Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Who will be the next pope?," April 16, 2005

Pair of hoods

Travis Williams and Brandon Calmese of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, are nothing if not persistent. Police say the two men were in a car going south on I-380 on March 29 when the hood of their car popped open, blocking their view. But instead of pulling over, they continued heading south at about 55 mph, with their heads out of their respective windows to see where they were going. The pair had reason not to want to attract police attention: Mr. Williams had a suspended license and Mr. Calmese had a parole violation warrant from Illinois. Both were arrested.

Strike out

Swedish prisoners apparently decided that they had nothing to lose but their chains. So they went on strike last week, sitting in their cells and refusing to attend workshops or study sessions, to protest restrictions on weight-lifting and exercise sessions. But Swedish prison official Christer Isaksson told the Reuters news service that management isn't budging: "We don't feel it is part of the mission that society has given us to create . . . oversized muscle builders."

Pink power

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How better to shame a football player than to make him wear pink? That was the thinking behind a special pink practice jersey at the University of Arkansas for players caught loafing. But apparently some onlookers took offense this spring, and head coach Houston Nutt was suddenly playing defense. The reason: Many breast cancer survivors and their supporters wear pink ribbons. "That was the last thing on our mind," he said, "to discredit somebody who has shown a lot of toughness." Coaches have shelved the jerseys and haven't settled on a new color of shame. They are reportedly considering the color of rival University of Texas: burnt orange.

What are the odds?

Italian lottery officials are noting a sudden surge in bets on the numbers 2, 21, 37, and 84. The reason, reports the Reuters news service, is that those numbers are considered lucky because of their association with the recently deceased Pope John Paul II. The pope died on April 2, at 21:37 local time, at the age of 84.

Expensive beer

Christopher Kelman of Swindon, England, did the smart thing when he became stuck in a window earlier this year; he called police. But that was about the only smart thing he had done all day. Mr. Kelman was in the window because he was trying to escape from a railway station snack bar after robbing it of beer. Mr. Kelman admitted the theft in court on March 29 and was fined $902.

Lane change

Those who are annoyed by slow drivers in passing lanes now have the police on their side in Colorado. Three months ago, State Patrol officers began enforcing a "Left Lane Law" that requires drivers on highways to use the left lane only for passing other vehicles. Officers have issued 460 warnings so far. They will begin issuing tickets of up to $41 in January.

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