Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "'Infidel'," March 3, 2007

Superhero sighting

Holy overreaction, Batman! One Scottsdale, Ariz., middle school shut down after a student reported seeing Batman run across campus, jump a fence, and disappear into the desert. As a result, school officials put three local schools on lock-down and police helicopters tried in vain to find whatever the student saw (apparently not knowing that if it really was Batman, no police helicopter would ever find him). School spokeswoman Nedda Shafir blamed the overreaction on the geography: "We're in an area where we're in a desert, and we have to take these reports seriously."

Special delivery

It's a good thing Rebecca Johnson wasn't wearing a skirt. The 24-year-old's baby came so quickly, she didn't even have time to make it into the hospital in Connellsville, Pa. Instead, she told a reporter for the Daily Courier, "I didn't know what happened until he was in my pant leg." Despite being born down his mom's pants, doctors said the 5-pound, 15-ounce baby was healthy.

Mistaken identity

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Kudos to the Santa Cruz, Calif., sheriff's department for recovering an important and expensive piece of public art that was heisted from the area's Triangle Park in November. A deputy found the copper origami crane, which had once presided on top of the park's Peace Pyramid, in a black trash bag in the middle of a street. But after the deputy booked the sculpture into the police evidence room, someone tossed it out with the trash. "Somebody thought it was garbage," sheriff's Sgt. Fred Plageman said, noting that the sculpture probably rests under a few tons of garbage at the county dump. But they were wrong: It was modern art.

Flying high

Thirsty NASCAR fans were left high and dry during an in-flight mishap on AirTran's inaugural flight from Baltimore to Daytona Beach, Fla., leading up to the Daytona 500 race. The problem? AirTran underestimated their NASCAR fan customers and failed to bring enough beer for the morning flight. "Then, they ran out of vodka, too," said Andy Dawson, who like other customers began imbibing soon after the plane took off at 8 a.m. "I guess all of us race fans drank the plane dry."

Fire up the engine

Memo from Canadian law enforcement to citizens of Sarnia, Ont.: Leave the MacGyver antics to syndicated television. Officers ticketed a 53-year-old Sarnia man with operating an unsafe motor vehicle after he jury-rigged a propane tank from a barbeque grill to his engine block. "It was connected to the car's engine with a rubber hose, apparently to the fuel-injection system," said a law enforcement spokesman. "It's not the way to power your car."

Road warriors

In an attempt to kill two birds with one stone, Malaysian government officials are trying to curb the nation's purse-snatching epidemic while giving biker gangs something better to do than illegal drag racing. Officials have proposed a deal by which bikers would receive a new motorcycle after catching 30 purse-snatchers. Malaysian officials say they aren't certain it will work, but figure it can't hurt.


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