2003.12.31 All the news that fits, we'll print

Written by David Green.

BY RICH FOLEY

Lots of interesting news failed to make it to these pages this year. Let’s look at some of the best before we call an end to 2003...

The demise of the Concorde passenger jet was sad news, but the rich and famous enjoyed the last flight, then looted the plane, according to wire service reports.

Passengers aboard the final British Airways flight, from New York to London, include supermodel Christie Brinkley, actress Joan Collins and television personality David Frost. Cuisine included caviar, lobster, smoked salmon and lobster cakes which Frost, who is believed to have been the plane’s most frequent flier, declared to be “outstanding.”

An array of souvenirs were distributed to passengers on the final flight, but that apparently wasn’t enough. Reports described a “frenzy of looting as people stuffed their bags with monogrammed cashmere in-flight blankets and silverware.” Other passengers allegedly stripped the aircraft of armrests and even one of the toilet seats. No word on whether Frost tried to make off with the leftover lobster cakes.

A happier landing was had by a San Francisco chicken, which went for an unscheduled flight when a prankster attached the hapless bird to 100 helium balloons and set her aloft. Police sharpshooters gradually popped balloons with a pellet gun, eventually dropping the hen down to waiting rescuers. The director of the animal shelter the bird was taken to reported several hundred animal lovers volunteered to adopt the chicken.

Animal lovers in south Florida with money to burn are making possible the proliferation of at least ten doggie “day camps,” according to The Week. For $750 a month, doggie campers “socialize on playgrounds, play games with human counselors, and eat gourmet food.” At a additional cost, some camps offer transportation in an air-conditioned bus, with your pet strapped into a seat belt, riding side-by-side with other canine campers.

And, if you still have money left over, how about buying the dog a life-size NBA player made of Legos? Available for only $40,000 each, professional Lego artists will replicate the basketball star of your choice in plastic blocks and dress it in an authentic uniform. From a distance, they look pretty good, but up close, the plastic blocks give a strange look to the athlete’s complexion.

Then there are the scientists with not enough to do. A study at Georgetown University has determined that some caterpillars are especially adept at waste removal. The skipper caterpillar has the ability to “ballistically eject Grape-Nut sized pellets of excrement, called frass, over long distances.” Studies have shown that the older the caterpillar, the farther it can toss the frass.

One caterpillar was observed to fling a pellet 60 inches, which Georgetown evolutionary fecologist Martha Weiss says is “the equivalent of a 76-yard field goal in football.” Detroit Lions please note.

Tasteless ad of the year honors should go to a Holland, Mich., Ford dealership which ran a “Johnny Cash Memorial Sale” the week after the singer’s passing, advertising “In tribute to Johnny Cash, all black vehicles on sale.” Each featured vehicle’s description mentioned a Cash song title, such as the 2000 Ford Focus, which was called “a perfect car if you are A Boy Named Sue.”

The survivors of a New Mexico man are suing a Catholic priest who told mourners at his funeral that the deceased was going to hell. Ben Martinez’s family says he didn’t attend Mass regularly the last year of his life (he suffered from emphysema) and Rev. Scott Mansfield was upset about it.

Mansfield told mourners that Martinez was “lukewarm in his faith” and “the Lord vomited people like Ben out of his mouth to Hell.” That’s kind of a scary picture, the more I think about it. I can’t really blame them for suing.

Let’s try and end this on a happy note. We may not be millionaires, but now we can drink like one. Donald Trump’s  “Trump Ice” bottled water is now ready for retail purchase. Once available only at Trump’s casinos, the water, featuring a likeness of The Donald on the label, comes from a spring in Laurel Run, Penn.

Finally, something suitable to drink with those McDonald’s hamburgers Trump was advertising last year. What a shame that it’s too late to serve it on the Concorde. I’m sure the high-flying looters would have loved it.

     – Dec. 31. 2003
  • Play Practice
    DRAMA—Fayette schools, in conjunction with the Opera House Theater program, will present two plays Friday night at the Fayette Opera House. From the left is Autumn Black, Wyatt Mitchell, Elizabeth Myers, Jonah Perdue, Sam Myers (in the back) and Lauren Dale. Other cast members are Brynn Balmer, Mason Maginn, Ashtyn Dominique, Stephanie Munguia and Sierra Munguia. Jason Stuckey serves as the technician and Trinity Leady is the backstage manager. The plays will be performed during the day Friday for students and for the public at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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