x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Owner takes green initiative to sell his Arizona home

An estate agents initiative to move property in Phoenix, Arizona, calls for green lawns. With no time or money to spend on their grass, one couple uses vegetable dye to paint its lawn green. And other news you can lose...

Tough homeowners' associations in Phoenix, in the south-western US state of Arizona, come down hard on residents whose garden lawns turn brown in the hot, dry days of summer.

What began as a facelifting initiative by estate agents desperate to shift abandoned properties at the height of the housing crisis has been adopted by hard-pressed homeowners who don't have the time or money to spend on their grass - and are spraying it with green paint rather than water.

Doug McGraw told The New York Times that after he was cited for letting his grass go brown his wife suggested they colour it with vegetable dye - a quick fix that cost them only US$200 (Dh734).

Healthy to the end

Most prisoners facing execution tend to let the diet slide a little when it comes to ordering their last meal. Fry-ups, steaks, burgers, ice cream, pizza, cigarettes - even lobster has featured on the death-row menu in US prisons.

But Clarence Carter, 49, who was executed by lethal injection in an Ohio prison this week for a murder he committed in 1988, went out on a healthy option: a tuna salad, with wheat bread and oven-browned potatoes.

Bricks and mortar

A man's DIY project triggered a blast from the past when he uncovered an explosive souvenir from the Korean War while renovating his bathroom.

William Wittman, 70, was carrying out improvements on the home he shares with his wife, Sally Ann, in Milwaukee, in the northern US state of Wisconsin, when he reached into a wall cavity and pulled out a live mortar round, complete with tail fins and packed with explosives.

Neighbours said the previous owner of the house had been a veteran of the 1950-53 Korean War who "used to bring souvenirs back", said Mrs Wittman, and "shared ... and gave other neighbours stuff. They had an old shell that was used to hold a door open."

Hard-pressed troops

British soldiers serving in Afghanistan are up in arms over an order that they should iron their combat uniforms several times a week. The Ministry of Defence says the order is designed to maintain discipline and morale.

But in a letter to the British army magazine Soldier, a corporal serving at Camp Bastion says "horrified" troops think the order was "thought up by somebody sat bored behind a desk".

What's more, he calculated, if all 6,000 soldiers at Camp Bastion spent 40 minutes each week ironing, it would cost £40,000 (Dh240,000) a year in diesel fuel to generate the necessary electricity.

Exhibition of himself

Since it opened in 1997, Iceland's peculiar Phallological Museum has built up an enviable collection of organs from the males of each of the island's native species of mammals, including whales, seals and bears.

Now, says the museum's curator, the collection is complete, thanks to Sigurdur Hjartarson, a local man who has died at the age of 95 and remembered the museum in his will.