Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Terri Schiavo: In memoriam," April 9, 2005

Aggressive artist

Some artists wait their entire lives to see their work displayed in major museums. A British "graffiti artist" who goes by the name Banksy decided not to wait. Last month he smuggled his works into four New York museums and set up exhibits. One of the museums, the Museum of Modern Art, didn't detect his rogue exhibit for four days. "Obviously," says Banksy of museum security, "they've got their eye a lot more on things leaving than things going in."

Where's the beef?

Witnesses say a woman at a Wendy's restaurant in San Jose, Calif., became emotionally upset and began vomiting after eating some chili on March 22. And who can blame her? The woman, it turns out, had discovered that she had bitten into a partial human finger that was in the chili.

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"This individual apparently did take a spoonful, did have a finger in her mouth and then, you know, spit it out and recognized it," said Ben Gale, director of the department of environmental health for Santa Clara County. Authorities believe it was a woman's finger because of its long, manicured nail.

The finger's origin remained a mystery last week. Denny Lynch, a spokesman for Wendy's International Inc., said the company's chili suppliers didn't report any injuries, and a finger check at the restaurant revealed no leads: "All of our employees have 10 digits."

Two towers

Soon there will be two leaning towers of Pisa. Officials in the Italian city last week approved plans to construct a modern office building about three miles from the famous 600-year-old leaning tower. The new steel building won't actually tilt, but lighting will make it look as though it does. The $65 million building will house apartments and shops and should be open in about four years.

Put to the test

Alleged drunk driver Diane Viza of Albion, N.Y., didn't mean to turn herself in to police last month. When her son suspected that she had been drinking, Ms. Viza reportedly drove to a local police station and asked to be given a sobriety test to prove him wrong. She failed a breath test, and police charged her with driving while intoxicated.

Sugar low

Candy maker Russell Stover is hoping that the popularity of wearing crosses will translate into a taste for eating them. About 5,000 stores this Easter carried the company's new chocolate crosses with hopes of selling them to devout Christians. Russell Stover president Tom Ward said the company considered, but dropped, some other ideas: "A molded Jesus, for example, would not be a good call and a cross with Jesus on it wouldn't be a good idea either."

Live cargo

A ramp agent for Midwest Airlines may no longer have sympathy for passengers who complain about uncomfortable trips. That's because the agent, whom the airline did not identify, became trapped in a plane's cargo hold on March 25 and remained there during a flight from Milwaukee to Philadelphia.

"He was in the process of securing a wheelchair, tying it down," said Midwest spokeswoman Carol Skornicka, "and they didn't see that he was still in there when they closed the door." She says that when the plane arrived in Philadelphia, the ramp agent "jumped out of the airplane and asked for a cigarette, so he was a little stressed but he was fine."

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