Weird Wild Stuff,

Words by Shelton Hull

 

According to NASA, there are more than 25,000 pieces of man-made debris floating in space, each larger than a softball, and countless thousands more smaller objects, all of which can move faster than bullets. So it’s a big deal when anything falls to Earth, especially the nearly 2-pound chunk of metal that smashed through a man’s roof downstate in Naples last month. NASA later confirmed the chunk as being “jettisoned” from the International Space Station in 2021.

 

We find ourselves talking about bees often in Florida, which makes sense because of our huge agricultural scene, and the constant need for honey to flavor our whiskey with. But two historic local buildings, Sun-Ray Cinema and the Florida Theatre, both found colonies numbering over 20,000 each inside their walls. The former has been gutted a couple of times (and unfortunately may be yet again), so those were probably a more recent vintage, but the latter building’s bees could have been there for decades, maybe longer than any of us. No word on if any of that local honey is edible, but you know we’re gonna find out for you.

 

It’s the busy season for gator action in Florida, where a man went viral for wrangling a rogue gator from a roadside on the Northside of Jacksonville in mid-April, while a runway at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa was held up for about an hour while airmen went full Keystone Cops in pursuit of a gator. (They don’t put that stuff in the commercials, but maybe they should.) But we’re not alone: see also Wally, the emotional support alligator, owned by a Pennsylvania man who recently had him stolen while visiting friends in Georgia, as will happen on occasion. His buddy was then taken from the original thief and repatriated to a nearby swamp, which he is currently searching at this writing. 

 

Fashion is great, but it’s often quite stupid, and whether it’s puffy jackets, moon-boots or mankinis, people will pay dearly to look like fools. Our most recent example is the $610 “Stain Stonewash” jeans from Jordanluca, which are designed to look like the wearer has just wet their pants. We know you’re asking, “European?” Nope, but it looks that way!

 

The ever-growing market for vintage guitars and other instruments has gotten a boost in recent months after two instruments associated with The Beatles were recovered, decades after being lost. First was the iconic German Hofner bass wielded by Paul McCartney before its theft in 1969; the thief traded it to pay a bar tab, and it was passed down through three generations (who had no idea) before it was returned to McCartney in February. Now, just last week, a Framus 12-string Hootenanny acoustic guitar, used on “Help!” and “Rubber Soul,” was found, over 50 years after original owner John Lennon gave it to a friend. The guitar (which had to be refurbished) will fetch at least a million at auction later this month, and the bass is already valued at over $12 million, so you can be sure that neither instrument will ever be lost again.

 

You know how we love a good truck spill in this column, and the gawds have done us good this month with a 53-foot tanker truck that overturned near Lookingglass Creek in Oregon on March 29. The truck was carrying approximately 102,000 Chinook, the largest and most valuable of all Pacific salmon (pricey and delicious!). They average about three feet and 30 pounds (the largest ever caught was 70 inches, 129 pounds), but most were probably smaller. About a fourth of the fish were killed on impact, but the rest — nearly 78,000 — managed to escape down the bank into the nearby creek, from where they’ll eventually swim back to the river and into the bellies of beasts of all types. So, ladies, whether you choose the man or the bear, you know you’ll be eating well in the Pacific Northwest this summer

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 sheltonhull@gmail.com.