Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Johnny Carson: In memoriam," Feb. 5, 2005

Bad apple

An apple a day won't keep British police away, at least not if you're driving. A British court on Jan. 24 ordered Sarah McCaffrey to pay $300 for a December 2003 infraction. Her offense: She was eating an apple while driving. A police officer, thinking she was talking on her cell phone, pulled her over and cited her for not having both hands on the steering wheel. British newspapers report that the trial included 10 hearings and the cost for the operation that caught her, including the cost for aerial photographs and video, was $19,000.

Wild (and crazy) about Harry

Ibrahim Huri, custodian of a cemetery near Tel Aviv, couldn't understand why there was sudden interest in the grave of a 19-year-old soldier in Britain's Royal Worcestershire regiment who was killed in Hebron in 1939. Every day, he told the AFP news service, visitors and tourists would ask about the obscure grave and want to see it. Finally someone told him about a popular series of children's books, and the interest made sense. The young soldier's name: Harry Potter. The grave is now part of the area's official tourist guide.

Walking billboard

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Some companies buy naming rights to stadiums or sporting events. SnoreStop, maker of a snoring remedy, on Jan. 21 bought naming rights to a person. The company is paying Andrew Fischer of Omaha, Neb., $37,375 to display the company's logo on his forehead for a month. Mr. Fischer had offered his forehead as ad space on eBay, and SnoreStop was the highest bidder. SnoreStop CEO Christian de Rivel says Mr. Fischer "clearly has a head for business in every sense of the word."

Finnish line

The Finnish government is in damage-control mode after a book it sponsored explained to businessmen how to bribe government officials in Russia. The AFP news service reports that Finland's Trade and Industry Ministry repudiated the book, which was published at government expense by the Finnish-Russian Chamber of Commerce, after a Finnish newspaper reported on it. Mirja Azeem, chief executive of the chamber, remains unrepentant: "The book is a description about how real life is in Russia."

Girl trouble

Brent Brown of New Castle, Del., needs a new way to approach women. Police say Mr. Brown robbed a Domino's Pizza delivery woman on Jan. 20-and then later called her on his cell phone to apologize and ask her out. The woman wasn't interested, but she thought police would be. She gave his cell phone number to authorities, who quickly tracked down and arrested Mr. Brown and an accomplice.

A law unto himself

Tennessee State Senator John Ford wants lower child-support payments because, he told a juvenile court mediator, he lives some days with his ex-wife and their three children, and other days with his girlfriend and their two kids, and pays all the bills. Meanwhile, he's embroiled in a suit by a third woman seeking to increase court-ordered support of a 10-year-old girl he fathered. The Memphis Democrat earned $356,899 in 2003, but since last year has tried to benefit from a state law that keeps court-ordered support lower when a father is financially responsible for other children. Sen. Ford should know the law's provisions: He wrote it himself.

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