Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "The surge is on," Feb. 3, 2007

Easy to find

It wasn't difficult for police to track down some thieves in Lindenhurst, N.Y.; their loot gave them away. Police say three criminals boosted 14 GPS devices from vehicles in a storage lot on Jan. 16, with ideas of later fencing the merchandise. But when town workers in Babylon, N.Y., notified authorities that their GPS gadgets had been stolen, law enforcement used the GPS signals to track the devices to a home in Lindenhurst where one of the alleged thieves was holding one of the stolen tracking devices in his hands.

Killer course

It could be said that Slovenian swimmer Martin Strel has set different goals for his life: "I'm going to swim that river [the piranha-infested Amazon] or die trying. But dying is not my intention." Strel's intention to swim 3,375 miles down the Amazon may seem like a death wish in pursuit of a world record. How does he plan to stay alive? He and his cohorts say they'll dump buckets of animal blood in the river to distract piranhas, crocodiles, and snakes during the 70-day trek.

Still going

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Connecticut resident Emma Faust Tillman has waited a long time for this: 114 years, that is. With the death of a 115-year-old Canadian woman in January, Tillman became the world's documented oldest woman. She was born on Nov. 22, 1892-two weeks after Grover Cleveland won his second presidential election and 71 years before President John F. Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas. Tillman's parents were former slaves in North Carolina. Asked about her longevity, the lucid Tillman credited "the man upstairs."

Going retro

According to a small number of Greeks, Zeus is making a popular comeback. Doreta Peppa says she's leading a revival of Zeus worship and has petitioned the Greek government for permission to worship at the 1,800-year-old Temple of Olympian Zeus. Most Greeks are baptized into the Orthodox Christian Church, and worship of ancient pagan and Hellenic gods has almost disappeared. But don't expect any talk of thunderbolts from the New Age--sounding Peppa: "We will issue a call for peace, who can be opposed to that?"

Barn party

In a world where Japanese ranchers feed cattle hops and provide bovine massages, perhaps the idea of pre-marinating cattle was inevitable. A group of Australian ranchers say they will begin feeding their herd red wine that retails for nearly $16. Their hope: Since many beefeaters enjoy a glass of red wine with a steak, perhaps red wine on the front end will make the steak even better. Ranchers will give one liter of the premium Australian red to the animals on each of their last 60 days alive. But it won't come cheaply. Each filet or porterhouse cut could cost up to $100.

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