Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Exit strategies," Aug. 5, 2006

One clean machine

Perhaps major appliance makers will adopt a warning label just for folks like Gerard Dougher of Scranton, Pa.: Don't clean your washing machine with gasoline. The Scranton man noticed smoke rising from his washing machine after cleaning the inside and setting the machine on its wash cycle. Firefighters had to haul the engulfed machine from the house to douse the flames. Dougher says he was trying to remove a sticky substance from the inside of his appliance.

How low can they go?

A grape glut has sent Australian wine prices plummeting. Some winemakers are even stocking Australian stores with merlots for about $1.50. Experts blame three years of bumper grape crops for the discount wine prices. While Australians can pick up a bottle of merlot for less than a liter of water, the price isn't as low as it can go: Winemakers have storehoused billions of liters of wine around the country to avoid below-basement prices.

Sunny D's sugar-less comeback

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Nutrition critics are already skeptical of Sunny D's comeback. No one questions the taste of the orange drink, but sales started to flag after consumers became wary of the drink's massive amounts of sugar and preservatives. The new Sunny D has less sugar and only two preservatives, the maker says. The Health Education Trust wasn't impressed: "There is no sound nutritional benefit to children in this move, and our advice would be for parents not to touch it with a bargepole." Sunny D counters that they've slashed the sugar content in the 500ml bottles from 55 grams of sugar to only 42 grams, or 28 teaspoons.

Card games

If you take a ride on the Reading Railroad, you'd better bring your Visa. Parker Brothers' flagship board game, Monopoly, doesn't take American Express and it soon might not even take cash. A new release of the game in Great Britain replaces Monopoly money with mock Visa debit cards and a card reader that will add or subtract from the card's balance. If the game sells well, Parker may release it across the pond.

Love in flames

He would do anything for love. Even that. Police say University of Central Florida student Matthew Damsky admitted to setting fires in a school dormitory as a scheme to meet college girls as they fled from the flames. Police say no one was hurt when Damsky lit a couch in the Academic Village Dorms. And if he met any girls, it's unlikely they'll visit him in his new temporary home: the Orange County jail.

Family defense

A Florida thief certainly picked the wrong man to rob. When an attacker jumped Mateo Perez outside of his West Palm Beach, Fla., home, he didn't get away with much-actually, he didn't even get away. When the assailant choked the husband, his wife, Candelaria Jacinto, jumped on the attacker's back. Meanwhile, a 15-year-old daughter dialed 911 as a daughter two years younger broke a plastic chair over his face then bound his arms and legs with rope. And the family's 10-year-old son wasn't left out of the self-defense, soundly rapping the robber in the face with a stick. Police charged the attacker, a 23-year-old Loxahatchee man, with assault and battery.


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