Odds & Ends
DATELINE: China—The most celebrated pig in China has added another chapter to his charmed life. The Chengdu Business Daily reports that Zhu Jianquiang (or “Pig Strong Will”), an animal that survived for more than five weeks on rainwater and charcoal while trapped in rubble caused by earthquakes in Sichuan in May, will be adopted by the Jianchuan Museum. The museum promises to care for the pig for the remainder of his natural life. In an official announcement, a Jianchuan Musuem curator stated that Zhu Jianquiang was “a symbol of Chinese endurance” and that an application would be filed with Guinness World Records officials. Said the pig’s owner, Wan Xingming: “When my wife fed him, two lines of tears dropped from his eyes.” Biographical movie proposals are reportedly in the works.
DATELINE: Japan—Tokyo-based interactive content provider Dwango announced the release of a set of new ringtones that can only be heard by dogs. Promised to be “absolutely groundbreaking” and dubbed inu ni shika kikoenai chakushinon (or “ringtones that only dogs can hear”), the ringtones are currently available as a free download to subscribers of the company’s download flat rate service. Dwango is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and posted assets of 19.555 billion yen ($185 million) as of March 2008.
DATELINE: Australia—The final bid is in on the life of British citizen/Australia resident Ian Usher, 44, and the seller is disappointed with the final price. After separating from his wife in Australia, Usher decided he wanted to make a fresh start of it, auctioning on eBay all his material possessions, including car and home with Jacuzzi, plus his friends and job. Though Usher had wanted at least AUS $500,000 (approximately U.S. $480,000), the unnamed winner pledged $384,000 (U.S. $366,000). According to Perth-based newspaper the Sunday Times, Usher’s house in the suburbs alone is worth this much. With a couple of days left in the auction, bids had reached the $2 million mark, but all high bidders were found to be bogus. “I guess I’m a little bit disappointed at the final price; I’d hoped it to be a little higher than that,” Usher stated on Australian TV. “But I am committed to selling and moving on and making a fresh start.”
DATELINE: England—The single two-word expression “fuck off” was enough to get a British high school student partial credit on an exam. The student received a mark of 2 out of a possible 27, with Senior Examiner Peter Buckroyd of the official Assessment and Qualifications Alliance explaining to the Times of London that “it would be wicked to give it zero because it does show some very basic skills we are looking for, like conveying some meaning and some spelling.” Added Buckroyd, “It’s better than someone that doesn’t write anything at all.” In response to some public criticism about the incident, an Assessment and Qualifications Alliance statement backed up Buckroyd, stating in part that “if a candidate makes any sort of response to a question then it must be at least given consideration to be awarded a mark.”
DATELINE: Wisconsin—The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that a party of six was robbed at gunpoint at the Brynwood Country Club golf course. Getting ready to tee off at the 16th hole on a Saturday at 11 a.m., the four golfers and two caddies were surprised when an armed, masked man emerged from nearby woods to demand, “Give me your money.” Two golfers and a caddy were robbed of cash and possessions before the robber fled. While assuring the public that the country club is working with local authorities on resolving the matter, Brynwood members received notice stating that: “The incident was an unusual occurrence at our club. Brynwood Country Club has a nearly 80-year history as one of the most prestigious country clubs in the Midwest.” Officials at the club reported that no tee times were cancelled or moved throughout the weekend as a result of the incident, and the foursome finished its round of golf.
DATELINE: Oregon/Idaho—Over the Fourth of July weekend, 48-year-old gas station owner Kent Couch of Oregon managed to fly a lawn chair held aloft by more than 150 helium-filled balloons over 200 miles and into Idaho. In his third attempt at crossing the Oregon border in such a contraption, Couch landed in the town of Cambridge, where citizens greeted him upon landing. Couch’s provisions for the trip included a BB gun and blow gun to shoot out balloons on descent, a parachute, a handheld GPS and tracking devices, a satellite phone, boiled eggs, jerky and chocolate. “If I had the time and money and people, I’d do this every weekend,” Couch said. “Things just look different from up there. You’re moving so slowly.” Said Couch’s wife, Susan: “It’s never been a dull moment since I married him.”
Compiled by Os Davis.