Dispatches > The Buzz

Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Ugly truth of partial-birth," April 17, 2004

Nine lives, four ears

A German kitten with four ears is &quotnot a freak" and &quotnot a mutant," insists Tessy Loedermann, head of the Garmisch-Partenkirchen animal shelter. &quotShe's just a plain and ordinary kitten." The Reuters news service reports that the kitten, named Lilly, was born six months ago with a pair of small, nonhearing ears right behind her normal ears, which veterinarians attribute to a genetic defect.

The shelter was deluged with requests to adopt the cat, but shelter worker Enrico Schlag said the shelter searched for and, last month, found &quota completely normal family" to take her: &quotWe wanted to make sure the people were looking for a normal cat and not a gag to make an exhibition out of her."

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Car crazy

A low-flying crop duster made so much noise on March 28 that Anthony Gene Moore of Kinston, N.C., could not hear a NASCAR broadcast. So he shot it down. Authorities say Mr. Moore admitted that he fired six shots from his rifle at the plane &quotbecause it was annoying him." Three of the shots hit the plane and forced the pilot

to make an emergency landing. Mr. Moore, who apparently had been drinking heavily on the day of the incident, was sentenced this month to six months in prison.

Cashier's collar

A German identity thief faced his accuser-inadvertently. The Reuters news service reports that the thief tried to buy $90 worth of beer and cigarettes at a Berlin gas station with a stolen credit card late last month. What he didn't know was that the name on the card belonged to the cashier, who had recently ordered but not received the card. The cashier locked the man inside the shop and called the police.

Angry assembly

Students attending an assembly on anger management this month at Woodlawn (Md.) High School apparently still have a lot to learn about the subject. As a skit about conflict resolution proceeded on stage, a fight between a parent and a group of girls erupted, and then spread to the entire crowd of 750. &quotPeople were climbing over seats and started fighting about stupid stuff," said student Melissa Parks. Police arrested two people and the school suspended 11 students in the incident.

Blubber Baal

Thousands of Vietnamese are flocking to Ben Tre province to worship a decomposing god. The object of their adoration is an 82-foot dead whale found on the beach on April 2. Villagers say they plan to use the whale's bones to build a shrine in its honor. They built a similar temple last month to honor a smaller beached whale.

Shedding pounds

Lucica Bunghez entered a Bucharest hospital in January weighing at least 264 pounds. She left last week weighing 88 pounds. That's because surgeons had removed a 176-pound benign tumor that had covered most of her back and thighs (see WORLD, Jan. 31, 2004).

Ms. Bunghez suffered from neurofibromatosis, a disorder that produces tumors on nerves throughout a victim's body. Several skin transplants after the tumor's removal extended her stay in the hospital, but she credited the team of surgeons, led by Ioan Lascar of Romania and McKay McKinnon of Chicago, with giving her &quotpositive energy" that &quottook away three-quarters of my suffering."

Bedridden

Burglary suspect Dan Johnson of Ardmore, Okla., fell asleep on the job-and in a bed occupied by the homeowners he was allegedly robbing late last month. The Reuters news service reports that Mr. Johnson slept through quite a lot, including: the couple's waking up and finding him in their bed, their call to authorities, police sirens outside the house, and even an officer's effort to wake him up. &quotAfter about 2-3 minutes, Johnson stood up," wrote Officer Chad Anthony in his arrest report. &quotI saw that he was very intoxicated."

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