Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurences

Issue: "Faculty follies," April 29, 2006

Smoked out

Firefighters couldn't figure out why a Wadsworth, Ohio, man left the scene of his housefire until they went into his basement. "It seemed so strange to me," Wadsworth Fire Chief Ralph Copley said. "If it were my home burning, I'd want to be there." That is, unless you used your basement as a large-scale marijuana garden. Authorities confiscated nearly $700,000 worth of marijuana plants after firefighters contained the fire in a $229,000 home owned by Lan Le. Also confiscated from the basement: 1,000-watt light bulbs, peat moss, and light-reflecting discs.

Ice mystery

The ice was falling in Loma Linda, Calif., but no one knows why. Sometime during the morning on April 13, a two-foot chunk of ice fell from the sky, crashing through the roof of a gymnasium on the Loma Linda University campus. Maintenance men working on a campus building's roof report seeing an airplane in the area. For now, university officials are going with that explanation; authorities packaged up the ice and shipped it to the Federal Aviation Administration for investigation.

'Winner take all'

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When Velva, N.D., bowling alley owner Darin Bail wanted to sell the Star City Lanes, he didn't just put up a sign out front. Instead, Mr. Bail has organized a bowling tournament where competitors challenge their own bowling averages and the winner gets the keys to the six-lane bowling alley, the restaurant, and the property. "I call it the 'ultimate winner take all,'" Mr. Bail said. "There's one winner, no second-place prize." The owner needs just 600 entrants to pay the $250 entry fee to make it worth his while.

Loose cannon

Considering the nature of the crime, bandits who stole a 200-year-old cannon from a British barracks should be considered armed and dangerous. Museum curators at the barracks in southern England think it must have taken at least two thieves to steal the 150-pound artifact.

Money drop

Some hiding places are better than others. Suffice it to say, next time one 35-year-old Japanese man hides 5 million yen (close to $42,000) in the trash can, he'll tell his wife. Unwittingly, the man's wife put out a bag stuffed with cash for trash collectors in their apartment building north of Tokyo. Police eventually found the money and returned it to the man when he was able to tell authorities exactly how much yen was within.

Cat nabbed

At long last, media outlets can send their reporters home: Molly the cat has been rescued from a Manhattan building's crawl space. During the cat's 14-day ordeal of being lost, both print and broadcast media swarmed the Greenwich Village building where passersby could hear the cat's meow from the street. Would-be rescuers tried everything to lure the cat from the building-from tasty meals to kittens (trying to appeal to the mother in Molly). A pet psychic was even brought in. But in the end, rescuers got Molly out by ripping into the building and forcefully evicting her.

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