Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "History speaks," April 1, 2006

Tapped out

A Kristiansund, Norway, woman made a startling discovery when she turned on her faucet to clean some silverware. Instead of water coming from the tap, it was beer. It turns out her water had accidentally been disconnected and replaced with a beer tap from a bar two floors beneath. It wasn't all good, she admits. Traveling so far from the keg into her home, the beer developed a funny taste and lacked carbonation. Even so, next time, she said, she's ordering Baileys cream liqueur.

He owns this town

Like many eBay shoppers, Bruce Krall has decided to sell something back on eBay that he bought off the online auction site. What makes Mr. Krall's sale unique is the item: The financial advisor from California made waves in 2004 when he spent $700,000 to buy a California town. But Mr. Krall says family responsibilities in Orange County mean that he rarely gets to visit his picturesque town, Bridgeville. So on April 4, bidding on eBay will open again on Bridgeville, Calif. But this time, the auction will begin at $1.75 million-more than twice what he previously paid.

Caller ID

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Maybe the cell phone had a life of its own. Two Enid, Okla., men had their arson plot foiled when one of their cell phones accidentally dialed 911 as they drove around making plans to burn an acquaintance's car. Enid Police taped the phone call for four hours as the two men talked about every detail of the imminent arson. They were arrested and jailed before they could set their plan in motion.

'Empty thought'

One man's transportation is another man's artwork. Sculpture students at the Kansas City Art Institute and at Southeast Missouri State University teamed up to wreck an old white Cadillac for the sake of art. A philanthropist offered the broken-down vehicle and Michael Wilkerson, interim chair at the art institute, couldn't resist: "It was like a big white empty canvas or an empty thought or the empty paper that a poet writes on." Students turned the car inside out, smashing the gears with a 2-pound sledgehammer and filling the body of the vehicle with coal and glass. Of course, the students' artistic expression would have been different than a mechanic's, who might have seen the rumbling of a working engine as an artistic achievement.

Cashless robbery

Apparently the first three rules of real estate could also apply to bank robbery: location, location, location. Some California bandits erred from the beginning when they chose to rob First Pacific Credit Union around noon on March 16. The bandits had the semiautomatic pistols, but the bank didn't have any cash-it never does. First Pacific is a "cashless credit union" where employees deposit money into a vault that almost no one has access to. When no one would open the vault for the bandits, they fled the scene.

Windshield wipeout

In what could have passed as a scene from a horror film, a Massachusetts woman survived an incident that landed a 500-pound moose in the passenger seat of her car. Juleigh McDowell, 30, was driving through Leominster (40 miles west of Boston) on Route 12 when she hit a moose on the roadway. The moose somehow went through the windshield and ended up sitting in the passenger seat with its head out the windshield. Somehow, Ms. McDowell was able to bring the car to a stop without panicking. She survived without injury. The moose had to be put down by the state.

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