Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Devin D. O'Leary
5 min read
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Dateline: Oklahoma

An American farmer’s missing smartphone has been returned after it showed up eight months later in Japan. Oklahoma farmer Kevin Whitney said his iPhone fell out of his shirt pocket back in October when he was loading 280,000 pounds of sorghum into a large grain silo in the town of Chickasha. “I knew it was lost forever and there was no retrieving the thing,” Whitney told reporters. The 53-year-old farmer purchased a new cell phone the next day and crossed his old one off as gone. But the phone apparently traveled with the sorghum shipment to another Oklahoma grain facility before making its way down the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers to a depot in Louisiana. From there, the grain was loaded onto a ship and sent to the Japanese island of Hokkaido. In late May Mr. Whitney got a phone call from Eric Slater, who manages the Zen-Noh Grain Corporation’s terminal in Louisiana. “Lo and behold, I get a call from a guy who works with this grain company in Convent, Louisiana, saying a guy at a feed mill in Japan found the phone.” Slater got the phone back from overseas and sent it on to Whitney. It’s not the first time Slater has found a lost phone mixed in with the mountains of grain. “Frankly, I field about a phone a month,” he admitted. Whitney says he got his old phone back in June, and it’s in pristine condition.

Dateline: New York

A man who was caught on camera napping through a Yankees game is now suing ESPN, Major League Baseball, the New York Yankees and two announcers for $10 million. Andrew Rector, 26, says that network commentators Dan Shulman and John Kruk launched an “unending verbal tirade” against him when he fell asleep at the April 13 home game. In his lawsuit Rector claims the commentators unleashed an “avalanche of disparaging words” against him, saying he was “stupid,” “unintelligent” and “a fatty cow that needed two seats at all time and represent symbol of failure.” The text of Rector’s confusing, typo-filled lawsuit was posted online by The Smoking Gun and allegedly catalogues the “mental anguish, loss of future income and loss of earning capacity” that ESPN’s verbal injury caused. “The defendant Major League Baseball continually repeated these vituperative utterances against the plaintiff on the major league baseball web site the next day. These words and its insinuations presented the plaintiff as symbol of anything but failure,” the lawsuit states. ESPN has responded by saying, “The comments attributed to ESPN and our announcers were clearly not said in our telecast.” The negative statements Rector attributed to ESPN announcers appear to be comments left by internet users on the ESPN site or on YouTube copies of the video.

Dateline: Pennsylvania

More than 14,000 Pennsylvania residents born between 1893 and 1897 were ordered to register for the nation’s military draft or face fines and jail time. The Selective Service System realized its error when it began receiving calls from confused relatives earlier this month. Chuck Huey, 73, of Kingston, Penn., told the Associated Press he got a notice addressed to his late grandfather Bert Huey. Bert was a World War I veteran who was born in 1894 and died in 1995 at age 100. “I said, ‘Geez, what the hell is this about?’ It said he was subject to heavy fines and imprisonment if he didn’t sign up for the draft board,” Huey told reporters. “We were just totally dumbfounded.” Just to be safe, Huey tried contacting the Selective Service about his deceased grandfather. “You just never know. You don’t want to mess around with the federal government.” Eventually the Selective Service figured out the problem. Earlier this year the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation transferred nearly 400,000 records to the Selective Service. A clerk working with the state’s database failed to select a century, causing all males born in 1893 and 1897 to read as 1993 and 1997. By the time the error was caught, some 14,250 draft board notices had been sent out. Given that the youngest of the men would have turned 117 this year, it is assumed all the potential draftees are already deceased. “We made a mistake, a quite serious selection error,” PennDOT spokesperson Jan McKnight said in a statement. “We’re really sorry.”

Dateline: Washington

Officials are searching for the person who donated three human skulls to a thrift store in a Seattle suburb. The King County medical examiner said in a statement that two of the skulls were from adults and appear to have been used in a medical clinic for instruction. The third is very old and could belong to a Native American child. State law requires all Native American bones to be returned to tribal authorities. Police are hoping the person who donated the human remains will step forward and provide additional details. The skulls showed up last month at a Goodwill store in Bellevue.

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

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