Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "Double trouble," Oct. 21, 2006

Kiss of death

It's the kind of world record you only want to make one attempt at. A Thai snake charmer kissed 19 king cobras en route to what many expect to be a new world record for poisonous snake kissing. The 45-year-old Thai man bested a seven-year record set by an American who kissed 11 poisonous snakes. Officials submitted a report to the Guinness Book of World Records, which likely will authenticate the claim.

Hacky-ed off

With apparently no other trouble afoot, Boulder, Colo., police turned the screws on some local teens hanging out near a fountain. The boys' crime? Playing Hacky Sack. Police cited a 17-year-old with a $250 fine for launching projectiles outside of the Boulder County Courthouse. Unbeknownst to the two teens, authorities count the popular footbags as "projectiles" because they fly through the air.

Fast food fanatics

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Coming to a grand opening near you: Chick-fil-A groupies. Like Dead Heads, groups of Chick-fil-A devotees have taken to traveling across the country to stand in line for the prospect of free food from their favorite fast-food restaurant. A spokesman for the restaurant says it's not uncommon to find patrons at grand openings who have crisscrossed the country to attend four or so of the events. What's the attraction? When each new Chick-fil-A opens, the store deals out $260 worth of food coupons to the first 100 customers.

No almond joy

Criminals in California have turned squirrely. Or at least they're nuts. But law enforcement officials aren't laughing at a series of almond heists in the past few weeks that could turn the state's almond industry on end. In a recent case of nut larceny, thieves made off with two trucks mounded with 88,000 pounds of almonds-a street value of $260,000. In all, the state's farmers say $1.5 million worth of almonds have been stolen in the recent crime wave. One nut grower speculates the thieves might have a hard time fencing their ill-gotten booty: "You don't just put that in your garage," 52-year-old grower Scott Phippen told The New York Times. "You don't move that at the local flea market."

Mangled Malay

Poor language skills could net fines for some Malaysians. The government announced it would begin levying fines on citizens who mix the national language, Malay, with English. Nationalistic officials believe the crossbred language, called by some "Manglish," has weakened the country's culture. Officials indicate they will especially crack down on Manglish signs, imposing fines equivalent to $271.

Lights out

The Essex towns of Harwich and Dovercourt won't have Christmas lights this year, but don't blame a lack of festive cheer. The grinch in this case: British guidelines that require licensed, and costly, electricians to hang such lights. "Last year we put the lights up and we had these guys from highways come down and say we were breaking highway requirements," Jamie Shrive, vice chairman of the Harwich Traders' Association, told the East Anglian Daily Times. Shrive has hung the Christmas lights in Harwich for the last 10 years. The trade associations in the two towns estimate that it would cost over $3,500 to hang lights in Harwich and over $18,500 in Dovercourt-price tags that they cannot afford.

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