Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "Demsnami," Nov. 4, 2006

New Coke

Concessionaire Abel Gonzales Jr. has done what few thought was possible: He's made Coca-Cola even more unhealthy. Gonzales' fried Coke won the "most creative" title at the Texas state fair, and the Coke-battered flour and sugar nuggets topped with cola syrup have since spread to other parts of the South and Southwest. "We've been getting calls from everywhere since we introduced it," Elizabeth Martin, spokeswoman for the North Carolina fair, told the Dallas Morning News. "Everyone wants to know where they can get it." Fried Coke is reportedly even more popular than Gonzales' previous creation: the fried peanut butter, jelly, and banana sandwich.

Nobody is it

Freeze: Elementary-school officials in Attleboro, Mass., have banned "chasing games" at recess, including tag. Willett Elementary School Principal Gaylene Heppe said games like tag lead to scrapes, bruises, or worse when students accidentally collide. Some parents disapprove of the nanny-state regulation: "It's unfortunate that kids' lives are micromanaged and there are social skills they'll never develop on their own," said Debbie Laferriere, a parent of two children at Willett. Some schools in Cheyenne, Wyo., and Spokane, Wash., have also banned tag.

Clown candidates

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Finally, asylum seekers in Great Britain have something to smile about. In an effort to help people granted asylum assimilate into English culture, some refugees between the ages of 12 and 25 will be sent to clown school, where officials say the young asylum seekers will learn self-confidence as they tumble, wear face paint, and mime. Some members of Parliament, however, aren't laughing. "If they do have a genuine case to stay here, they should be taught useful, practical skills like plumbing or bricklaying, or be sent to college," said Tory MP Bob Spink.

Rawhide rescue

If you're ever in Santiago, Chile, you'll know taxi driver Juan Geraldo's cabs when you see them. They're the ones that have every square inch of the interior covered with black-and-white-spotted cowhides that are illuminated at night with neon lights. The upholstery job reflects Geraldo's survival instinct more than his fashion sense. After being robbed several times, he decided to make the cabs so conspicuous that robbers would not dare target them. Apparently the tactic has worked: "The effect was immediate," Geraldo told the Reuters news service. "They haven't robbed me since."

Name recognition

A Wisconsin man is betting voters will have television on the brain when they step into voting booths on Nov. 7. Earlier this year, Platteville's William Fenrick legally changed his name to Andy Griffith-the name of the actor who played Sheriff Andy Taylor on the hit series The Andy Griffith Show-in a ploy to win votes in the race to become Grant County's sheriff. "Nobody knows who's running or what the issues are, if there are any issues, or how the people differ," said Griffith.

Monkey business

For langur handlers in New Dehli, the monkey business couldn't be more profitable. With wildlife experts estimating the monkey infestation in New Dehli reaching 5,000 monkeys and growing, some businesses have found an ironic solution: Fight monkeys with monkeys. Handlers have found that bringing in langurs, large monkeys with weapon-like tails, scares the stuffing out of the ubiquitous though smaller Rhesus macaques (above) that scurry underfoot on New Dehli streets and even in the subway. India's Hindu majority considers monkeys sacred.

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