Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "Katie can't bar the door," July 15, 2006

Ghost story

Police in India say bandits in the Asian subcontinent have new ways to commit highway robbery. Authorities say highway bandits had taken to tying red lanterns onto trained pigeons and using them to fly near trucks on the nation's highways. The drivers think the red lights are actually ghosts. "In the darkness of the night, all the drivers see are red lights flying all around and most of them being superstitious, flee, leaving their consignments at the mercy of bandits," an official from the nation's Crime Investigations Department reported.

Ugly Archie

At long last, judges at the annual Sonoma-Marin Fair in California have crowned a new putrid pooch. The new victor in the official World's Ugliest Dog competition? A 12-pound Chinese Crested named Archie with diseased skin, a white mohawk, and a serious case of tongue loll. It came as a surprise to Heather Peoples, Archie's owner. She said she didn't think Archie had a chance. He might not have, except that Sam, the reigning ugly dog, three-time champ, and, unofficial favorite for ugliest dog ever, died last November.

Water war

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It's not paranoia if they're really out to get you. That's the line of thinking behind Romanian senators who opened an official government probe investigating whether "foreign powers" had used nefarious technology to alter weather patterns and cause floods in the Eastern European nation last year. Corneliu Vadim Tudor, a leader of the extreme right wing of the Senate, sounded convinced, saying his country was "the victim of a meteorological attack" from "a great power east of Romania"-a thinly veiled reference to Russia. A spokesman with the nation's executive completely ruled out the theory.

Fish felony

A pair of Kentucky fishermen's fish story has netted them 10 felony counts after police say they cheated in a bass tournament last April. Grand juries in two Kentucky counties returned felony charges against Dwayne E. Nesmith and Brian K. Thomas after witnesses told police they stashed a number of live bass in an underwater fish basket and then added the ill-gotten fish to their final tally at the weigh-in of a local bass tournament. The pair had won several thousand dollars and a bass boat worth $30,000 before state gaming officials uncovered their ruse.

Rafting under the influence

Police in Albany, N.Y., and Bethlehem, N.Y., spent hours combing the Normankill Creek before pulling two 20-year-olds out of a flood-swollen torrent early on June 29. A third 20-year-old had earlier called for help after the trio's impromptu raft, an air mattress, predictably capsized. The young men apparently were looking for a thrill ride, and police think they know why. "Some of the information right now indicated that alcohol was involved," a police investigator said. Like the part about trying to navigate a river at 1 a.m., or the part about doing it on an air mattress?

Star crossed

Let this be a lesson to all thieves: When forging an ID card, don't use the image of one of the most famous American film stars. Police in the United Arab Emirates arrested a Jordanian man after he cut-and-pasted an image of movie star Brad Pitt onto an ID card he tried to use to swindle $22,000 that had been abandoned at a currency exchange office.


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