Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "Help on the inside," Aug. 12, 2006

Behind bars bar

One enterprising prisoner at a Vermont state correctional institution thought he found the perfect audience for a new bar scene: his fellow inmates. Officials in Springfield, Vt., denied Paul Murphy's request for a liquor license to sell drinks from his own prison cell. Murphy's convictions for aggravated assault and writing hot checks landed him in the state prison.

Fish fries and terror alerts don't mix

Local officials in Vermillion County, Ind., got on the wrong side of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) when they started turning emergency message boards on roadways into scrolling advertisements for things like local fish fries and spaghetti dinners. The signs cost DHS $300,000 and the feds say that the county's improper use puts it at risk of losing federal funds. County commissioner Tim Wilson sounds like a man looking for a fight. "We run the county," said Wilson, who used the signs to advertise for his fish fry. "We make decisions to run the county on what's best for us. Did we misuse (the signs)? Or did we just run the county as we saw fit?" DHS says the answer is clear.

Make mine a double-scoop beef cone

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Baskin Robbins, eat your heart out. Zookeepers in Zurich have devised a tasteful way for animals to stay cool during the record heat wave throughout Switzerland. In addition to offering animals frozen berries and frozen bones, the carnivorous beasts are getting a taste of what the zoo calls meat-flavored ice cream. The alternative dessert is said to be a hit with the zoo's apes, big cats, and wolves.

Getting some shut-eye

To continue his string of church robberies, perhaps Robert Chapman should have considered leaving the scene of the crime. Or perhaps getting a hotel room. Oconee County, Ga., sheriff's deputies found Chapman's automobile with scads of stereo equipment stolen from a nearby church piled in. The deputies say finding Chapman once they found his vehicle wasn't difficult at all. They followed the sounds of snoring until they discovered the man taking a nap in the nearby woods.

Shower time

When the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings come to Singapore in September, national officials want citizens to be on their best behavior. Specifically, the Workforce Development Agency recently delivered a message to the nation's nearly 8,500 cab drivers: Get into the habit of showering. Officials in the East Asian nation suggested the cabbies do something about their body odor and possibly cut back on dash-top accessories when the important delegates come into town. In a 66-page handbook distributed by the WDA, the cab drivers were told to "look good and feel good with positive self-talk."

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