Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Lebanon: Democracy now," Feb. 26, 2005

Drunk flying

About 100 birds crashed into the glass of an office building in Columbia, S.C., and others fell from tree branches near the building on Feb. 8. The problem: The birds apparently became drunk after feasting on holly berries that grow in the three-story building's courtyard. Worker Denise Wilkinson called the incident "spooky": "It was like an Alfred Hitchcock movie."

Storyselling

Parents in the Netherlands who are too busy to read to their children can now outsource the task. The Reuters news service reports that a new ­company called Sprookiebel ("Dial-a-fairytale") offers 10-minute recordings of classic fairytales like "Little Red Riding Hood" over the phone for $7 a call. The service began this month and received about 600 calls in its first nine days.

Bad beer break

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This Bud's for Isac Aguero, who no longer works on Miller Time. The Journal Times of Racine, Wis., on Feb. 7 published in its nightlife section a picture of Mr. Aguero, an employee of a Miller beer distributor, drinking a Bud Light. That day, Mr. Aguero says he was called into his supervisor's office and fired without explanation. But his co-workers told him the photograph had gotten him in trouble. What's next for Mr. Aguero? He says he'll look into whether Anheuser-Busch needs forklift drivers.

Not too brite

Police said they had no trouble linking New York's Bart Thomas to a series of bank heists. Similar spelling problems in hold-up notes gave him away. Police say Mr. Thomas misspelled robbery ("robri") and quick ("kwik") in notes passed to tellers and accuse him of at least 13 bank robberies. Authorities caught the spelling-challenged bandit after a bank customer followed him out the door during one robbery and copied his license number.

Strange chase

Whatever other problems Oliver Pearson of Kalispell, Mont., has with the law, police cannot fault his driving habits. Sheriff's deputies in Flathead County say that during a Feb. 7 chase, the suspected burglar never exceeded 70 mph and signaled his turns. The deputies had gone to Mr. Pearson's residence to arrest him for a probation violation and to investigate burglaries when the suspect sped out of the driveway, struck a patrol car, and led them on the otherwise law-abiding chase.

Drawers bill shelved

Prospects of a bill to outlaw sagging pants in Virginia drooped after some Republican state senators decided the bill had become too much of a distraction. A Democrat, who said his constituents were complaining about seeing teenagers' underwear, introduced the bill in Virginia's House where it was passed by voice vote. But a GOP Senate committee chairman killed the bill, saying it had become a distraction. The committee's consideration of the measure, which would have imposed $50 fines against those with sagging pants, drew a standing-room-only crowd of 75 government students on a field trip from Surry County High School.

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