A Cataclysmic Comedy Riot

That Darn Cat! is a 1965 American Walt Disney Productions thriller comedy film directed by Robert Stevenson and starring Hayley Mills (in her last of the six films she made for the Walt Disney Studios) and Dean Jones (starring in his first film for Disney) in a story about bank robbers, a kidnapping and a mischievous cat. The film was based on the 1963 novel Undercover Cat by Gordon and Mildred Gordon. The title song was written by the Sherman Brothers and sung by Bobby Darin. The 1997 remake includes a cameo appearance by Dean Jones.

A 21,000 Car Parking Lot

As part of the settlement after it got caught cheating on its emissions tests, Volkswagen has bought back about 350,000 of its U.S. diesel vehicles. The automaker so far has spent more than $7.4 billion on the cars, according to court filings seen by Reuters.

Where does VW put all those cars? Wherever it can find the space.

The German automaker has 37 remote storage facilities across the U.S., and they’re not just parking lots. The sites include a former football stadium in the Detroit suburbs, an old paper mill in Minnesota and a giant patch of land in the California desert.

A court filing seen by Reuters said that, “Volkswagen had reacquired 335,000 diesel vehicles, resold 13,000 and destroyed about 28,000 vehicles. As of the end of last year, VW was storing 294,000 vehicles around the country.”

The Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, Calif., is already well-known as an “aircraft boneyard” — a sort of desert purgatory for old airplanes.

Now VW has made it a major place to store its diesel VWs and Audis.

“These vehicles are being stored on an interim basis and routinely maintained in a manner to ensure their long-term operability and quality, so that they may be returned to commerce or exported once U.S. regulators approve appropriate emissions modifications,” VW spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan said in a statement to Reuters about the Victorville facility.

VW reportedly leased 134 acres at the site. That is enough to hold 21,000 cars while the company decides their fate: whether to be fixed — or scrapped for parts.

The aircraft area

 

 

Cat Uses Up One of its Nine Lives after Washing Machine Ordeal

Cat survives 45-minute ordeal in washing machine

Felix the cat used up one of his nine lives last week after he survived a 45-minute trip through a washing machine.

“The personality on this guy is … it’s one of a kind,” said Felix’s owner, Stefani Carroll-Kirchoff of Maplewood. “He’s lovable, but he does get himself into trouble.”

The year-old black-and-white tabby is recovering from the Wednesday incident, when, unnoticed, he climbed into a front-loading washing machine. He got water in his lungs and suffered a concussion, and veterinarians feared he could be permanently blinded by the laundry detergent.

Felix the cat, who survived a 45-minute ordeal in a washing machine on June 19, 2019, is pictured in an oxygen chamber at an Oakdale animal hospital. Felix climbed into the front-loading washing machine, unnoticed. (Courtesy of Stefani Carroll-Kirchoff)

But he’s proving to be resilient.

He still needs help breathing in an oxygen chamber while he recovers at the Animal Emergency and Referral Center of Minnesota in Oakdale. But he’s standing and eating and seems to be regaining his sight.

Carroll-Kirchoff said he must have climbed into the washing machine when she left for a moment to fetch more clothes.

Unknowingly, she shut the door and started the wash cycle. She said it was fortunate she had selected the express wash, which uses less water and takes less time. When she opened the door, she found the soaked Felix wrapped up in a towel and in bad shape. He was rushed to the animal hospital.

Carroll-Kirchoff’s daughter, Asha Carroll, started a GoFundMe page when the veterinary bills climbed into the thousands. As of Saturday night, more than $3,000 of the $5,000 goal had been met.

“I said to my daughter, ‘This is a feel good thing,’” said Carroll-Kirchoff. “I didn’t know there were this many good people in the world. I have people reaching out and helping that I have never met before. I could never repay what they have done.

Felix is missed at his household by two other cats, Nala and Bleu, who make up the Three Musketeers, Carroll-Kirchoff said.

The family noted on the GoFundMe page that such incidents have been reported before. They issued a warning to others:

“To those of you with cats, PLEASE always close your washing machine and dryer doors in between washes, and ALWAYS check your washing machine and dryer doors prior to beginning a wash. You can prevent an accident like this from happening.”

The Pervasive Grain Bins of the Prairies

Grain bins, technically called steel grain silos, dot the the Prairies and Plains of North America. They come in many different sizes, tiny to massive. They first appeared in the 1920’s, they would last longer than wood structures and were stronger. Driving across grain country of the central U.S. and Canada they are everywhere.

I kept my eyes peeled for them on this latest trip to south central Manitoba. They are all over the place.

These big ones can hold up to 30,000 bushels of grain. Brock makes giant grain bins that can hold up to 71,000 bushels!

They have their own staircases up to the top.

Near Roseisle Manitoba above

Rathwell, Manitoba

A lonely solitary bin

Hopper bottom bins

Somerset, Manitoba

 

 

The World’s Biggest House

Why one family would need a residence this big boggles the mind.  But when you have 2 billion dollars in the bank, creative spending is needed.  To build something like this in a city that has hundreds of thousands of homeless people doesn’t seem appropriate.  The building has approximately the same floor space as a 30 story office building.

Antilia is the name of a twenty-seven floor personal home in South Mumbai belonging to India’s richest man, businessman Mukesh Ambani, the billionaire Chairman of Reliance Industries.  There will be 600 full-time staff to maintain the residence, which is considered the most expensive home in the world with a price over US$ 1 billion dollars.  Its also been described as the “Taj Mahal of 21st century India”.

The home will house Ambani, wife Nita, their three children and Ambani’s mother.

Location Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Status Completed
Constructed 2007-2010
Use Residential
Height
Roof 173 metres (568 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 27 (equivalent to 60 floors tower)
Cost US$50-70 million est. yearly maintenance
Companies involved
Architect(s) Perkins & Will

The structure was designed by U.S. architects using principles of Vaastu, Indian traditional geomancy akin to Chinese feng shui, to maximize “positive energy.” No two floor plans are alike, and the materials used in each level vary widely.

The home will include:

  • 400,000 sq feet of living space.
  • Parking space for 168 cars.
  • A one-floor vehicle maintenance facility.
  • 9 elevators in the lobby.
  • 3 helipads and an air traffic control facility.
  • Health spa, yoga studio, small theatre with a seating capacity for 50 on the eighth floor,  multiple swimming pools, three floors of hanging gardens, and a ballroom.
  • An ice room infused with man-made snow flurries.

 

Some Indians are proud of the “ostentatious house,” while others see it as “shameful in a nation where many children go hungry.”  Dipankar Gupta, a sociologist at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, opined that “such wealth can be inconceivable” not only in Mumbai, “home to some of Asia’s worst slums,” but also in a nation with 42 percent of the world’s underweight children younger than five.