The Odd Side – May 24, 2016

The Man Who Paints Cows

EAST SUSSEX, U.K. (Reuters) – British painter John Marshall has spent the last decade restricting himself to just one subject: the cow. The paintings are big, around 2 meters and, he claims, each bovine has its unique characteristics.&

“So, if the cow is soft and nurturing that’s how I will paint it and if the cow is sort of angry and startled then I’ll try and treat that … So, they portray a different thing and it’s the thing that is keeping them unique, keeping a sense that each one is different and it’s kind of more of an emotional portrayal than a photographic one,” said Marshall.&

In the past 12 months he has sold around 40 canvases, which can go on sale for up to £6,000 ($8,500) each. Many of his paintings find their way to urban dwellers who look for a rural look in their city homes.

Eiffel Tower to Be Turned Into A Euro 2016 Rental Apartment

PARIS (AP) – Four lucky winners are set to be the first people in history to use the Eiffel Tower as a vacation home next month.

Rental company HomeAway is taking over part of the first floor of the iconic landmark for the duration of the UEFA Euro 2016 soccer tournament in Paris, and transforming it into living quarters.

The competition opens Thursday for the chance to stay in the famous monument, which provides panoramic views onto the Arc de Triomphe, the Sacre Coeur and the Seine river.

Brian Sharples, HomeAway CEO, called the move “unprecedented” and said it was “guaranteed to provide the most epic vacation memories of a lifetime.”

Runner Rescues Baby Screech Owl

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A Philadelphia meteorologist has broken off from a trail run to rescue an injured baby screech owl and take it to a wildlife center, where it’s doing well.

Longtime WPVI personality Cecily Tynan said online that she found the injured owl on the ground Monday clacking its beak at her.

The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education says the month-old owl fell out of its nest and probably wouldn’t have survived for long on the ground.

Center officials say the owl was “very dehydrated and had very little energy” but is doing better with intravenous fluids and even has another baby owl there for company. They hope to release it into the wild in August.

Police Say 4 Firefighters Called In False Alarms for Thrills

ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) – Police say four central Pennsylvania volunteer firefighters called in five false alarms earlier this year because they enjoyed the thrill of riding in fire trucks.

The Logan Township Volunteer Fire Department has suspended the men and police have charged them with making the false alarms.

Online court records don’t list attorneys for the men.

Police believe the men are responsible only for the five alarms, but they say even one is too many.

The suspects were all probationary members with fewer than 90 days of service with the fire department.

96-Year-Old Becomes Oldest USC Graduate

LOS ANGELES (AP) – It took more than 60 years but a University of Southern California student has finally received his diploma.

Ninety-six-year-old Alfonso Gonzales received a bachelor of science degree in zoology on Friday, making him the oldest graduate in USC history.

The World War II veteran thought he’d already graduated when he skipped commencement exercises in 1953 because of work obligations. He was founding a soil company that he ran for 55 years.

But when relatives recently approached the university about getting a copy of his diploma, they learned he was one unit short.

Although the school no longer offers a zoology major, it crafted an independent study course through the gerontology school that included reading, video assignments, visiting other classes and writing a thesis about his life.

USC officials call Gonzales a “wonderful inspiration.”

Faulty Door Handle Sabotages Putin’s Inspection Of Military Equipment

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) – An effort to show off the superiority of Russian military equipment backfired on Thursday when the door handle of a jeep fell off just as President Vladimir Putin was inspecting the vehicle.

The Kremlin leader was being shown an array of military vehicles parked outside his residence in the southern resort of Sochi, including a Russian-made UAZ Patriot pick-up truck equipped with heavy machine guns.

When Putin tried to open the front passenger-side door, it would not budge, according to a Reuters reporter at the event.

Lieutenant-general Alexander Shevchenko, part of the military delegation showing off the equipment, came to Putin’s aid, but when he grabbed the door handle, it came away in his hand.

Putin let out a chuckle as Shevchenko hurriedly dropped the handle into the pick-up through an open window. The Russian leader then moved on to inspect some other vehicles, but did not attempt to get inside any of them.

The incident will revive uncomfortable memories of the kind of shoddy workmanship which long dogged the reputation of Russia’s auto industry.

Manufacturers say their vehicles are now much better, but for years buyers of new Russian cars would routinely face lumpy paintwork, engines that would not start and cheaply-built interiors that fell apart.

Putin himself has been left red-faced before while attempting to promote the Russian auto industry.

In 2011, he climbed into a new Lada Granta car and failed to start the engine at least five times. Reporters at the event also said he needed help to open the trunk.