Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Superheroes strike again," Aug. 6, 2005

Discount romance

Wal-Mart shoppers in Roanoke, Va., will soon learn they're looking for love in all the wrong places. Under orders from the corporate offices in Bentonville, Ark., a Wal-Mart in Roanoke ended its month-old dating program in the retail store. The program encouraged single shoppers to wear a red bow while browsing on Friday nights-an invitation to meet other singles. The Roanoke store even set up "flirt points" around merchandise. Wal-Mart wouldn't comment on the move, but already customers of the Roanoke store are angry. Frequent shopper Dale Firebaugh, 63, was disappointed: "Where can someone over 40 who doesn't smoke or drink or go to bars meet someone?"

Lost and found I

Gilbert Dewey Gaedcke III sure picked a fine place to get lost: Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii. The 41-year-old thrill seeker survived five days in lava fields after he embarked alone to check out an active volcano. After getting lost in the lava fields, the Austin, Tex., man survived by gleaning water from moss growing in pockets of vegetation in the midst of the lava flow. Mr. Gaedcke was eventually found when a 15-year-old California boy spied reflections from his signal mirror while on a helicopter tour above the park.

Lost and found II

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A Connecticut man made a most amazing catch at the site of one of his greatest heartbreaks. While he was clamming off Long Island Sound two years ago, Stewart Petrie's wedding ring slipped into the water and was lost. Two years later, Mr. Petrie, now 82, returned to the same point and made an incredible catch. Amongst a catch of clams was an old, dirty wedding ring-his very own. "It was an absolutely stupendous feeling," Mr. Petrie said. Though he plans on restoring the wedding band, the man will wear it, muck and all, until then.

Blair flare

Could Merle Norman and Mary Kay associates soon be finding their way to 10 Downing Street? According to the British government, United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair has spent $3,130 on cosmetics in the past six years. With that sort of cash, Mr. Blair could have bought over 240 sticks of Mary Kay's signature Tiger Lily lip gloss. Or not.

Hair suit

In Germany, high courts ruled last month that German men do not have a right to the appearance of a full head of hair. The controversy arose when a man sued the government for not providing aid in paying for a toupee to hide his bald head. The court threw out the 46-year-old's case, but left room for state aid for women's wigs. "The state health insurance only has to pay for hair replacement when a bald head disfigures a person so severely that they would be ostracized from public life. That is not the case with men."

Mormon mission

Lance Archibald is 31 and single, but he has some of the best marketing minds in Utah trying to help him find a wife. Friends of the former college basketball player and Harvard Business School graduate have put up a billboard on an interstate highway south of Salt Lake City ("I'm Lance, Let's go out!") to speed up the search. "It kind of came out of discussions we had, that Lance is such a good guy but not married," said Morgan Lynch, CEO of LogoWorks. "Someone threw out the idea of getting a billboard." "Team DateLance" reports screening several applicants.

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