Brian Wood, owner of All American Gator Products in Dania Beach, Fla., is taking face masks to a whole new level by fashioning coverings made with the skin of Burmese pythons. “Some people want to make a fashion statement even during this pandemic, so I want to give them options,” Wood said. The snakeskin itself doesn’t offer any added protection. But the masks allow for a filter or lining to be inserted and removed. Wood hopes to add alligator and crocodile skin masks to his offerings, although alligator, “the diamond of leathers,” would be expensive. Wood said he will be buying animals from local hunters to meet the demand.
Restaurants have adapted to local lockdowns with curbside and drive-thru services. So it’s no surprise that other businesses are following suit. The Minx Gentlemen’s Club in Virginia Beach, Va., is offering drive-thru pole dances and other entertainment in a makeshift outdoor space. Dancers are showered with bills; they grab their tips using a trash picker to reach into vehicles as patrons enjoy the performances from the safety of their cars. Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, Little Darlings is offering completely nude drive-up strip teases. “Guests can drive up to the front door, and we’re going to have dancers separated by the 6-foot separation rule, and (customers) can enjoy a totally nude show right from the seat of their car,” a Little Darlings spokesperson said.
— On May 1, officials in San Diego County ordered residents to start wearing face coverings while in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19. On May 2, a man went grocery shopping at Vons in Santee, Calif, while wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood. A number of shoppers took photos of the man. Staff members repeatedly asked him to remove the hood, according to a company spokeswoman, but he refused until he reached the checkout area, where a supervisor caught up to him. The man removed the hood, paid for his groceries and left. Santee Mayor John Minto told the Los Angeles Times, “Santee, its leaders and I will not tolerate such behavior.”
— Joseph Todd Kowalczyk Tweeted the FBI that he had “10 bombs ready to go off … in my basement … come get me you guys have till 8 before I make this city in my own little hell #forwaco.” The FBI determined the Tweet came from a mobile home park in Clinton Township, Mich. Officers showed up at Kowalczyk’s home the next day, where he explained that he was “testing the government” and was upset that they had not responded more promptly. He told agents he had no weapons and would not make any more threatening Tweets. But as the day wore on, Kowalczyk taunted the FBI in further posts, disparaging the agency and police for their slow response. On May 12, he was arrested and charged with transmitting a threat to injure, which is punishable by up to five years in prison.
The Passing Parade
Virginia Hamilton, 69, was charged with felonious assault in Youngstown, Ohio, after an altercation with her live-in boyfriend. The boyfriend told police she became upset about finding his dirty underwear in the laundry bucket and grabbed a butcher knife; he tried to fight back with a pocket knife he had on hand. When officers arrived, Hamilton was on the front porch, washing blood off her hands, and the boyfriend was lying on a bed inside, covered in blood, with cuts on his arms and hands. The police report also noted that alcohol was involved. Ya think?
Meanwhile, In Florida
— Two landscapers were charged with DUIs for driving the same vehicle at the same time in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., after police pulled over a driver who had been reported to be driving recklessly. The officers spotted Alfredo Lopez Chaj behind the wheel. But by the time an officer approached the car, Chaj was standing outside it, and Martin Lopez Chaj, 20, was in the driver’s seat. The younger man, apparently a brother, slid over from the passenger seat, put the car in gear and tried to escape. But the officer pulled him out of the car. Both men, police noted, smelled of alcohol, and both had wet their pants; neither had a valid driver’s license.
— A Mother’s Day bouquet became a weapon during an altercation in Pinellas County, Fla. Sandra Kay Webb allegedly became angry with her husband because he bought flowers for her children to give her for Mother’s Day. The Smoking Gun reported that Webb threw the bouquet at her husband and hit him with it, then spit on him. Webb was charged with domestic battery; she admitted throwing the flowers, but denied the spitting.
An advertisement for a deodorant that aired during Britain’s Got Talent caused a backlash among viewers who were shocked to see the ad conclude with a squirrel “getting it on” with a can of the deodorant. As one angry viewer put it, “we are watching this as a family.” Others noted the ad celebrating Lynx Africa’s 25th anniversary was “inappropriately scheduled” and “unsuitable for children.” The Advertising Standards Authority received 155 complaints about the ad, but said, “no decision has been made on whether there are grounds for an investigation.”
Sign of the Times
In South America, some families of people who have died of COVID-19 have had to wait days for a coffin, either because of the short supply or because they were unable to afford one. ABC Displays, a Colombian advertising company, has developed a cardboard hospital bed with metal railings that can be converted into a coffin. The beds can hold a weight of 330 pounds and cost $85 each. Company manager Rodolfo Gomez plans to donate 10 beds and hopes to receive orders for more from emergency clinics that might run short on beds.
Paying the Price
Restaurants in West Plains, Mo., endured a social media storm in early May after a customer posted a photo of a receipt that included a “COVID-19 Surcharge.” But the restaurants pushed back. “It’s not a tax. It’s basically just a small percentage to cover all of our extra expenses,” said Bootleggers BBQ owner Brian Staack. Kiko Japanese Steakhouse manager Sarah Sherwood said prices on most items have doubled, and Ozark Cafe co-owner Heather Hughes confirmed: “Every day there’s something else (food suppliers) can’t get or the prices have gone up exorbitantly.” The restaurateurs say it’s easier to add the 5-percent surcharge than constantly change the menus, and they’ve been upfront with customers, using signs and notes in their menus. While the initial response was surprise, Sherwood says the community has “really come together to support the local businesses.”
Fighting COVID With Chicken Manure
Officials in Lund, Sweden, were concerned about people spreading coronavirus in the town’s central park as they gathered for Walpurgis Night. To discourage revelers, the town spread chicken manure all over the park. “This is a park where usually 30,000 people gather, but with COVID-19, this is now unthinkable,” Mayor Philip Sandberg said. “We don’t want Lund to become an epicenter for the spread of the disease. Even a small number of people still going to the park can become a big risk.”
Not Suitable For Drinking
In Clocolan, Free State Province, South Africa, where the COVID-19 lockdown included a ban on buying or selling alcoholic beverages, thieves broke into the Rest in Peace funeral parlor and made off with four gallons of exhumation liquid. The fluid, used to preserve body parts that have been exhumed, is 97 percent alcohol. The burglars had to break through roller blinds and into a locked steel cabinet to get to the liquid. A forensic officer predicted: “If the thieves drink that liquid without watering it right down, then they will drop dead themselves!”
Least Competent Criminals
— North Carolina State Highway Patrol officers stopped Lance Gordon for speeding in a car belonging to Angela Lee of Holly Springs, whom Gordon said was an acquaintance. Authorities grew suspicious after Holly Springs police were unable to contact Lee to confirm the story. In a subsequent search of her house and car, investigators found Lee’s body in the car’s trunk. Gordon was charged with Lee’s murder, along with stealing her car.
— Before Quintin Henderson was released from Illinois’ Cook County Jail, he made a deal with fellow inmate Jahquez Scott. Scott promised Henderson $1,000 for letting Scott assume Henderson’s identity. When Henderson’s name was called, Scott stepped up, face mask in place, signed a few papers and walked away. It was when Henderson approached staff members a little while later and said he’d fallen asleep that officers realized there’d been a switch. Henderson, who was supposed to be released, is now being held on charges of aiding and abetting the escape of a felon, and Scott is still on the run.