I’m about to report some real news stories from the recently deceased summer of 2017, and we’re looking ahead for an even newsier fall— or not. With all the hoopla about fake news, much of this is real news that could have been fake.

So sit back and relax, take another sip of coffee and take pride in being an American.

The headline in the Los Angeles Times declared:

A woman found a tiny live frog in her packaged salad. Now it’s a family pet.

The first thing that bothers me as a former headline writer is this. Where is the drama? The entire story is told in the headline. My headline might have been: “Woman Avoids Frog in Throat; Opts to Keep as Pet”

The second thing that bothers me is that they put the best quote from the proud frog owner at the end: “He survived so much,” she said. “I am just happy he survived and I didn’t eat him.”

You can always count on the DailyMail.com, which is the most popular news website in the world, to feed us news we can really chew on— although apparently not as aggressively as prehistoric men and women. That’s right. Cheese is the reason why we have smaller skulls than the Cro-Magnons, according to news gleaned from a study by University of California researchers.

Actually the culprit is farming— specifically dairy farming— which is blamed on the lack of rigorous chewing since we stopped foraging and started farming. Had we continued to munch on a few twigs as a side salad and passed on the cheddar perhaps we may have well maintained the prodigious skulls of our distant ancestors.

Shrinking skulls? It’s too bad, as Dave Barry observed, that the cheese didn’t have the same effect on our butts. Just saying.

Man tries to eat rattlesnake; Snake bites back

Sometimes you just have to root for the snake— even if it is poisonous. The preceding headline is from USA Today published on Monday of this week::

So this dude in Phoenix decides he’ll impress his buds by catching a live rattler hissing nearby and frying it on his barbecue grill.

The reptile, sizzling mad, strikes out and bites him in the face and on the chest. The inept griller is rushed to the hospital and survives, though the previous five days has been erased by oxygen deprivation. The occasion for the backyard barbecue was a birthday party for his kid, which broke up early with everyone going home hungry.

Hey, Dad, fangs a lot!

Elderly Woman Kills Copperhead Snakes with Shotgun, Shovel and Rake Handle

And speaking of snakes, FOX News U.S., which would never ever report fake news, was apparently not fabricating in July when it offered this headline online:

Although it seems suspicious to fake news spotters that the woman is identified as only “Mrs. Newby,” there are a couple of photos offered as proof. One is of the intrepid Mrs. Newby, said to be 72 years old, and taken from such a distance that it appears to be a woman waving. The other is a photo of some dead snakes.

Anyway, according to the story, our Oklahoma heroine was tired of living with a slithering community of copperheads under her house. She goes on a killing spree, according to the article, “using a shotgun, shovel and rake handle to crush and blast the critters to death.”

Why is the story so intriguing? The number of snakes? The age of the woman or that she is a woman? The idea of venomous snakes living under her house? My vote is for the shotgun.

By the way, the source of this story was one Susan Thompson, identified as Mrs. Newby’s neighbor. FOX News found the story on Thompson’s Facebook post, so you know there was sound journalism behind this. And if that is not enough, the story went on to note that Mrs. Newby continued her vigilance and, a few days later, her neighbor reported a tally of 17 slain serpents. The Facebook post was apparently deleted shortly after that, possibly out of fear of a copperhead rebellion.

Back to school brawl leads to woman pulling gun at Novi Walmart

Finally for today, this story from late August is not your typical back-to-school story. It was reported by a FOX News station at a Walmart in Novi, Michigan.

There was some footage of the investigating police officer in case you’re questioning the legitimacy of this story. All you need to remember are these words of wisdom: “Anything can happen at a Walmart.”

So the gist is that two pairs of women —one tandem a middle-aged mother and young adult daughter—are fighting over a notebook in the school supplies department when the mother pulls a piece, points it at the other pair and orders them to cease and desist. No shots are fired and all four, finally coming to their senses, run off.

At last report police were studying surveillance video and looking for more witnesses, as well as the notebook, to determine whether charges should be filed against any or all of the four.

By the way, police were still considering that the gun-wielding mom may have been acting in self-defense. (Perhaps in fear of a paper cut from the notebook?) And, yes, she was licensed to carry.