Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Rathergate," Sept. 25, 2004

Canada's heroes

In the United States, we have a monument for Americans who died in Vietnam. In Canada, organizers are preparing a monument for Americans who evaded the Vietnam-era draft by fleeing their country. Isaac Romano, who is helping to direct the effort, said the monument will "mark the courageous legacy of Vietnam War resisters and the Canadians who helped them resettle in this country during that tumultuous era."

Gratuitous charge

A tip for restaurant customers in Lake George, N.Y.: Tips are still voluntary. Authorities last week dropped charges of misdemeanor theft of services against Humberto Taveras, whom police had arrested on Sept. 5 for refusing to leave a required 18 percent gratuity for large parties at Soprano's Italian and American Grill. Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan said the tips have to be called surcharges or service charges to be mandatory. Soprano's owner Joe Soprano said the restaurant had pursued the charges because Mr. Taveras's party was unruly: "We did what we thought was right."

Asleep at the switch?

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How heavy a sleeper is Shawn M. Polley of Bowling Green, Ky.? Not even two trains running over him could wake him. Mr. Polley reportedly passed out between the rails of a train track in Le Mars, Iowa, and didn't wake up as two trains stormed over him. The conductor of the second train had even engaged the train's screeching emergency brakes, as Mr. Polley slept unharmed. After separating the second train to get to Mr. Polley, police woke him and arrested him for public intoxication.

Investment vehicle

A car that doesn't have anti-lock brakes, power steering, fuel injection, or air bags managed to fetch $7.43 million at a British auction on Sept. 3. The AFP news service reports that the rare, 1929 Mercedes SSK sports car had belonged to collector George Milligen, who died in May and had bought the car in 1941 for only 400 British pounds. The car is in near original condition.

Do fence me in

A 34-year-old Italian so chafed at being under house arrest that he busted out. But it wasn't freedom he was after. The Ansa news agency reports that the unidentified prisoner from the island of Sardinia returned to the prison where he had been held earlier, asking guards to let him back in. When they refused, he complained to police, who arrested him.

Cover up

Runway walkers reportedly did not look like streetwalkers at last week's fall fashion shows, prompting analysts to predict a return to more modest clothing in stores this season. The Reuters news service reports that what fashion analysts call "slutwear," which has been popular at recent fashion shows, gave way to pleated skirts, wide-legged trousers, 1950s-style sweater sets, loose peasant skirts, and dresses. "The slut is out," said fashion critic Godfrey Deeny. "She's dead."

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