Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "Wildfire," June 24, 2006

Lawyerly games

With a pair of opposing attorneys apparently acting like children, U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell decided to treat them like children. The two lawyers reportedly couldn't agree on any details in an insurance lawsuit, including even where a witness would give a sworn statement. Judge Presnell's response: a June 30 match of rock, paper, scissors- a common children's game-with the winner choosing the location. "We're going to have to do it," David Pettinato, lead attorney for the plaintiff, told the Associated Press. "I guess I'd better bone up on 'rock, paper, scissors' rules."

P.R. press

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson claims he's part of the one-ton club. Mr. Robertson says he actually leg pressed 2,000 pounds on Feb. 1, 2003-a figure 665 pounds heavier than the record for Florida State University football players. Mr. Robertson, then one month away from his 73rd birthday, says he's an avid leg presser, but admitted his one-ton lift wouldn't qualify in bodybuilding tournaments. He says he didn't let the sled fully descend. The 700 Club host says he still lifts 1,200 pounds regularly.

Terrified terrier

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Cats may have nine lives-but what about dogs? In particular, consider Russett, a 6-year-old pet Jack Russell terrier who tumbled off a 450-foot cliff on Great Britain's Isle of Wight yet managed to survive. A dog owner may understand how it happened: While being watched by his owners, Russett took off after a rabbit. But when the rabbit made a quick turn away from the cliff, Russett couldn't brake fast enough and down he went. The coast guard found the dog on the rocks below as the tide began to encroach. Though stunned from the great fall, Russett suffered only cuts, bruises, and a concussion.

Nightmare wreck

Eddie Melendez's day just kept getting worse and worse. First, the 21-year-old Floridian was run off the road by a large truck when he was driving his small sedan home from Tampa. Next bad thing for Mr. Melendez: Despite applying the brakes (and even the emergency brake), his Honda careened into a canal alongside the highway. Worse yet for the young man, the highway was the infamous Alligator Alley, a stretch of road alongside an alligator-infested canal. But although his glasses tumbled off his face during the accident (even more bad news: Mr. Melendez is legally blind without his specs), he managed to survive the accident without major injury and swim to safety before any gators discovered his presence.

Bad call

Mother usually knows best. But not in this case. Elaine Baker had a clever idea to raise money to bail her out of the Clay County (Iowa) jailhouse. She called her son and told him to sell some marijuana she had stashed in the refrigerator. But it wasn't just mother and son on the call. Police were listening in, too. Now both mother and son are facing drug charges.

Large load

Considering the size of Acer's new portable computer, the computer maker may have to rethink the label "laptop." After all, upon whose lap could a portable computer with a 20.1-inch display fit? Acer debuted its monster laptop at Taiwan's Computex 2006 trade show and made clear that normal surfing and e-mail wasn't what the Aspire 9800 was designed for. Not only can the machine play DVDs in HD, but Acer managed to stuff a television tuner inside the laptop as well.

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