Odds & Ends
Dateline: Taiwan—A city in northern Taiwan is planning to turn dog poop into gold—offering residents a chance to win gold bars by handing in bags of animal waste. Starting Aug. 1, dog owners and other residents of New Taipei City can hand poo bags to government cleaning teams in exchange for lottery tickets. The tickets could win pooper scoopers one of three gold ingots worth between $500 and $2,100. “We are hoping the draw will attract a wide participation, especially as the gold price is rising,” New Taipei City Environmental Protection Department Official Chen Chao-Ming told reporters. A similar promotion was attempted in the city of Taichung in 2009, but yielded few results.
Dateline: Australia—A forklift accident in Adelaide resulted in more than $1 million worth of wine being dropped onto the city’s docks. While loading a shipment of 2010 Mollydooker Velvet Glove Shiraz for export to the United States, the forklift operator made a catastrophic miscalculation and shattered 462 cases of wine—a third of the winemaker’s annual production. According to a report in Adelaide’s The Advertiser newspaper, only one case of the $185-a-bottle Shiraz survived the nearly 20-foot fall. “It was like a murder scene—there was red everywhere,” Mollydooker owner Sparky Marquis told the Australian Associated Press. “But it smelled phenomenal.”
Dateline: Florida—Sheriff’s deputies in Fort Walton Beach arrested a man for pulling a gun on his wife after the pair argued over which of their grandchildren was their favorite. Lon Allen Groves, 40, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, battery, kidnap and firing a weapon while under the influence. According to a Okaloosa County Sheriff’s press release, Groves and his wife got into an argument on the night of July 21 and were unable to agree on which of their granddaughters was their favorite. According to the arrest report, Groves pushed his wife to the ground and put a 9 mm pistol to her head. The woman said Groves held her against her will for a short period of time. Deputies eventually arrived, and Groves walked out of the house carrying an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, the loaded 9 mm and an extra ammo clip. After a brief standoff, Groves dropped his weapons and was arrested. Deputies said he was drunk at the time of the incident.
Dateline: South Carolina—A 65-year-old woman is on trial in the small town of Bonneau, accused of breaking the state’s obscenity laws by placing a set of rubber testicles on her pickup truck. Bonneau Police Chief Franco Fuda ticketed Virginia Tice in early July after spotting the novelty ornament dangling from her vehicle’s undercarriage. Under South Carolina law, a bumper sticker, decal or device may be “indecent” if it describes, in an offensive way as determined by community standards, “sexual acts, excretory functions or parts of the human body.” The offense carries a maximum fine of $445. The Charleston-based law firm of Savage & Savage is representing Tice in court for free. “She’s such a sweet lady and she just says, ‘I don’t want to pay the fine’,” attorney Scott Bischoff told Reuters news service. “We’ll let a jury decide whether this is really criminal behavior. I don’t want to take away from the importance of free speech, but it’s really comical.” Fuda, on the other hand, stands by his ticket and rejects any correlation between Truck Nutz and free speech. “I don’t know what they would be trying to express,” he was quoted as saying. “I went to [a] few websites that said, excuse the expression, ‘show your nuts.’ I didn’t see anywhere it said to support your local proctologist or farmer.”