Ran'dell Busch, 27, was in serious condition after being shot on July 26 near the corner of 18th Street and Emmet Street in Omaha, Neb. He was also shot in 2014 around the intersection of 18th and Emmet, and in 2012 was shot in a scuffle after running from the corner of 18th and Emmet.

The entrepreneurial spirit

Grande Hotel San Calogero, the planned centerpiece of a Sicilian tourist renaissance, is still nowhere close to opening — 61 years after construction began. It took 30 years to build, but then developers fought for 10 years over its management, and only later was a serious drainage deficiency discovered (repair of which Rome's news site The Local reported in July remains unfunded).

Construction of the ultramodern Don Qui­xote airport (in Ciudad Real, Spain, about an hour from Madrid) was finished in 2006, but the $1 billion facility never opened, and in July, was sold to a Chinese investor for the equivalent of $11,000. (Bonus: Fictional character Don Quixote was, himself, noted for delusions of grandeur.)

Unclear on the concept

Overlooked by the roundup of "state fair" foods listed in News of the Weird two weeks ago was the debut in June, at California's San Diego County Fair, of the deep-fried Slim-Fast bar. A 200-calorie "diet bar" is breaded in pancake batter, fried, dusted with powdered sugar and drizzled with chocolate.

A woman in a suburb of Beijing filed a lawsuit against the China Dragon Garden graveyard recently over her shock to find that not only was her own name affixed to a headstone in gold lettering but about half of the 600 plots were eerily marked for prominent (and still living) people to move into. It was a marketing plan, according to cemetery workers, to convince customers of the upscale neighbors (such as basketball star Yao Ming) waiting for them in the afterlife. (China's aging population, and Beijing's land scarcity, have driven up prices, intensifying competition and corrupt practices, according to a Los Angeles Times dispatch.)

Wait, what?

Local officials in China's Xinjiang region informed Muslim shopkeepers and restaurateurs in May that they will henceforth be required to sell alcohol and cigarettes (even though Islam forbids their consumption). An official told Radio Free Asia that the government aims to weaken religion.

Cutting-edge science

Some owners may be petting their cats all wrong, cautioned recent research in issues of the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science by scientists from University of Lincoln in England and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For example, felines seem to prefer face-caressing, especially between the eyes and ears, and are especially aroused, negatively, by tail-petting, especially at the base. Cats appear to be pickier about how their owners pet them than strangers, according to a Washington Post review of one article. The Wisconsin research revealed that cats better appreciate (or are annoyed less by) music written especially for their pitch (an octave higher) and tempo (mimicking purring) than traditional classical music.


Maine enacted legislation in July to make immigrant asylum-seekers eligible for the state's General Assistance fund — contrary to Gov. Paul LePage's aggressive promise to veto the bill. The governor had misunderstood state law and believed legislation would be regarded as vetoed if he merely failed to sign it for 10 days. LePage appeared stunned on the 11th day, according to press reports, that he had had the veto law backward and that asylum-seekers are now eligible for benefits.

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