In April, 2006, a dead, decaying cow got caught on a tree branch at a dam near West Milford, W.Va., and remained there for “several weeks,” according to an Associated Press report, grossing out neighbors, while five government agencies split hairs to keep from getting involved.
Could the West Milford city government move the cow?
No, outside city limits.
State Department of Natural Resources?
No, they handle only wild animals.
State Environmental Protection agency?
No, the cow presents no ecological danger.
State Agriculture Department?
No, it’s a local issue.
Regional Water Board?
No, just no.
Finally, workers from the state Division of Highways, along with volunteer firefighters, removed the cow.
A 200-exhibit installation on the history of dirt and filth and their importance in our lives opened in a London gallery, featuring the ordinary (dust), the educational (a video tribute to New York’s Fresh Kills landfill, at one time the world’s largest), the medical (vials of historic, nasty-looking secretions from cholera victims), and the artistic (bricks fashioned from feces gathered by India’s Dalits, who hand-clean latrines).
Dirt may worry us as a society, said the exhibit’s curator, but we have learned that we “need bits of it and, guiltily, secretly, we are sometimes drawn to it.”
Capping the exhibit, leaning against a wall, was what appeared at a distance to be an ordinary broom but whose handle was studded with diamonds and pearls.
(Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 18737, Tampa Fla. 33679 or go to www.newsoftheweird.com.)