Dispatches > The Buzz

Quick Takes

Issue: "Kerry picks Edwards as VP," July 17, 2004

Buzz off Gordan A. Bryant of Springfield, Ill., didn't have the element of surprise on his side when he allegedly tried to rob the Farmer's State Bank of Versailles, Ill. Witnesses say Mr. Bryant showed up with a stocking over his face, apparently not realizing that the bank's security system requires customers to be buzzed in by employees. Mr. Bryant fled when employees refused to unlock the door, but authorities soon apprehended him. "When you're going into a bank, you usually don't wear those in there," said Brown County Sheriff Jerry Kempf. "It's not Halloween." Still going Two American women and a South African man are proving that very old age can still be a time of activity and service. Minnesotan Aileen Fritsch celebrated her 90th birthday on June 28 by skydiving. She said the jump, which she made attached to an instructor, was easy: "I haven't been afraid of anything so far in this world." Three days earlier in Colby, Kan., 95-year-old Sada Munkres helped nab a jewelry thief. As a woman tried to steal two diamond rings, Ms. Munkres, forgetting her cane, ran to a phone, called police, and then ran back and helped co-owner Bonnie Dinkel hold the 30-year-old female robber down. Ms. Munkres's only injury from the incident was a hurt finger: "I guess I am OK as much as a 95-year-old lady can be." Then last week, 100-year-old South African Philip Rabinowitz almost set a world record for the fastest 100-meter run by a centenarian, except that a clock malfunction rendered his time of 28.7 seconds unofficial. Mr. Rabinowitz, who works for his daughter's business and walks 3.7 miles daily, is still excited about the accomplishment. "I feel absolutely wonderful," he said. "I never thought I'd be able to do it." Can't win for losing Class A pitcher Luis Ramirez set a minor-league record on June 23, but in doing so he couldn't even improve his own win-loss record. The right-hander for the Aberdeen (Md.) IronBirds struck out a record 12 straight batters, and he shut out the Jamestown Jammers through his five innings of work. The only problem: His reliever gave up four runs in the sixth inning, and the IronBirds lost 6-3. IronBirds managers had decided before the game to limit Mr. Ramirez to 78 pitches. He pitched 76, 58 of which were strikes. Doggin' it July is National Hot Dog Month, and Chicago-based Vienna Beef celebrated by cooking up what it says is a world-record 37-foot hot dog. The company unveiled the hot dog at the Taste of Chicago festival on July 1, complete with a gallon of mustard, a gallon of relish, 140 tomato slices, four pounds of chopped onions, and 70 pickle spears. Breaking camp In the ACLU's moral universe, children should not say "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, but they should be able to attend nude summer camps. The group filed a lawsuit on June 29 that challenges a Virginia ban on no-clothing summer camps for teens and preteens. The law aims specifically at what ACLU attorney Rebecca Glenberg calls a "very highly supervised" camp for kids between the ages of 11 and 18 at White Tail Park nudist camp in Ivor. Virginia Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore argues that the camp could attract pedophiles and pornographers, and he pledges to fight for the law in court: "We look forward to defending minors and morals in the commonwealth." Do it yourself Are Roman Catholic leaders in Vienna reconsidering the doctrine of the priesthood of believers? A church in the city's suburban Penzing district last week offered a staple of the priestly office-a confessional-to the general public on eBay, the internet auction site. Bidding started at only $1.20 for the cherry-wood confessional but quickly reached into the hundreds of dollars.

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