Weird, Wild Stuff

Last month’s column had more stories than usual, and the readers seemed to enjoy the breezy pace, even more than usual, so that will be our default going forward. That’s good news for all of us, because there is plenty of material this month, as always, so let’s jump right in!

July 22: Climate change activists picked a silly way to promote their cause when three members of Ultima Generazione (Italian for “last generation,” in case you care) glued their grubby palms to “Primavera,” painted by Sandro Botticelli and currently on display at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Was it effective? Nope. I’d have known nothing about this, if I weren’t following Cat Power on Instagram—that’s Cat Power, the singer, not the wrestler, though I do follow both.

July 29: Managers of a Chick-fil-A in Hendersonville, North Carolina, had a novel solution to their worker shortage, offering free food in exchange for volunteers to work the drive-thru. Great gig for any stoners in the area, but of course activists were bored, so the kerfuffle tanked their plans, and the offer was quickly rescinded. Five sandwiches, for an hour’s work? Why not?

July 30: We can all agree that domestic violence is no laughing matter—unless you’re Chris Rock, and hopefully you aren’t, because that guy sucks, though not nearly as much as the jackass who shot his wife in Dallas. We’re only laughing at him today because he failed. The bullet he fired went through her neck, then ricocheted off a wall and back into his leg, where it severed his femoral artery, causing him to bleed out, on the spot. Good!

Aug. 1: The National Museum of Engineering Science and Innovation in Koto Ward, Tokyo was the site of the most exciting thing to happen in table tennis since that deepfake Nokia ad where Bruce Lee played pingpong with nunchucks. Even the master of Jeet Kune Do would face stiff resistance from Forpheus, a robot built by Omron Corporation. It handily housed two grown men in competition, using A.I. (not the basketball player) to read facial expressions and bodily movements. No word if the robot is capable of transforming into anything else, but knowing the Japanese, I would say probably.

Aug. 4: #Florida enters the chat, as three men are arrested on conspiracy to steal roughly $1.3 million in seafood from a company called NETUNO, a seafood importer based in Ft. Lauderdale. The interesting part is that, for this plan to work, you would need a fairly large network of buyers already in place to buy the stuff immediately. Posing as buyers for a grocery store chain, they drove away with five truckloads of product in June and July before arousing suspicion with the sixth. The unnamed chain was clearly doing so much business that no one noticed for months. Maybe that’s why crab legs cost so damn much right now! Supply chain issues, my ass.

Aug. 4: A Brink’s truck driver in Pasadena took one of the most expensive naps ever when he awoke to discover that 22 bags of jewelry had been stolen from his vehicle, with an estimated value of $10–$100 million. His colleague was getting lunch, while he got some sleep, and the thieves got the booty—not like that, weirdo, but they probably could have, if they’d wanted to. I’m sure his boss has something similar in mind.

Aug. 13: Yomiuri Shinbun reported that the world’s first Metaverse School of Engineering will open this Sept.  23 at—where else?-—the University of Tokyo. It will be a virtual reality space where people can attend lectures, take classes and presumably even bully each other, regardless of where they are. Funny, yes, but it also creates opportunities for people to transcend physical and economic limitations to achieve their dreams, which is always great. They hope to attract upwards of 100,000 students, with a strong emphasis on attracting women.

Aug. 21: Hilliard’s own Fisher Monds came within just 19 votes of winning the 2022 USA Mullet Championship in the Teen Division. But he still took home nearly 3,200 votes, which is a lot more votes than most folks from Hilliard ever get, for anything. There was just no overcoming Wisconsin, which won in all three categories, dominating the mullet game the way the Soviets dominated women’s gymnastics in the 1970s. I’m expecting a future scandal.

Sept. 1: As usual, I was in the middle of writing this very column when news of the most special kind broke in Memphis, where an 18-wheeler hit a wall on Interstate 55, leaving the highway covered in—wait for it—Alfredo sauce. Now, this is not to be confused with the truck that spilled a literal ton of tomatoes all over I-80 in Vacaville, California two days earlier. Given the choice, I’d rather be dealing with the tomatoes because it’s just like the kids say: “Dairy products in the sun? That is never any fun!” Indeed…

About Shelton Hull

Shelton Hull has been writing for Folio Weekly since 1997, but his resume goes back even further. He has written for almost every newspaper, magazine and zine in Northeast Florida, as well as publications like Orlando Weekly, Narrow GNV, Creative Loafing Tampa, Charleston City Paper, Ink19 and The Atlantic. He currently writes the "Folio Weed" column, which he created in 2018; he remains one of the widest-read and most influential cannabis writers in the world today. He also compiles material for "Weird Wild Stuff" column, and he previously wrote the legendary "Money Jungle" column for Folio Weekly from 1999 to 2009. He is a regular contributor to "First Coast Connect" on WJCT, as well as the Jacksonville Music Experience. He is a co-host of "The Contrast Project" and the "Bold City Civics" podcast. He is also a co-founder of the record label Bold City Music Productions. He can be reached at [email protected]