Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Curt Schilling: Never hide," March 19, 2005

Long-distance flight

San Marcos (Calif.) elementary school teacher Gary Nash didn't believe Carla Queen at first. Mr. Nash and his fifth-grade students had launched a 12-inch helium balloon on Dec. 2, and the North Carolina farmer's wife called last month to report that her husband found remnants of the balloon on their farm. The balloon had carried the school's contact information and balloons launched earlier had ended up in Southern California. The distance between this balloon's launch site and its destination: 2,200 miles.

Getaway cruiser

Theresa E. Zygula of Crafton, Pa., only had 80 cents when she left a Carnegie, Pa., bar on March 2, and she needed a ride home. So she went to the police station, knocked on the door, and when nobody answered she decided to drive home a patrol car that was idling outside the station. An officer had left the cruiser's engine running while he went inside the station to use the restroom.

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Later that morning, police discovered the car on a residential street, followed the footprints in the snow to Ms. Zygula's home, and arrested her. Police Chief Jeff Harbin says the officer who left the engine running "had a reasonable expectation that the car would be safe" in front of a police station. "At least it wasn't parked in front of a doughnut shop," he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "That would have been a little embarrassing."

Dime bagged

A penny saved may be a penny earned, but a dime saved since 1894 brought more than $1.3 million at an auction last week. The dime was made at the San Francisco mint and is in nearly pristine condition. The auctioneer did not identify the winning bidder, but the dime had been owned by Bradley Hirst of Richmond, Ind., who bought it in 1999 for $825,000.

Flower patrol

Rogue florists beware: Don't set up shop in Louisiana. U.S. District Judge Frank Polozola on March 2 ruled against those challenging the state's requirement that florists pass a test and get a license before making flower arrangements for a living. The test includes a written exam, and about half of all applicants fail. Clark Neily, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice, said he will appeal the ruling: "There are few occupational licensing laws as crazy as this one."

Hanging on

Torri Hutchinson initially resisted when a motorcyclist motioned to her to pull over and check the roof of her car as she drove down Interstate 15 in Idaho. Once she did, however, she learned that her orange tabby cat, Cuddle Bug, was clutching onto the roof rack. Ms. Hutchinson had driven about 10 miles with the tabby attached to her roof, not even noticing when she stopped for gas.

All aboard

Forty-seven surfers caught the same wave off an Australian beach on March 5, and they did so on the same giant surfboard. More than 5,000 people watched the surfers successfully break the world record for most surfers on a board as the 47 rode for four minutes on a board measuring 40 feet long and 10 feet wide. The effort was part of a fundraiser for tsunami victims, and it broke the previous record of 14, set by an English team in 2003.


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