News of the Weird
In December 2009, the New York Post reported on the 175-square-foot Manhattan apartment recently purchased by Christopher Prokop and his wife for $150,000, with $700 monthly maintenance fees. But residents of even smaller Manhattan digs told the Post they were unimpressed. For instance, Felice Cohen, 39, rents a 90-square-foot apartment ($700) with a loft bed, and said that she must sit sideways on the toilet. Free-lance event planner Eddie Rabon rents a 55-square-foot palace for $800 a month (closer to midtown than Cohen's place). He can almost touch two walls simultaneously and cannot easily turn around while showering. However, the respective residents had the following comments about their homes: "We love it," "I love it," and "It's fantastic."
Least Competent Deer
A seven-point buck was found dead in Viroqua, Wis., in November, apparently having lost a head-butting contest with a cement-statue buck. Ramming contests are common during mating season, and the cement buck was about the same size as the dead one (but weighs about three times as much).
Least Competent Criminals
- Two partners in crime were sentenced to four years in jail between them by England's Manchester Crown Court in December. Ali Abdullah, 28, and Muqtar Nuren, 22, had offered to take driver's license tests for people (both driving and written tests) on contingency payment, so they would only receive money for passing the tests. Between them, they had 35 clients, took 43 tests and failed 33 (passing only seven driving tests and three written ones). Although they did not charge for their failures, it is of course illegal to take a driver's license test for another person.
- (1) Brandon Stepp, 27, and two companions were arrested in Parkersburg, W.Va., in December after they became the most recent alleged drug runners to unsuccessfully hide their marijuana in the engine compartment of their car. (The engine got hot; the dope caught fire.) (2) A man fled without money from a Taco Bell in Haverstraw, N.Y., in October after being the most recent robber to conduct his transactions out of order. He first announced the robbery, and then, before the cashier could gather money for him, he asked the store manager for a job application. When the manager refused, the man walked out, empty-handed.
Leading Economic Indicators
- He's a man of distinction, but that is of little comfort in this tight economy. Actor Jonah Falcon, 39, is out of work and once again living with his parents in New York City, according to a January report on AOL News. A 1999 HBO documentary touted Falcon as possessor of the world's longest penis (13.5 inches, aroused). He has appeared in mainstream film and TV roles (including "Law & Order," "Melrose Place" and "The Sopranos"), but has refused to do pornography. "If I did porn, nobody would take me seriously," he said. However, he added, "I wouldn't be opposed to doing a nude scene (in a mainstream film) if I got the right part."
- The recent Christmas bonus season was rough at the RF Brookes pizza-ingredient factory in Wigston, England, as workers received gift containers of pudding ("plum duffs") with a use-by date of March 2009. Accompanying the pudding was a letter from management assuring employees that food technicians had certified the product as safe to eat in January 2010, despite the printed use-by date. (After numerous employee complaints, the company apologized and offered fresh plum duffs.)
The Entrepreneurial Spirit
- In October, jeweler Colin Burn, of Broome, Australia, announced at the Asia Adult Expo in Macau that he will make the world's most expensive "personal vibrator," in 10 limited editions, out of smooth platinum, each with 1,500 white diamonds. He said he planned to shoot for a price of $1 million and noted that he currently offers a similar sex toy with 450 diamonds (and a handle made of rare conkerberry wood) that he sells for $38,000.
- In 2008, Sweden, one of only seven countries with embassies in North Korea, began trying to coax that country into the global economy by encouraging the manufacture of jeans, which Sweden in turn would arrange for sale in high-end stores. After a series of awkward missteps (e.g., a textile manufacturer, unfamiliar with the concept of "jeans," said no, but the director of a mining company decided to accept the project), 1,100 pairs were finally shipped and priced at the equivalent of about $215 a pair, according to a December Reuters dispatch from Stockholm. (The "NoKo" jeans were initially given shelf space in at least one store, but now are offered only on the store's Web site.)
2010 Chuck Shepherd