Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Supreme Court fight," July 23, 2005

Bad night's sleep

Many people sleepwalk, but what one London teenager did last month is more like sleepclimbing. The Reuters news service reports that the 15-year-old girl, whom authorities did not identify, left her home, sleepwalked to a crane nearby, climbed up the crane, walked across a narrow beam, and fell asleep on a concrete counterweight 130 feet above the ground. A passerby noticed her sleeping and contacted authorities, who spent two hours in a rescue operation that brought the girl back to the ground. She was unharmed.

Leader of the pack

One might expect this from lemmings. One foolish sheep, leaping from a cliff, started a doomed stampede resulting in about 450 dead animals and a grievous loss to one Turkish town. Shepherds in Gevas (a town in eastern Turkey) didn't know what to do when a large herd of sheep began to follow the one beast who, rather than grazing, leapt off a cliff to its demise. In all, nearly 1,500 sheep took the plunge, creating a wooly mound in the ravine below. But as the pile grew larger, many sheep actually survived the cliff dive. The mass of animals provided enough padding to absorb the shock. The death of 450 sheep means an economic loss of more than $100,000 to the poor Turkish town.

Dropping the ball

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Call it bad luck or bad hands. But New York Yankees fan Rob Marchese squandered the opportunity of a lifetime. During the July 7 Yankees game against Cleveland, Mr. Marchese, 41, dropped an Alex Rodriguez home run hit directly to his seat in the right field bleachers. The very next inning, with an unusual shot at redemption, Mr. Marchese again bungled the play. Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi slammed one deep to right, off an Indians outfielder's glove, ricocheting off of the Queens man. With a shot at catching two homers, Mr. Marchese left empty-handed.

Silent treatment

The city council in Yelm, Wash., got so tired of talking about plans to bring a Wal-Mart store into the community, it banned the very mention of the big box store. So now in the small town's city council meetings, mum's the word on the retail giant. Not that the townspeople don't have anything to say. Many have tried complaining, arguing that bringing in a Wal-Mart would drive local businesses into the red. But you can't argue what you can't talk about. "It's the council's meeting," municipal attorney Brent Dille said. "They can decide what they want to hear and what they're tired of hearing."

Bee gone

St. Mark United Church of Christ in Knox, Pa., is looking to ward off some unwelcome guests. After seven years of tolerance, church officials are finally doing something about the estimated 1 million honey bees infested in the church walls so badly that honey is oozing through. Eric McCool has the unenviable job of relocating the bees. In his first week of work at the church site, the bees stung him more than 100 times.

Knot allowed

Conform or else. That's the word from the Soldotna, Alaska, postmaster who commanded one postal employee to ditch his brightly colored ties for the standard blue United States Postal Service necktie. Of course, that didn't sit well with local Alaskans. Citizens have taken to writing letters to the town's mayor and to Margaret Merrill, the postmaster, saying postal clerk Steve Adams should be allowed to wear his colorful ties atop his postal uniform. Mr. Adams has been known for his ties in the small town for years. Even the license plate on his truck reads, "TIE GUY." But Ms. Merrill doesn't care much about Mr. Adams' niche: "He has been informed that sooner or later he is going to have to conform."


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