Dispatches > The Buzz

Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Memorial Day 2004," May 29, 2004

A bit eggsessive

A new omelet on the menu at a Manhattan restaurant may be worth its weight in silver-and that's just the budget version. The "Zillion Dollar Frittata" at Norma's restaurant in Le Parker Meridien hotel costs $1,000. A budget version is priced at $100.

The omelet debuted on May 5 and includes six eggs, a lobster, and 10 ounces of caviar. "I couldn't believe it was the price when I first saw '1,000' on the menu," customer Virginia Marnell told the Daily News. "I thought it was the calorie count."

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Buried treasure

Neither the thief who stole a 320-year-old Stradivarius cello last month nor the woman who found it thought it was worth much. The thief apparently threw the $3.5 million cello into a dumpster and the woman who found it there wanted her boyfriend to turn it into an unusual CD case.

It was only upon closer inspection several days later that the woman says she realized it was no normal cello and turned it over to Los Angeles police. The cello, made by Antonio Stradivari in 1684 and one of only 60 in existence, is now back with its owner, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. A member of the Philharmonic had taken the cello home to practice on and left it outside overnight when it was stolen.

Pennies per pound

Proof of the adage that one man's trash is another man's treasure: A thief in Edmond, Okla., on May 11 stole almost 5,000 pounds of used cooking grease from three local restaurants. Authorities say the thief may want to recycle the grease for resale. The resale value of the 2.5-ton haul: about $380.

Back to school

Bill Brophy of Hillsboro, Mo., has been blind since he was 10 and he didn't finish high school, but last week the 72-year-old grandfather graduated from Jefferson College-with a 4.0 grade point average.

Mr. Brophy, who has managed the cafeteria at Jefferson College for 35 years, decided to return to school after he discovered a computer program that would read aloud scanned pages. The technology "opened up all the libraries of the world" to him.

Saying he doesn't want "to retire and just sit around," Mr. Brophy plans to pursue a degree in behavioral science at Missouri Baptist University and become a counselor.

Rooms without a view

The Tate Gallery seems to find empty rooms very intriguing. The gallery, which in 2001 awarded the Turner Prize to an artist whose work consisted of an empty room and a light turning on and off, last week nominated for the award two artists for a virtual tour of Osama bin Laden's abandoned and empty house in Afghanistan.

The Reuters news service reports that artists Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell are among a group of controversial artists who are up for this year's Turner Prize, worth about $35,400. Tate Britain director Stephen Deuchar says he's proud of the controversy: "The Turner Prize is now at the center of the artistic debate."

Wages of sin

German researchers have discovered that adultery can be lethal. Agence France-Presse reports that a study by the Center for Forensic Medicine in Frankfurt found that men are more likely to die while committing adultery than while having relations with their wives. Researchers found 56 cases of men having heart attacks during intercourse. Only one in four were with their wives at the time.

Reverse steroids

Male athletes who are not fast enough or strong enough to compete in the Olympics now have another option: Become a woman. The International Olympic Committee announced last week that athletes with sex changes could compete under their new gender. The committee had no rules for such cases, said the IOC's Patrick Schamasch, "so we decided it was time to have some."

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