Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurences

Issue: "No way out," May 13, 2006

Display on ice

A restaurant in Italy got slapped with an $855 fine for putting lobster on an iced display to entice patrons to buy the crustaceans. Authorities in the northeast town of Vicenza cited an animal-cruelty law usually applied to pet owners when fining the owners of the La Conchiglia D'Oro, or "Golden Shell." The fine came after years of legal wrangling, with city fathers finally ruling that displaying lobsters constitutes cruelty. Italy, where dog owners in Turin are required to walk their dogs three times a day, has some of the world's strictest laws on animal cruelty.

Clearing the air

Shovel up some road kill, save an astronaut's life. So goes the thinking of Kennedy Space Center managers who are encouraging everyone, including private citizens, to scoop up dead animals on roads near the Cape Canaveral, Fla., space center. NASA officials, worried about a repeat of a 2005 accident when space shuttle Discovery's fuel tank collided with a vulture during a launch, want to dispose of dead animals to give vultures less reason to circle around the launch center. The collision with the vulture didn't cause a problem (except for the vulture), but, according to NASA officials, better safe than sorry.

Clothes call

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Running naked at a German soccer match is about to become an expensive decision. A German court declared that stadium operators could punish streakers, upholding a $24,800 fine against three men who interrupted a German soccer federation match with their nakedness. The judge, apparently, didn't buy the trio's defense: that they shouldn't be punished because stadium operators didn't do enough to stop them.

Gas guzzlers

Drivers in the City of Angels aren't exactly living up to their town's nickname. Responding to a publicly funded program that gives stranded motorists a free gallon of gas, some Los Angeles drivers are reportedly running out of gasoline on purpose. "There was one guy a while back who was stopping every morning and trying to get his one free gallon," said towing company owner Moshe Ben Dayan. "I think it is going to be more drastic when the price of gas is closer to $4 a gallon."

Nowhere to go

What did leaders in Waltham, Mass., decide to buy? A trolley. What do they need now? Someplace to drive it. That small detail means the Tick Tock Trolley, which Waltham officials spent $108,000 on last year, is parked under a tent at a local cemetery until city leaders can figure out a place to drive it. But spending more taxpayer money shouldn't be a problem there either-the state awarded the town a $10,000 grant to find a route for the red trolley.

Plum pickings

It may be one thing to pick a plum off a stranger's tree-quite another thing to pluck 150 plum trees from an orchard. A Hungarian farmer made a startling discovery when he returned to his farm after a winter vacation to discover $9,500 worth of his plum trees missing.

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