Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "Mayberry no more," July 29, 2006

My intuition made me do it

Perhaps it wasn't his best defense. A German man standing trial for theft in the town of Colberg opted to continue his thieving ways in the courtroom. The German man somehow nabbed the judge's keys during trial but then later realized the stupidity of his actions. "He told them he realized how suspicious his story would sound and that he had therefore hidden the keys under a toilet brush," a police spokesman said. "He'd been stealing all his life so it was probably just an intuitive act."

Mr. T takes it off

Count this as perhaps Hurricane Katrina's most unlikely casualty: Mr. T's famed gold jewelry. The television actor who famously starred in A-Team said he dumped the pounds and pounds of trademark gold chain after witnessing the aftermath of the disaster. He said it would be "a sin against my God" for him to be so showy in light of all the destruction. Still, Mr. T says he pities the foolish actors who go down to the Gulf Coast just to be seen: "I saw some, I call it 'sorry celebrities.' They'll go down there and hook up with the people to take a photo-op. I said, 'How disgusting.' If you're not going to go down there with a check and a hammer and a nail to help the people, don't go down there."

Soup's on

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Famed soup chef Al Yeganeh, the real-life "Soup Nazi," plans to open 50 Original SoupMan franchises in Great Britain over the next year. But for Britons, that won't mean "No more soup for you." Yeganeh became the inspiration for the "Soup Nazi" character in television's Seinfeld. Yeganeh's Manhattan soup kitchen is renowned both for its excellent soups and for his capricious disregard for customer service. Employees at the United Kingdom locations won't yell "No soup for you" at patrons, but will make sure customers follow Yeganeh's strict rules for ordering: "Have your money ready!" and "Move to the extreme left after ordering!"

Harold's commute hurts

A union survey of police officers in Houston made big news locally when the results revealed many officers said they doubted Houston police chief Harold Hurtt's ability to lead. Officers complained about a lack of communication from the top of the force. Many on the squad pointed to the fact that the chief doesn't even live in Houston. Hurtt commutes into Houston every week but retreats on the weekends to Phoenix, Ariz., to be with his family.

Soft targets

Patrons of the annual Mule Day festival in Columbia, Tenn., should feel safer. The Department of Homeland Security says they'll be watching out for terrorists next year during the Mule Day parade. But why? Tennessee's Mule Day festival happens to be just one of many questionable entries on a list of potential terrorism targets compiled by DHS. And because of its place on the list, Mule Day organizers might even be able to apply for federal grants to combat terrorism. The same applies to a popcorn factory in Indiana and the Old McDonald Petting Zoo in Woodville, Ala. State homeland-security directors complain that the federal government gave them no clear standards on what to include on the terrorism target list.

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