Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "Don't run, Newt," April 14, 2007

No fare

So a lady climbs into a cab in Beverly Hills and says, "Turn right on I-40 and go about 2,600 miles." That's what happened this week to cabbie Levon Mikayelyan, who ended up being stiffed the $8,200 cross-country fare. "She told him, 'When we get there we'll pay you,'" said a dispatcher for West Coast Yellow Cab. But when they finally rolled into Chapel Hill, N.C., the woman's family coughed up only $800. After Mikayelyan filed a report with police, another $2,000 was forked over. The cab company will seek the rest in small claims court.

Silent screamer

The ride is called "The Scandia Screamer," but guess what you're not allowed to do? Fearing more noise complaints from residents around the Scandia Family Fun Center in Sacramento, Calif., the amusement park enacted a strict no-noise rule on its 60-mph and 3.5 g-pulling Screamer ride. Problems between the park and the residential neighborhood it's nestled in have always percolated. But the noise problem is one that many riders find hard to stomach. "I didn't think we were that loud," one rider who was ejected told a local television station. "It's hard to tell. It's a human reaction to yell when you're going in the sky, face-down on the freeway."

Online ditch

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According to a California researcher-and countless heartbroken high-schoolers-teenagers' choice for breaking up isn't a phone call or an in-person conversation. It's MySpace. University of California Ph.D. student Danah Boyd says breaking up through social networking websites like MySpace or Facebook is quickly becoming the standard. "By breaking up through MySpace comments, the heartbreaker is attempting to assert their view for everyone else to see so they cannot be accused of saying something else in private," she wrote. But lest the heartbreakers think they can get away clean by simply blocking the scorned friends from viewing and posting on their profiles, Boyd says those rejected are likely to seek revenge on their exes via other friends' comment sections.

Warming profits

Now unencumbered by the melting ice, Canada and Denmark are speeding north with warships and flags to reap the bounty of a supposed global warming crisis leaders of both nations speak about so often. One target: Hans Island, a hard-to-find and unclaimed piece of frozen real estate that, if thawed, could yield a fishing and oil exploration base. Control of Hans Island would give any nation a leg up on control of a Northwest Passage should the Arctic be passable for even a few months a year.

Kimberly and the code

At 3 1/2 years old, Kimberly Broffman could have been the star of the Tampa, Fla., retirement community where she lives with her grandmother. But instead of being doted on by dozens of grandparents, members of the Lakes homeowners association have filed a lawsuit against Judie and Jimmy Stottler to have the toddler removed from the community. Kimberly moved there after the grandparents intervened to take her away from her drug-addicted mother, their daughter. Having Kimberly live at the Lakes certainly violates the rules. But Judie Stottler says they've been trying to sell their house and haven't found any takers.

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