Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Iraq: Bravo Company's story," Aug. 21, 2004

Citizen's self-arrest

Vernon, Vt., Police Chief Ian McCollin has pulled over many drunk drivers, but Bryan Condo was the first alleged drunk driver to pull him over. The chief says he was expecting to be asked for directions when a confused-looking Mr. Condo pulled up beside him on a shoulder. Instead, Mr. Condo said he was drunk and looking for a police officer to arrest him. Chief McCollin said Mr. Condo, whose breath test put him at four times the .08 legal blood-alcohol limit, didn't display the aggressive behavior of most arrested drunk drivers: "He was a gentleman, very polite and very cooperative."

Miss makeover

Natural beauties need not apply at a new beauty pageant in China. Only women with certificates proving that they have undergone cosmetic surgery can compete in October's Miss Plastic Surgery contest. The Reuters news service reports that China also plans to hold a beauty contest for women over 55, called the Zhen'ap Cup National Contest of the Beauty of the Gray-Head Group.

Pet support

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Some people treat pets like children, but Canadian truck driver Kenneth Duncan may be the first person forced by a court to do so. The AFP news service reports that a judge in Alberta ordered Mr. Duncan to pay his ex-wife $150 a month to care for Crunchy, the divorcing couple's St. Bernard. Legal analysts say the order is the first involving pet support in Canada.

Criminal candidate

Washington state Republican leaders didn't spend much time ­examining the man they proposed for the job of examining public accounts. With no candidate for state auditor, and the nomination deadline approaching last month, GOP leaders accepted an offer from roadside flower salesman Will Baker to run for the office.
But it turns out that Mr. Baker has been arrested 19 times in the last 12 years, with his last jail stint ending in June. (Most of his arrests were for refusals to stop speaking at Tacoma City Council and Pierce County Council meetings.) "He told us that he was a conservative activist," said state GOP chairman Chris Vance, who tried and failed to have Mr. Baker's name removed from the ballot. "We did just a minimal amount of checking."

National fool

Nigel Roder was selected last week for a job that had not existed in Great Britain since 1649: national court jester. Mr. Roder, aka Kester the Jester, won the job at an Aug. 7 audition, and he succeeds Muckle John, who lost the job when Oliver Cromwell made Britain a republic. "This is a real job," said Tracy Borman of ­English Heritage, the ­government's national ­heritage group. "He will have to amuse and provoke -although failure to do so will no longer risk beheading."

Saved by the bell?

Two cell-phone providers are offering to help customers lie their way out of bad dates. With Cingular Wireless' Escape-A-Date and Virgin Mobile's Rescue Ring services, customers can arrange to be called during a date and offered a fake excuse for going home early.
An example: "Hey, this is your Escape-A-Date call. If you're looking for an excuse, I got it. Just repeat after me, and you'll be on your way: 'Not again! Why does that always happen to you? . . . All right, I'll be right there.' Now tell 'em that your roommate got locked out and you have to go let them in. Good luck!"
Dan Enthoven of BeVocal, the company that designed the voice-driven software for the services, says customers request about 10,000 such calls per month, with Friday at 8:00 p.m. being the busiest time of the week.

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