Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Troops hunt for weapons," June 14, 2003

Depressing decision

Does premarital sex depress teenagers? A Heritage Foundation study, released last week, found a strong correlation between sexual activity and teenage depression. The study, based on data in the 1996 National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, found that: l 25.3 percent of sexually active teenage girls said they were often depressed, compared to 7.7 percent of girls who had not had sexual intercourse. For boys, the numbers were 8.3 percent versus 3.4 percent, respectively. l 14.3 percent of sexually active girls had attempted suicide, compared to 5.1 percent of sexually inactive girls. Six percent of sexually active boys had attempted suicide versus only 0.7 percent of boys who had not had sexual intercourse. Correlation doesn't always equal causation: Lead researcher Robert Rector told USA Today that it's "really impossible to prove" that the sexual activity caused the depression. But the study certainly casts doubt on the idea that premarital sex is a path to happiness and fulfillment.

Bawdy bachelorettes, cont.

WORLD noted last month a new feminist trend: bachelorettes showing that they can be every bit as bawdy as their male counterparts. The Gainesville, Fla., police blotter turns up the most recent evidence. A noise complaint drew police officer Jamie Hope to a local bachelorette party, but the women at the party were glad to see him. They thought he was the entertainment. The bawdy bachelorettes expected Mr. Hope to strip, but he instead ran a routine warrants check and found that the bride-to-be had failed to pay an $11 fine in connection with a 2-year-old open-container citation. The partygoers didn't catch on until Mr. Hope left with the bride-to-be in handcuffs. "When he was taking her to his car, everyone thought he was the stripper and everyone said, 'OK, the warning has gone far enough. Are you going to start stripping?'" said police Sgt. Keith Kameg.

Expensive Italian suit

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Italian food critic Edoardo Raspelli isn't the first person to decry the taste of McDonald's food, but he may be the first to face a $25 million lawsuit for voicing that opinion. The chain claims that Mr. Raspelli's biting description of "rubber" hamburgers and "cardboard" french fries hurt the chain's business. Mr. Raspelli is part of Italy's "slow food" movement, which calls for a return to traditional cuisine.


Most thieves run from the police. Not a man in Hamburg, Germany, whom authorities arrested last week when he tried to report that his own wallet had been stolen. The man aroused police suspicions when he didn't want to give his name, reported Reuters. "They eventually discovered his name, spotted he was wanted for theft, and clapped handcuffs on him immediately," according to a police statement.

Some animals are more equal than others

Animal-rights activist Joel Freedman of Canandaigua, N.Y., chose lobsters over scallops last month. Mr. Freedman, angry at a local Wegmans supermarket for piling lobsters on top of each other in a tank, brought a pound of scallops to the store and dumped them into the tank to feed the lobsters. He then refused to leave, prompting store employees to summon police. The activist's actions are misguided, store manager John VanBlargan told the Daily Messenger. He said that water in lobster tanks is kept at 42 degrees, putting the lobsters in a "semi-dormant state." Mr. Freedman could be charged with trespassing if he returns to the store.

Pride before the fall

European racecar driver Bjorn Wirdheim must know how the tortoise felt after losing to the hare. He lost the Monaco Formula 3000 race on May 31 after he slowed down to cheer his team. The Swede was ahead in the final lap and decelerated, letting Nicola Kiesa pass him. The International Herald Tribune reported that Mr. Wirdheim looked "like a man who had thrown away a winning lottery ticket" after losing by 0.895 seconds.

Restroom patrol

Singapore officials want to help keep their island nation clean-with a five-star rating system for public restrooms. The "Happy Toilet" campaign will grade bathrooms on a scale like that used to rate hotels and restaurants. The Singapore Restroom Association will judge based on cleanliness, layout, and ergonomics. Jack Sim, president of the association, said a five-star restroom needs "very good ambiance, probably with plants and pictures."


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