Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "An evolving debate," May 21, 2005

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Because it didn't realize it was a finable offense. Linc and Helena Moore received quite a surprise when local law enforcement issued them a ticket after one of their chickens was apparently caught jaywalking in Johannesburg, Calif., a rural mining community 220 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Officials said the fowl was holding up traffic. The Moores pleaded not guilty and will argue their case this month before a Superior Court judge.

Sweatin' out that gym credit

Isabel Gottlieb apparently wasn't sporty enough to graduate from Bow (N.H.) High School. Not that she didn't make the grades. She just didn't take gym. Ms. Gottlieb earned three letters in sports from a Seattle-area high school during her freshman and sophomore years before she moved to New Hampshire. Her athletic achievements counted as physical education credits on the West Coast. But at Bow, school officials said she had to take gym, anyway. So when Ms. Gottlieb discovered she'd need to drop an Advanced Placement biology class to add a gym class during her final semester, she decided to get her diploma elsewhere. "I'm trying to get into college and someone isn't going to want to see someone drop an AP biology class . . . in order to pick up P.E.," Ms. Gottlieb said. The school won't budge, so Ms. Gottlieb is now preparing to take her G.E.D. before she enrolls at Trinity College (N.H.) this fall. Her mother is even planning a non-graduation party.

Arrivederci!

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Naples has a new plan for bringing down its petty-theft crimes: Ban the thieves' getaway vehicles. The Mediterranean city has banned scooters in its picturesque but often dangerous parts of town where scooter-riding bandits snatch a purse or wallet and then zoom away through the city's narrow corridors.

Fest of time

MIT student Amal Dorai is throwing a party he hopes will be for the ages. All ages. Mr. Dorai is throwing the first-and possibly last-Time Traveler Convention at the Boston-area campus. "You only need one," he said. "The chance that anybody shows up is small, but if it happens it will be one of the biggest events in human history." Mr. Dorai, who's providing chips and dip for anyone traveling back from the future, said he's publicized the event by slipping invitations on acid-free paper into library books. Time travelers will prove their future standing, the student said, by bringing a cure for cancer or something like a future sports almanac.

Mutt mom

It may not have Lassie's pedigree, but one stray Kenyan dog can certainly be called a hero. The dog apparently encountered an abandoned baby in a plastic bag, picked up the newborn, and carried it across a busy road and through some barbed wire to the dog's litter of puppies. The next day, a property owner discovered the child and took it to the hospital. Medical officials say the 7-pound, 4-ounce baby is now doing well.

Pepperoni plea

An Australian prison official was loath to negotiate with prisoners who had taken members of his staff hostage. But eventually, prison officials gave in to the convicted criminals' demands-for 15 pizzas. The standoff lasted 42 hours. One prison guard was held by 20 convicts. The hostage-taking followed months of unrest with inmates demanding better living conditions. In the final analysis, perhaps they just wanted better food.

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