Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "Unto the breach," July 22, 2006

On a roll

Dutch authorities arrested a 20-year-old man for endangering traffic, even though they admit he was only going between 50 and 56 miles per hour. The problem: He was doing it on rollerblades while hanging onto a car traveling near the city of Roermond. Attracting attention may not have been the smartest move for the man, whom police did not identify. The Reuters news service reports that police discovered he already had a 30-day sentence that he needed to serve for a different offense.

Whale of a time

Everything started out well for about 80 tourists on a sight-seeing trip to see a whale off the coast of Norway. They spotted a minke whale and were beginning to admire it when someone else did the same-the skipper of a whaling vessel. The whaler had his harpoon loaded and he opened fire. "The blood flowed and it wasn't a pretty sight," tourist Leontien Dieleman told a Norwegian newspaper. "This really wasn't what we came to see." Making matters worse: The boat with the shocked tourists later passed another boat hauling a dead whale onto its deck. Norwegian law allows the hunting of the large minke whale population.

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Do Jeff and Pam Ippel of Overland Park, Kan., live in a house divided against itself? It depends on whom you ask. They insist that they do: Jeff, a Republican, and his wife Pam, a Democrat, are running for the same state House seat, saying they have very different ideas about how to govern. But Kansas conservatives suspect the Ippels may be more united than they let on. Jeff is running on a small-government platform in the three-candidate GOP primary, and some conservatives believe he's trying to steer votes away from conservative candidate Jeff Colyer and give the nomination to moderate Sherrelyn Smith. The Ippels' two voting-age children, meanwhile, refuse to say which parent will get their votes should Jeff win the Aug. 1 primary. "I've asked them," Jeff said. "They said they're going to look at the issues."

A bunch of rubbish

Donna Challice's trash may soon become the British government's treasure. The AFP news service reports that the 31-year-old British woman is the first person to be charged under a Draconian recycling law passed last year. Her alleged crime: putting cigarette butts, food, pieces of metal, and parts of a broken vacuum cleaner into a recycling bin for glass, cardboard, and plastic. Her potential fine: more than $11,000.

Birds, bees, mayflies

Forecasters at the National Weather Service in Wisconsin had to be wondering what was up. Despite clear skies on June 30, weather radars spotted what looked to be an unusual storm above the Lacrosse, Wis., skies. It wasn't a weather pattern, but the sensitive weather radar picking up hordes of just-hatched mayflies piling up into drifts to mate.

Cooked meat

A Delaware man decided to use gunpowder rather than charcoal or lighter fluid to get his coals glowing for a July 3 cookout. The unorthodox fire preparation method blew up on him, and the man suffered burns on his hands and face. Police said the man had been drinking.

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