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Today's proof that anything, literally anything, will pass for news at a small market local station comes to us from KYTX, the CBS affiliate in Tyler, Texas. For reasons intelligent people would debate for centuries if they didn't have better things to do, the station ran a "story" a couple of days ago about a local man who claims he found fossilized snail shells in his aunt's front yard that date back to the great flood detailed in the Bible. That would be the flood that only Noah, his family, his ark, and two of every single animal on earth survived. 

Wayne Propst says he was helping to lay some dirt outside his aunt's home when he stumbled upon the find of the century. "What's really interesting to me is we're talking about the largest catastrophe known to man, the flood that engulfed the entire world," Propst told a KYTX reporter who later went home and began in earnest the long, slow slide into alcoholism that's obligatory for TV news people. (By the way, also "really interesting" to Propst: how clouds don't fall out of the sky, why there was no plane wreckage found at the Pentagon, and his penis.) 

Propst, who proudly sported his "This Guy Loves Jesus" t-shirt for his big interview, has had his findings confirmed by a man named Joe Taylor, whom KYTX calls a "self-proclaimed fossil expert." Now while there's certainly comedic value in just leaving that little nugget right there, it's worth pointing out that Joe Taylor is actually a biblical scholar and self-proclaimed fossil expert who believes that archaeology contradicts the theory of evolution and proves the Bible right. This might explain why he verified Propst's snail shell imprints as being the real deal, sight completely unseen. He reportedly says that finding those kinds of fossils in Tyler, Texas is extremely rare. No doubt for some reason other than the story of Noah's Ark being utterly preposterous in the first place. 

As for Propst's equally gullible family -- well, they're equally gullible. "To think that... we have something in our yard that dated back to when God destroyed the earth," says Sharon Givan, Propst's aunt. "I mean, how much better could anything be?" Upon hearing this question and as a reward for her unwavering faith, God immediately crashed two trucks directly in front of her home, one carrying Keystone Light beer and the other Pall Mall cigarettes. 

The entire thing ends with KYTX admitting the comically obvious: they can't independently verify Propst's claim, as God wasn't available for comment and Joe Taylor is apparently a bit of a lunatic. If you want to talk seriously, this makes it a story they never should've done in the first place since it's a story with nothing in the way of facts. But hey, why quibble?  

It's not fun to imagine how bored you have to be as a TV news executive to get a phone call from some nobody who says he's found relics from the Bible -- "Noah's dirt" as Propst calls it -- and actually proclaim, "Wow, huge!" instead of immediately placing him on hold for the next six hours just out of spite. Hell, it's entirely possible that Wayne Propst is, in fact, the smartest person in this whole, silly tale, given that he got paid professionals to come running and give him both local -- and now national -- coverage of a bunch of snail shell-imprinted rocks he found in his aunt's yard.

In a related item, can we please nuke Texas from space now?