Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Kerry praying for votes," Oct. 9, 2004

Double take

A group of Serbian film actors apparently portrayed a bank robbery a little too well. Filming the scene at a bank in Novi Sad on Sept. 21, the cast suddenly found themselves under arrest. "We had just put stockings on our heads and were carrying plastic handguns needed for the scene, when about 30 policemen surrounded us with pistols pointed at us," actor Aleksandar Gajin said. A suspicious local resident had tipped off the police, who at first didn't buy the actors' story. The mistake was finally cleared up-but only after questioning at a local police station.

Mushroom cloud

Scientists in Switzerland say they have discovered a mushroom growth that is a half-mile wide and more than a quarter-mile long, making it the largest in Europe and second largest in the world. "The majority of the fungus is an underground network that looks a bit like shoelaces," Swiss researcher Muriel Bendel told the Reuters news service. Only a 600-ton mushroom growth in the United States is larger.

Safety belt

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An assistant principal at Concord Junior High in Indiana reportedly used the handyman's favorite sealant to fix a student's sagging pants: duct tape. The student's angry father complained about the incident to the Concord School Board on Sept. 20. Scott Allison says a teacher thought the trendy but often underwear-revealing clothing violated the school's dress code and sent 12-year-old Spencer Allison to Assistant Principal Patricia Waters. She told him to pull up his pants, he said, and "then proceeded to duct tape his waist." Mr. Allison professes "shock" and "outrage" at the makeshift belt, while school officials declined comment.

Wounded knee

Ralph Heine must have thought the doctor was pulling his leg. The 86-year-old World War II veteran went to the hospital last month with knee pain, and X-rays revealed that the culprit was a German bullet that had been lodged in his knee since early 1945. "I got shot in the shoulder, and when I went down they shot me again in the leg," he said. "I thought that bullet only grazed me. I didn't think it went in."

Show They State

The Missouri inventor formerly known as Andrew Wilson has legally changed his name to "They," with no surname. A circuit judge last week approved the name change. "'They do this,' or 'They're to blame for that.' Who is this 'they' everyone talks about?" They said after the change. "'They' accomplish such great things. Somebody had to take responsibility." Among this They's accomplishments: 14 patents, including one for ground-effect lighting, which produces a neon glow underneath vehicles.

Wrong number

If at first a flirtatious Moscow man thinks he has succeeded, he may want to think again. The AFP news service reports that Muscovite women are turning in droves to a phone service that helps them dispatch unwanted suitors. When men request the women's phone number, the women simply supply the number of the service. When the men call, they hear: "Hello. Welcome to the Moscow refusal service. The person who left you this number does not want to speak to you. Goodbye." Founder Pavel Aladyshev says the service receives about 100,000 calls per month.

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