Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "2006 Daniels of the Year," Dec. 16, 2006

Sight unseen

Overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds, a Washington woman recently bowled a 244. Not only is Centralia, Wash., resident Esther Medley elderly-she's 94-but she's also legally blind. But, oh how she can knock the pins down. Medley and her husband have teamed up in a senior league since 1979. She can get a partial glimpse of the floor for her first roll and her husband, Ralph, tells her what she's got left for her second roll. Her recent 244 (with eight strikes) was the league's second-highest score on the year.

Continental divide

Africans who aren't going hungry might be suffering from the opposite blight. According to the World Health Organization, more than one-third of African women and a quarter of African men are overweight. One large hairdresser in Cape Town said past perceptions favoring larger women contribute to the growing problem. So do other surprising factors: "Here, if you lose a lot of weight, people automatically think you have TB or AIDS," she said. One African nutritionist noted that some on the continent had "gone from undernutrition to overnutrition without ever having passed healthy nutrition."

This is only a test

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An anti-hijacking test drill on a Mongolian civilian aircraft didn't exactly go as planned, said authorities at Mongolia's CIA. One problem? Nobody bothered to tell the passengers or crew that the mock takeover was fake. Instead, stunned and frightened passengers and crew members watched as four men jumped from their seats and threatened passengers and tied up pilots once the plane touched down. Mongolian television, also fooled, even broke into programming to broadcast the secretly staged hijacking.

Top of the muffin to ya

Thousands of miles away from the part starving, part gluttonous continent of Africa, Americans in the San Francisco area believe they are doing their part to curb worldwide hunger. Their methods could be called unorthodox. Or disgusting. A handful of Berkeley hippies have taken to eating out of dumpsters not out of necessity, but by choice. "There is so much food thrown away and there are so many starving people in the world, it's shameful to let it go to waste when it's just as easy for me to eat it," said dumpster diver Stephen Vajda, who noted that, unlike some of his friends, he only supplements his groceries with thrown-out food. And those who eat everything from the waste bin? "I wouldn't recommend that," said Vajda. "It's not an ideal diet."

Odor drinkers

Dairy promoters think they know a way to spice up the air around bus shelters in San Francisco: Add the scent of freshly baked cookies to "got milk?" posters. The California Milk Processor board hopes that adding scent strips to the milk adverts will make people waiting for a bus desire a tall, cool glass of milk. One San Francisco teen doesn't think much of the plan: "It's going to smell like cookies and bums," she said.

Matter of taste

Got comments? One item for sale in the gourmet foods section of Amazon.com has sparked an amazing flood of user comments-all about milk. Tucson Whole Milk, which sells for $3.99 per gallon on Amazon.com, has elicited over 800 product reviews mostly touting the glory of milk in hyperbolic terms. A commenter from New York had a tempered response: "Milky goodness, how well you flavor my Honey Nut Cheerios. How well you lighten my coffee. How well you heat and make my hot cocoa complete. Unfortunately, lactose intolerance has made me resistant to your wiles. Go sparkle someone else's eyes."

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