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Watercooler Stories

Sept. 10, 2012 at 6:30 AM   |   Comments

Possible Renoir found at flea market

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sept. 8 (UPI) -- A woman at a Virginia flea market paid less than $60 for a box containing a painting that may be the work of French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

The painting is believed to be Renoir's "Paysage Bords de Seine," a 5.5-by-9-inch pastel river scene. The work has been valued at between $75,000 and $100,000, The New York Times reported.

The owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, brought the painting to the Potomack Company, an auction house based in Alexandria, Va., where Anne Norton Craner, the company's fine arts specialist, said she is convinced it is a Renoir.

"You just see it and you know it's right," Craner said.

Craner said she did some research and found the painting was purchased from the Bernheim-Jeune gallery in France in 1925 and later sold to Herbert May, the husband of Sadie A. May, a collector in Maryland.

How the painting made its way from the Mays' collection to a box at a flea market is a mystery, Craner said.

The painting is set to be auctioned off on Sept. 29.


Pet monkey detained after biting woman

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif., Sept. 8 (UPI) -- A monkey being kept illegally in California as a pet is now in quarantine after biting a woman.

The Javan macaque inflicted severe wounds on the hands and arms of the victim Aug. 29, the Los Angeles Times reported. The monkey was being kept in Paso Robles in San Luis Obispo County.

Eric Anderson, the county animal services manager, said he got a notice this week about the bite. He said Javan macaques can inflict bites like those of dogs.

"This kind of animal is never meant to be kept domestically. It is illegal," Anderson said. "It lived on a diet including Frosted Flakes and juice. We strongly discourage the keeping of any such animal and that is entirely the wrong kind of diet."

The monkey will remain in quarantine for 60 days at Zoo to You, a rescue operation.


Contractors break into wrong house twice

TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif., Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Contractors mistakenly broke into a California house twice, thinking it was the foreclosed home they had been hired to clean out, a couple say.

To add insult to injury, Alvin and Pat Tjosaas say the house in Twentynine Palms was bought for cash 50 years ago and has never had a mortgage, ABC News reported Thursday. Contractors employed by Wells Fargo twice -- around Memorial Day and then again during the Labor Day weekend -- mistook it for other nearby properties.

The house belonged to Alvin Tjosaas' parents, and he shares ownership with his sisters.

No one had been living in the house, although Alvin Tjosaas, 77, would drive from his home in Woodland Hills, Calif., about 200 miles away, to work on it.

Pat Tjosaas, 75, said Wells Fargo was very apologetic about the double mistake -- "and we appreciate that." But she said some of the items that have disappeared are irreplaceable, including the uniform her father-in-law wore during World War I.

She said once the locks were broken people appear to have been using the house and leaving beer bottles and bongs behind.


Waves sink Chicago Red Bull Flugtag

CHICAGO, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- The Red Bull Flugtag in Chicago was canceled Saturday because of "unsafe marine conditions," officials said.

Nearly 30 teams were set to participate in the event, which challenges teams to construct homemade, human-powered flying machines and pilot them off a 30-foot high deck into Lake Michigan, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The Chicago Flugtag Web site alerted teams that the event was canceled Saturday due to "unsafe marine conditions."

The National Weather Service said 4 to 7-foot waves were expected on the lake and issued a small craft advisory.

Red Bull hosts four flugtags nationwide. The others are in Philadelphia, Miami, and San Francisco. Chicago's was scheduled to be the first this year.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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