A trio of Utahns completed a record-breaking roadtrip through 48 states on May 8 when the beleaguered passengers pulled into the Four Corners area at the intersection of Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona after a 7,000-mile roadtrip completed in under five days. Inspired by stories of great American roadtrips and also by the official Guinness World Records time of five days, seven hours, and 15 minutes, Josh Keeler, Adam Gatherum, and Joey Stocking each took six-hour shifts behind the wheel of their Toyota Scion xB to drive through all contiguous 48 states in just four days, six hours, and 43 minutes. Gasoline alone cost the group over $1,000. Along the way, there wasn't much time for getting to know the states: The trio's longest stop lasted just 15 minutes.
Although it is sometimes flown above vessels in Her Majesty's Royal Navy Submarine Service, flying the Jolly Roger in the United Kingdom might not be such a good idea these days. For his daughter's pirate-themed birthday party, David Waterman flew the skull-and-crossbones Jolly Roger flag from the side of his house to complement the eye-patched and cutlass-wielding children playing pirates outside. But the town council in Ashtead, Surrey, regarded the flag as a commercial symbol and told Waterman in late April he would have to pay nearly $200 for a permit to fly the pirate symbol. In protest, Waterman has left the black flag up despite threats of prosecution from the town.
The price isn't right
There's one problem with author Clementina Marie Giovannetti's plan to get rid of her Ocala, Fla., home: Her ploy may be illegal. Unable to sell her home for the price of $1.25 million in Florida's stale housing market, Giovannetti announced plans to award the home to the winner of a "pet lover" essay contest. Each entry will cost $200 and Giovannetti has said she'll need at least 6,250 essays to hold the contest. Some law enforcement officials in Florida have grown suspicious of the author of self-help and dream interpretation books. They say that unless Giovannetti actually reads and judges the essays, the contest could run afoul of the state's anti-gambling statutes.
What's in a name?
If you're going to lie to police in Sheboygan, Wis., it's best if the lie is less damaging than the truth. During a routine traffic stop, one man, a passenger, lied about his identity to authorities in order to hide his record of unpaid traffic tickets. But the fake name he gave officers just happened to be the same name of a man wanted for vehicular homicide. Police in Sheboygan only believed his later retraction after verifying through fingerprints and photographs he was not the wanted felon he accidentally pretended to be.
Even by the standards of Portland, Ore., natives, Adam Kuby's attempts to give the city acupuncture seem strange. The New York artist has impaled a 23-foot needle into the ground near the Willamette River, saying he's seeking to help out the city's "chi" or "vital energy." In the coming months, the artist says he hopes to add more needles in his city acupuncture project.
Tammy Gobin didn't think her rare medical condition stank. But everyone else did. She just wishes they had told her sooner. The San Diego teacher said friends and co-workers would edge away from her and cover their noses, but none would simply come out and complain about her smell. Their politeness caused Gobin to overlook the onset of trimethylaminuria, or fish malodor syndrome-a disorder that causes the afflicted to begin smelling fishy. Finally, it was her students who clued her in: "One student told me, 'Teacher, you smell fishy,' or another student said, 'Teacher, you smell like garbage or my brother's dirty gym socks,'" Gobin told a local television station. But until recently, she had trouble convincing doctors she even had the disorder. Now that she has, Gobin has discovered another unpleasant truth: Because of the disorder's rarity, no cure has been discovered. So she has changed her diet, which has helped, and now limits her contact with strangers.
Money for nothing
Couch potato? NASA has a job for you. To study the effects of prolonged time in space, scientists at NASA are recruiting people to spend 90 straight days in bed, broken only by medical testing to see how the body reacts to such inactivity. In return for 90 days of bed rest at NASA's Houston facility, NASA will pay participants $17,000.
One might think Philippe Quint would be more careful with his $4 million violin. The Grammy-nominated, Russian-born violinist left his 285-year-old Stradivarius in the back seat of a Newark, N.J., taxicab. One day later the driver, Mohamed Khalil, tracked Quint down to return the irreplaceable instrument. And to say thank you, Quint gave the driver a $100 reward and organized a half-hour concert for 200 cab drivers at Newark Liberty International Airport on May 8.
Rising energy and food prices have created a new niche for blue-collar thieves. For years, companies like Griffin Industries, a Kentucky-based agricultural-waste recycler, have been collecting grease from restaurants and selling the cooking byproduct to makers of alternative fuels like biodiesel. As energy and food prices soar, demand for grease grows, too. As a tradable commodity, its price has tripled in the past three years. And so petty thieves are now pilfering fast-food joints to steal fry grease. One man, David Richardson of Illinois, was caught by police allegedly filling up his tanker truck with used oil at a Burger King in Morgan Hill, Calif. A full tank of grease could be worth $7,000 on the open market.
Missing a beat
The audience at the Musselburgh's Brunton Theatre in the United Kingdom couldn't tell, but actor Steve Dineen was slightly ahead of cue when he collapsed during the final scene of Abigail's Party. But his fellow actors knew that Dineen's character, Lawrence, wasn't supposed to collapse and die of a heart attack for a few more lines. Dineen's heart attack, it turned out, wasn't staged. Co-star Alice Selwyn quickly noticed Dineen wasn't acting and emerged from character to ask for a doctor. An ambulance arrived in time to take the veteran actor to the hospital, where he is recovering.