Odds & Ends

Dateline: Ukraine

Joshua Lee
5 min read
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A tense hostage situation ended after the Ukrainian president posted an endorsement of an obscure Joaquin Phoenix film on Facebook. Last week Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posted a short video on Facebook with the words, “Everyone should watch the 2005 film Earthlings.” The film is a documentary that exposes practices in the industrial meat industry. It’s narrated by Hollywood star Joaquin Phoenix and promotes the adoption of a vegan lifestyle to viewers. According to BBC News the social media post was a response to an hours-long standoff between police and a gunman later named as Maksym Kryvosh—a man authorities say had multiple prior convictions. Kryvosh allegedly took 10 people hostage at gunpoint on a bus in the city of Lutsk. He claimed that he’d placed an explosive device somewhere in the city and threatened to detonate it if his demands weren’t met. Experts decided against a full assault, as it posed too much of a risk to the hostages. After a 7 to 10 minute phone conversation with Zelensky, the gunman agreed to let 3 hostages go—a wounded person, a pregnant woman and a child—if the president posted the video to his social media accounts. The gunman allegedly promised to release the rest of the hostages within half an hour of the video being posted. “Everything happened almost like that,” Zelensky said. “In 30 to 40 minutes he released all hostages.” Kryvosh was apprehended soon after. It’s unclear if the explosive device he referenced had ever existed. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov told reporters that the man would be given a “lengthy prison sentence.”

Odds & Ends Dateline: Texas

A Houston strip club is working through its COVID-19 economic problems by offering a drive-thru experience. Houston Chronicle reports that Vivid Gentleman’s Club has opened a drive-thru offering nachos, burgers, chicken sandwiches, jalapeno poppers and even an “authentic Italian” pizza that is “handmade in Italy,” according to the menu. Every car that comes through the line drives into a white popup tent where it can stay for a “two-song limit” while the motorists wait for their food. Inside the tent are exotic performers—some wearing face coverings while others are unmasked. Clubs like Vivid have not been allowed to reopen under Texas’ current health orders, but restaurants are allowed to serve food in drive-thrus. General manager Gino DiLollo said the move was made to help club staff stay employed. “Because to keep us open, we just can’t do the numbers,” he said. “We’re not making any money. This is purely for the staff.” Jada, an entertainer at Vivid, said the drive-thru is keeping her afloat in these troubled times. “Luckily with the club being open,” she said, “I’m still able to come into work and get money and take care of my bills.” DiLollo said he’s trying to get a restaurant license for the club so he can let customers come inside.

Odds & Ends Dateline: United Kingdom

A British couple recently won the right to name their baby “Lucifer.” According to Evening Standard Dan and Mandy Sheldon lodged an official complaint last week after the Derbyshire registrar told them that their son “wouldn’t succeed in life” if he was called Lucifer and forbade them to use the name. According to the couple, the registrar demanded that they leave the room while she checked to see if they were allowed to name their son after the religious figure. “We were really excited to go and get him registered, but the woman looked at us in utter disgust,” said Mr. Sheldon. “She told us he would never be able to get a job and that teachers wouldn’t want to teach him. I tried to explain that we are not religious people, and Lucifer in Greek means ‘light-bringer’ and ‘morning,’ but she wouldn’t listen.” The registrar allegedly advised that the couple name the baby something else and call him Lucifer at home. “Honestly, we just thought it was a nice name … a unique one,” said Mr. Sheldon. “We didn’t expect to get so much grief about it.” Derbyshire County Council told reporters that it was the registrars’ jobs to advise parents on the meanings of the names chosen for their children. However, the couple was eventually allowed to name their son Lucifer.

Odds & Ends Dateline: Missouri

A missing dog was found at her family’s previous home—nearly 60 miles away from their current one. According to KMBC in Kansas, a dog named Cleo went missing recently from her family’s home in Olathe, Kan. She was found laying on the front porch of the Lawson, Mo. house her family left in 2018. The new homeowners said Cleo wouldn’t let them approach her at first, but they were eventually able to scan her for a microchip and found that she belonged to the home’s previous owners. It’s 57 miles from Olathe to Lawson, and it’s unclear how Cleo made the trip. She would have had to cross at least one river.

Compiled by Joshua Lee. Email your weird news to josh@alibi.com.

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