Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "Is Romney rolling?," May 19, 2007

Slow going

Perhaps next time Christopher Croston will pick a quicker getaway vehicle. The UK burglar was convicted and sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison after robbing a Rolls Royce dealership. Police didn't have any problems catching Croston, because he didn't nab a Rolls for his getaway. Instead, Croston hopped in a slow-moving (and beeping) forklift and was stopped by police even before he left the premises. Authorities say alcohol was involved.

Flip this coin

In Canada, a few coins might make you a rich man. That is, if one of those coins is of Canada's new C$1 million variety. Weighing in at approximately 220 pounds, the solid-gold coin is worth over $900,000. The Royal Canadian Mint says it will only produce a limited quantity of the 21-inch by 1.2-inch coins that dwarf a normal pizza in size-hardly pocket change. Canadian officials say having the world's largest and most valuable legal tender is a matter of national pride.

A game they cannot win

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It's all fun and games until someone invites the female priests to play soccer. A group of Islamic imams balked at the idea of playing a friendly soccer game against a group of Christian priests when the imams learned the Christians had fielded a co-ed team. The match was to be a lighthearted ending to a days-long conference in Norway between Christians and Muslims to promote interfaith dialogue. Just before the event, the imams refused to play against the mixed-gender team of Christian priests because of Islamic beliefs on physical contact with women. In an act of conciliation, the Christians dumped their female players and played, anyway-a move quickly regretted after public outcry and a walkout by the priests' team captain.

Alarmingly fired

Rather than calling all 140 employees slated for firing into the office for individual terminations, managers of a struggling department store in the United Kingdom opted for a less tactful approach. The bosses of Robbs, a store in Northumberland, pulled the fire alarm to draw the entire work force into the parking lot. There a manager read a short statement delivering the en masse firing to stunned employees.

Long ride to nowhere

Mark it down as wasted days and wasted nights for George Hood, who spent over 80 hours on a stationary bike attempting to pedal his way into the Guinness Book of World Records. Hood's best guess is that he rode the bike for about 85 hours-more than enough to break the 82-hour world record for continuous stationary bike riding. But errors by Hood's record keepers prevented the Guinness staff from accepting his entry. Hood said that he was more frustrated than disappointed that his 1,000-mile ride didn't earn him ink in the record book. "If I'm going to go through all this training and work, I want to be published," said Hood, who notes he plans on attempting the ride again. "I won't be denied."

Bird-brained activists

Animal-rights activists who broke into a British aviary to free a number of birds from their alleged captivity clearly never saw this coming: Two of the freed birds soon died while the third returned quickly, perhaps recognizing it was poorly adapted to survive in the wild. Police say those who cut a hole in the birds' cage should have thought more about what they were doing: "The birds in the aviary are rescued birds and are unable to survive in the wild," one officer told the BBC. "Those responsible have not only committed criminal damage, but they have caused birds to die."

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