The “public art” statues unveiled in January by Fort Myers, Florida, Mayor Randy Henderson included a metal structure by sculptor Edugardo Carmona of a man walking a dog, with the dog “lifting his leg” beside a pole. Only after inspecting the piece more closely did many observers realize that the man, too, was relieving himself against the pole. Carmona described the work as commentary on man and dog “marking their territory.” And a recent anonymously authored “confidential” book by a National Football League player reported that “linemen, especially,” have taken to relieving themselves inside their uniforms during games, “a sign that you’re so into the game” that you “won’t pause [even] to use the toilet.”
CAN’T POSSIBLY BE TRUE
The popular Nell’s Country Kitchen in Winter Haven, Florida, was shut down again (for “remodeling,” the owner said) in December after a health inspector found that it had been operating for two weeks without its own running water–with only a garden hose connection, across its parking lot, to a neighbor’s spigot. It had also closed for a day earlier in 2015 because of mold, roach activity and rodent droppings (although management insisted that business had immediately picked up the day they reopened).
In 2004, abusive boyfriend Robert Braxton Jr. was charged with badly beating up the three children of girlfriend Tondalo Hall, 20, with injuries ranging from bruises to fractured legs, ribs and a toe. Braxton got a deal from Oklahoma City prosecutors, pleaded guilty, served two years in prison, and was released in 2006. Hall’s plea “bargain” resulted in a 30-year sentence for having failed to protect her kids from Braxton, and she’s still in prison–and in September 2015 (following a rejected appeal and a rejected sentence modification), the Pardon and Parole Board refused, 5-0, even to commute her sentence to a time-served 10 years.
Mike Wolfe, 35, of Nampa, Idaho, finally brought his dream to life for 2016–a calendar of photographs of “artistic” designs made by shaving images into his back hair. He said it took him about four months each for enough hair to grow back to give his designer-friend Tyler Harding enough to work with. (January, for instance, features “New Year” in lettering, with two champagne glasses; July’s is a flag-like waving stripes with a single star in the upper left.) “Calend-hairs” cost $20 each (with proceeds, Wolfe said, going to an orphanage connected to his church).
ALL PUBLICITY IS GOOD, RIGHT?
Public relations spokesman Phil Frame, 61, was arrested in Shelby Township, Michigan, after a Jan. 1 Sheriff’s Office search of his computer and paper files turned up child pornography. The Detroit News reported that Frame had already been questioned about child pornography, in September, by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and for some reason apparently was not intimidated enough (or was too lazy) to clear out his files. (The Homeland Security investigation is still ongoing.)
WRONG PLACE, WRONG TIME
Neighbors in Inola, Oklahoma, complained in December and January about a Union Pacific train that had been parked “for weeks” while tracks up ahead were under repair. Not only does the train block a traffic intersection, it triggers the ringing of the crossing signal. “It’s annoying, yeah,” said one resident, apparently a master of understatement. And at a ski resort in western Vorarlberg, Austria, recently, as the ski lift was temporarily stopped (to address a problem elsewhere on the lift), one occupied lift basket came to rest directly in front of the industrial-strength artificial-snowmaking machine, drenching the two passengers in a several-minutes-long blizzard (of which, yes, Internet video exists).
Fort Worth, Texas, firefighters, responding to a suspected blaze in January at a grain elevator, encountered smoke on the structure’s eighth floor–along with a man “juggling flaming batons.” No explanation was reported (except that the man “did not belong there”). A department spokesman said his firefighters “put [the man’s] torches out.”
In December, animal protection officers in Halland County, Sweden, confiscated two cats that the officers found being “mistreated” in a home–coddled (by two women) as babies in “pushchairs” and spoon-fed while strapped in high chairs. Both cats had been encouraged to suck on pacifiers, and one woman reportedly allowed the cats to suckle her breast. The public broadcaster SVT reported that the cats were removed from the home because they were not being allowed to develop “natural animal behavior.”
A 40-year-old man driving a stolen truck was killed after a brief high-speed police chase on Jan. 14 in Alameda County, California. Police noted that the man had pulled to the side of Highway 238 to flee on foot, but fell to his death off a cliff–landing on the grounds of the San Lorenzo Pioneer Cemetery. And a coroner’s hearing in Folkestone, England, in January determined that a 16-year-old boy had died of accidental asphyxiation from spray deodorant. According to the boy’s mother, he preferred massive application of the spray instead of bathing, and police recovered several dozen empty spray cans in his room.