’s first career homer, and the fan was nice enough to offer him the ball after the game. He also gave the second ball to his buddy who provided the tickets and talked him into attending. Sounds like a pretty nice guy had a heck of a day to me.

Hello Skepticality listeners!

If you’ve already enjoyed today’s episode of Skepticality, then you’ve heard our piece on Slow and Steady Stays at Home. If you haven’t, you should go do it now. We’ll wait.

Anyway, as we mentioned, a full breakdown of Barbara’s notes has been added to the bottom of the article, but as opposed to making you go through ALL the trouble of typing the name of the story into the search bar in the top corner (how many Ls are in “Steady” again?), we decided to just put an easy link on the front page right here. And here. There was also one earlier in the paragraph if you missed it. We’ll even toss one in here for good measure. Can you find the hidden one?

Anyway, don’t forget to post your comments, tell us what we didn’t think of, and add to the world’s knowledge. But even more importantly: don’t forget to submit your own stories! (that wasn’t the hidden link mentioned earlier) This site runs thanks to YOUR submissions, so we need more of them. The more you send the more regularly we can post them and the better the content for the podcast.

So thanks for listening, stopping by, and contributing. You’re the best. And we really mean that. Seriously. We’re not trying to flatter you or anything. Is that a new hairstyle? Looks good on you.

Geologic Shoutout

I’ve been busy preparing for and carrying out a move over the last week. So what were the odds that the one week I was too busy to listen to one of my favorite podcasts, THAT’s when we’d get mentioned on it? The answer: I have no idea. But it happened.

George Hrab hosts a very funny podcast about… well, whatever on earth he feels like making it about. It’s a solid hour of chatter about whatever comes to mind, and while that sounds as though it would make for a dreadful show, George never fails to make it hilarious, clever, thought-provoking, and worthy of the time. And now, thanks to him finding the a post on our site by regular contributor Brian H, he’s tracked us down and mentioned us in the latest episode of his show! And he definitely seems to grasp the goal of the site and does a great job of giving some examples from his own life, along with ideas of what others may be experiencing. It’s worth a listen. Check it out here.

So anyway, the TOMBC team is very thankful to George for checking us out, and we’d also like to thank Brian H for leading him here, not to mention drawing our attention to the episode since some of us were too self-absorbed with a life-changing event to catch it on time.

Busy Day for Toledo Family

(Link submitted by friend of the blog, Nancy Matson)

Families sometimes have strangely scheduled and often inconvenient birthdays. Sometimes people are born too close to a major gift-giving holiday, increasing the financial strain and reducing the flow of gifts. Others end up with family members closely clustered together, with the same result. But in one much happier reversal of Bleak Winters, a Toledo-area family experienced something much more precise:

FOUR birthdays all on January 4th, across four generations.

That’s right, Richard Stiff’s family started off the tradition with his (now-passed) father Marshall being born on January 4th, 1924. Richard, himself was then born on the same day in 1947, his daughter Julia following the pattern in 1978, and her daughter Kourtney following up the rear (for now) in 2011.

The family claims this was entirely unplanned timing and seems to enjoy the family connection, with various family traditions each year to celebrate the connection. Their biggest challenge appears to be simply the difficulty in finding appropriate birthday activities in the chilly month of January.

[SOURCE: Toledo Blade via Yahoo! News]

A few changes

We just made a few changes to the site. We’re now running exclusively on hamster-powered generators in order to reduce CO2 emissions, and we’ve added a fresh pine scent.

No, in reality we’ve switched the comment system to use Disqus to allow better communication and a more social feel to the system. Everything seems to be functioning fine, but please let us know if you have any problems. Of course in order to know that, you’d need to actually comment. Hint, hint. Also, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, know what I mean, etc. Essentially we’re asking you to please comment on the articles. Seriously. This is the Internet for Dagon’s sake. We know you have opinions and want everyone to hear about them, so come on! Tell us what you think about… stuff. And things, too.

In addition we’ve added a new checkbox to the submission page allowing people to let us know if they’d like their name mentioned in the post. We initially assumed people preferred anonymity, but got a lot of feedback that people wanted a personal connection to their stories. But rather than merely ASSUME you want your name displayed for all the world to see, we’re giving you the option. Aren’t we thoughtful?

We’ve also improved the metadata (blah, blah) so that an accurate description of the page appears when you share us on Facebook or Google+. Because sharing is caring. And caring is… nice…

And finally, as usual: submit some stories! We’ve got more in the pipeline, but unless you keep pumping them out, we’ll run out, and that will make various people sad. I’m not naming names. But trust me, you’d feel bad if you knew. I’m tearing up a little just thinking about it now.

Well, we’ve finally hit the big time! We’ve been interviewed on the blog Bag of Holding! What’s that, you say? You’ve never heard of Bag of Holding?! For shame! But at least we’ve corrected that for you now. So go, check out our Interview and find out all the delicious details about the creation of our site, a description of this very blog that you clearly don’t need described, and our personal grooming habits!* And then come back here and submit a story already! *It’s entirely possible the notes about our personal grooming habits were edited out of the final version. We’ve been too nervous to check, as we really opened up at a highly personal level during that part of the interview.

Official Launch Date

It’s been a long, winding, slow road, with lots of obstacles and alcohol, but The Odds Must Be Crazy is finally ready for its official launch.

No more stalling, no more pre-launch status, no more raccoons knocking over the trash can at 2AM (this is unrelated to the site, but we’re really hopeful that if we lump it in with other facts it will also come true). Just an actual launch date, with real, live, readable, fun, interesting, unusual, fascinating, head-scratching, jaw-dropping, ice cream-scooping stories for your enjoyment. And that launch date is:

Thursday, July 14th, 2011.

That date holds special significance to the team, as it’s the beginning of TAM9 from Outer Space in Las Vegas, NV, where we’ll be unveiling the site to 1500 people who will stare in rapt attention, applaud, cheer, and offer their words of support. Then when Bill Nye finishes speaking they’ll come out and see our sign on our table and ask us what the heck “The Odds Must Be Crazy” is. And we’ll answer them, because ignoring them would be rude and contrary to our goal of unveiling the site.

So there you have it. Mark your calendars, tell your friends, Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, Digg us, Stumble us, Tumbl us, Crumble us (that’s a thing, right?), and otherwise let people know to get ready!

In the meantime you can help us out in a much better way than merely telling every single person you know about our website (of course I do mean in ADDITION to telling every single person you know): you can contribute! Simple head to our Submit a Story! page and tell us about your own crazy story of something that seemed to be against all odds. We’ll love you for it, and fame and fortune will be guaranteed.* Got a quick story you want to share? Tweet it! Just add #tombc or #theoddsmustbecrazy onto your tweet and it’ll end up in the sidebar on the right. Go ahead, try it right now. Seriously. Okay, now reload this page. There, wasn’t that cool?

And that’s that! Thanks for keeping an eye on us through all this prep time, and we look forward to your involvement going forward. Thanks for sticking with us!

*While fame and fortunate are guaranteed, The Odds Must Be Crazy makes no guarantee that they will happen to you. Or us. Or anyone who would share the benefits with you or us. Sorry.