Weird Wild Stuff

Words by Shelton Hull 


Well, summer is over, not that you can really tell. Ever notice how the same people who deny the reality of climate change are the same ones who insist that the stadium needs a roof because it’s too hot to watch football in September. Maybe it’s the heat, maybe it’s the day-drinking and the synthetic fabrics and the constant screaming, who knows? It doesn’t matter — we’re here for the laughs, so let’s just get right to it.


Every year, we see stories about kids going for joyrides in other people’s cars. Of course, some of these are carjackings, and that’s not good, but quite often the kids’ internal logic makes sense, and it’s almost cute, once the actual danger has passed. Such stories always leap to the queue for WWS, and this month’s example comes from Alachua, where two siblings made it about 200 miles in their mom’s car before being pulled over at 3:50 am, and we would pay money to see the bodycam footage from that stop! The daughter, who was 11, had lost her electronics privileges, so she ran away, and her 10-year-old brother offered to drive, even though it was not his battle to fight. Were they wrong? Sure. But they stuck together, and that is adorable.


Speaking of runaway vehicles, a man in Indiana was arrested for driving drunk, which is not itself unusual. But his mode of transportation was: a Power Wheels vehicle. The man was taken in after failing a field sobriety test, which seems almost redundant. Another man, in Nebraska, was driving a legitimate vehicle, but the problem was his passenger: a nine year-old bull named Doody, who had left a virtual mudslide of doody sliding down the rear window of his owner’s Crown Vic. Apparently, he had modified the car, allowing the bull to ride around all the time, even though Doody’s horns are wider than the car’s wheelbase. No word on what kind of punishment he’ll get, but we assume a reality show is forthcoming.


Humans are messy people — not just mentally, emotionally and politically, but also physically —   not just their actual filthy bodies but also their natural environment. If it’s not space trash or river poop, it’s wine. Sometimes a glass gets spilled, sometimes a bottle gets dropped, and sometimes 2.2 million liters of wine gets spilled out into the streets, as we saw in the Portuguese town of Levira, where the local winery had its worst day ever in early September. First responders were (not) on the scene with olives, cheese and crusty bread. 


Chickens are widely perceived to be dumb animals, and maybe they are, or maybe that’s just how humans justify killing over 8 billion of them for food each year or about 300 per second — and that’s just in America. But we may be able to learn how smart they really are someday, thanks to researchers from the University of Tokyo. The professor has developed a system for “interpreting various emotional states in chickens, including hunger, fear, anger, contentment, excitement, and distress” using AI, which is apparently never used for anything serious. The actual process is fascinating, and it does have potentially useful applications for other animals, and even for humans, such as babies or non-verbal adults. As for the chickens, well, if we can ever truly translate their speech, we assume that much of that speech will involve them begging for their lives — in vain, of course


We all love art, but the business of art is fundamentally a scam. The actual materials are bought at a fixed price, and the amount of labor will vary per piece, but the prices for art are basically set by a combination of hype and bullshit with the result that visual art has always been an easy way to launder money, especially in the modern era, where countless wealthy fools actually embrace the collecting of art as a legitimate investment, which it is, for now. A Danish artist understood the assignment, and nearly scammed his way into an easy payday. He was granted 534,000 kroner, equivalent to about $75,000, for a project in which he embedded banknotes into canvases that were then put on display. Instead, he kept the cash and turned in two blank canvases. The courts forced him to return the money, which is really a shame. Best of all, the project was called “Take the Money and Run,” which should have been a clue, but it never is.


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].