Odd briefs

Sunday, May 23, 2004

The fire shines bright in the old Kentucky castle

VERSAILLES, Ky. -- It was like a scene out of old Europe, as townspeople gathered to watch a Versailles castle go up in flames. On Monday, dozens gathered to watch a central Kentucky landmark, known locally as "the castle," go up in flames. Since construction began in 1969, locals have used the building as a directional point of reference, while out-of-towners have gawked at the sight of a castle amid the rolling hills and horse farms. Rex Martin and his first wife, Caroline, bought 60 acres of land Lexington in 1968. The Martins divorced in 1975, while the castle was still under construction. Woodford County fire chief Bennie Green said early Tuesday that "we really don't know anything" about the cause of the fire. No one was injured in the blaze.

At Norma's, with two you get bankruptcy

NEW YORK -- It's not made of gold -- just eggs, lobster, caviar and a few trimmings. But an omelet on the menu of a swanky Manhattan hotel will set you back $1,000, plus tip. The omelet, which debuted May 5 and is billed as the "Zillion Dollar Frittata," has six eggs, a lobster and -- here's the kicker -- 10 ounces of sevruga caviar. The restaurant pays $65 an ounce for the caviar, according to Norma's general manager, Steven Pipes. Beside the omelet's entry in the menu is the following message: "Norma dares you to expense this." No one has ordered it yet. A "budget" version of the omelet, containing only one ounce of caviar, sells for $100.

Range ranger works in upscale war zone

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Jim Shuey calls himself the range ranger. He's the one who picks up all the golf balls on the driving range at the North Forty Golf Complex. He drives an old John Deere tractor that's been hit thousands of times: the headlights are broken and the sides dented. But Shuey says a golf ball has never made it inside the protective cage that surrounds him. He even found golf balls wedged in the engine. "You try and get out of the war zone as soon as possible," Shuey said in an interview with the Lincoln Journal Star. On an average day, Shuey scoops up about 2,500 golf balls, he said.

-- From wire reports

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