Newspapers are a bargain. The daily portable package of news, features and advertisements can be read anywhere, then used for housebreaking puppies, lining bird cages, wrapping fish, starting fires and insulating shoes. Or recycled. The next day – bingo – another newspaper.
You get national, regional, state and local news. And you get a fistful of odd stuff.
Just for the fun of it, I checked The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News for two days, looking for the odd stuff.
I found tear-jerky Letters to the Editor bemoaning animal cruelty at sporting events. I found death notice overkill (pun intended). I read about a Man Gone Wild. And saw a full page ad by a company called Four Corners for 9-inch tall pole-mounted swaying-swinging illuminated environmentally friendly weatherproof Solar Meerkats for my garden. (Their capital letters!) $29.99 for a set of four.
But wait! If I’m not into Meerkats (I’m not), the company also sells a set of four 8 ¼-inch life-like Jungle Birds on spring-loaded stakes – two different-colored parrots, a cockatoo and a toucan. Each bird has a built-in solar light that turns on automatically at dusk and stays on for seven hours.
Speaking of animals, yesterday was the third day of a Letters to the Editor tirade against Detroit Red Wings fans’ odd tradition of tossing octopi on the ice while two teams are trying to play hockey. A long letter from the PETA foundation asked the rhetorical question: “Would fans throw dead kittens on the ice?”
Another writer suggested substituting small red rubber octopi. Someone could scoop these up after the game, she said, and donate them to a school. Yet another writer called the custom an unspeakable act of torture and killing.
I thought the octopi were already dead by the time they were flung. Perhaps not. Anyway, don’t we eat octopi?
On Saturday, I noticed an unusual death notice. Not an obituary, which is written by reporters who actually contact family members and ask questions about their loved one. This notice was one of those 3-point-type items headed by the deceased person’s last name in bold, black capitals. It’s intended to provide basic biographical information, next of kin, date of birth and death, and information about a funeral or memorial service. Often, it’s accompanied by the deceased’s 70-year-old high school graduation photo. These notices generally run about a column inch; sometimes two or three inches if there’s a photo. Yesterday’s death notice was 16 column inches. It was a biography.
Finally, I was attracted to a small item in a sidebar concerning an “attack” near Saginaw, MI. Apparently an angry bar owner was extremely ticked. He had ordered a bus full of Girls Gone Wild and was disappointed by what he got.
The bar owner said the organization agreed to bring a busload of GGW’s, provide publicity, security and a DJ. Apparently he forgot to mention that the girls were expected to pay a $10 cover charge and go inside the bar.
The bar owner said no Girls Gone Wild participated. The Man Gone Wild had some 100 customers inside his bar who had been eagerly looking forward to the event. How disappointing that must have been. The barman was so angry, he snapped two rearview mirrors off the back of the bus.
I wonder if the bar patrons also went wild or if any of the Girls Gone Wild went wild and attacked anything or anyone.