Odds & Ends: Scary Mermaids; Ancient French Fries; North Pole Crackhead; Bucket List Chase

Odds & Ends: Scary Mermaids; Ancient French Fries; North Pole Crackhead; Bucket List Chase

Devin D. O'Leary
4 min read
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Dateline: Zimbabwe

A government minister told a parliamentary committee that all work on new reservoirs in the country has stopped—because workers have been frightened off by mermaids. Zimbabwe’s state-approved
Herald newspaper reports that Water Resources Minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo testified to the committee that workers at sites near the towns of Gokwe and Mutare have refused to return to work. “All the officers I have sent have vowed not to go back there,” Nkomo was quoted as saying. The reservoir projects are considered essential in the drought-plagued country to provide adequate water for rural villagers and farmers. The water minister said mermaids continue to be a problem in other reservoirs as well.

Dateline: Germany

According to a report in news magazine
Der Spiegel , an artist has successfully sued a gallery for more than 2,000 euros ($2,657) over the loss of two old French fries. An original piece of artwork by Stefan Bohnenberger called “Pommes d’Or” consisted of two gold-gilded French fries laid in the form of a cross set next to two normal fries. The work was first exhibited in 1990. When the Munich gallery Mosel und Tschechow returned “Pommes d’Or” to Bohnenberger last year, however, the two non-gold fries were not included. Angered over the loss of his original artwork, Bohnenberger sued. A German court ruled that the gallery must hand over 2,000 euros plus 5 percent interest dating back to May of 2010 when the desiccated fast food was lost. Gallery owner Andrea Tschechow denied that the fries should be considered art. “There were crosses made of fries that were meant to be artworks, but not this one—this was just the model for the golden cross,” she said. Unfortunately, a woman acquainted with the artist testified in court that she would have forked over 2,500 euros for the plain, non-gilded fries. Court spokesperson Wilhelm Schneider told Der Spiegel that “the artist receives damages if the lost objects have an economic value.” In addition to the damages, Mosel und Tschechow was required to cover 90 percent of the court costs.

Dateline: Alaska

Anchorage Daily News reports North Pole resident Stanislaus Grzeskowiak has been charged with felony extortion after allegedly threatening to teach “crackheads” how to make “electromagnetic distortion devices” unless the state of Alaska paid him $85,000. Grzeskowiak telephoned state troopers earlier this month and informed them that he knew how to use discarded televisions to make devices that could block police radios, computer communications and cell phones. He also threatened to cut off the communications of oil companies and credit card companies if the state didn’t come through with the cash—which he says he owes to credit cards. Grzeskowiak also talked to troopers about possibly damaging vehicles with University of Alaska stickers on them. “Grzeskowiak is getting resentful towards people he feels did him wrong and indicated that he is not threatening any particular act of terrorism or any particular target right now, but that he is smart, mentally ill, resourceful, and that he is capable of doing the above listed acts of terrorism if he is not helped out financially,” Sgt. Jess Carson wrote in an affidavit. Authorities said Grzeskowiak blames the state and major corporations for his financial situation, lack of education and marital problems. The high-tech blackmailer is currently in the Fairbanks Correctional Center, charged with felony extortion and threatening harm. “Yeah, he’s a little different,” Sgt. Carson told Seattle Weekly.

Dateline: Montana

It cost a Butte man $1,000 to cross an item off his bucket list. The Montana Standard reports that 55-year-old John C. Hughes pleaded guilty earlier this month in City Court to misdemeanor reckless driving while eluding a peace officer. The chase began at 3:25 a.m. on Feb. 2 when officers report a man followed a patrol car for seven blocks then performed a U-turn and took off at speeds of up to 100 mph. Hughes’ Nissan Xterra was eventually stopped by a set of tire spikes. Asked why he started the chase when he was sober, had no drugs and was not wanted by police, Hughes told officers, “I just always wanted to do that.” Hughes was fined $1,000 and released on his own recognizance.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. Email your weird news to devin@alibi.com.

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