Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Iraq: Fallujah's fallen," Nov. 27, 2004

Unlucky 7?

The queen of clubs won a county commission race in Nevada. Specifically, Raymond Urrizaga won a seat on the White Pine County Commission by drawing the queen of clubs. He and opponent Robert Swetich each garnered 1,847 votes on Nov. 2, and Nevada law allows candidates to decide tied races by tossing a coin, drawing straws, or picking a card. Mr. Swetich drew the 7 of diamonds.

Costly fungus

After fierce bidding from halfway across the world, New York restaurateur Francesco Giambelli bought a 2.4-pound Italian white truffle-for $41,000. The truffle is the largest ever sold at auction, and it drew bids via satellite from as far away as Moscow and Los Angeles. (Proceeds from the Nov. 7 auction of 19 truffles, a variety of tree fungus that has been considered a delicacy for centuries, will go to charity.) The auction "was very aggressive," said auction director Davide Paolini. "No one has ever paid this much for a truffle."

Early release

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Darrell Lewis of Albany, N.Y., saw a news report-complete with surveillance videotape-about his Nov. 1 robbery of a local bank and turned himself in. Or at least he tried to turn himself in. The Reuters news service reports that police officers at Albany's South Station turned him away on Nov. 2, telling him to come back the next day. Mr. Lewis did eventually turn himself in again, this time at Albany's North Station. Albany Police say they suspended without pay a South Station officer for 30 days because of the incident, over the objections of the police union.

Trauma queens

The American Health Association is developing a counseling program for angry and depressed supporters of losing presidential nominee John Kerry, prompted by reports from psychologists of Kerry supporters seeking their help. "I observed patients threatening to leave the country or staring listlessly into space," Florida trauma specialist Douglas Schooler told the Boca Raton News. "They were emotionally paralyzed, shocked, and devastated." The AHA has even coined a term for the problem: "post-election selection trauma."

High flight

A homeless Chinese teenager survived an extremely dangerous trip across southwest China, stowing away in the landing gear of a passenger jet on Nov. 11. The 430-mile flight lasted an hour and reached altitudes of about 23,000 feet, reports the Reuters news service, with porters finding the 14-year-old boy only after the plane landed. A fellow stowaway didn't survive, falling from the plane as it took off.

Busy beavers

East Feliciana Parish, La., until last week may have been home to the world's richest beavers. There, a colony of the critters found a bag of stolen cash, tore it open, and wove $40,000 worth of bills into their dam on a creek near Louisiana Hwy. 48. The money was part of about $75,000 stolen the week before from the Lucky Dollar Casino in Greensburg. The beavers didn't shred the bills but wove them into the dam whole, so authorities were able to recover the cash.

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