Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "Safe haven," Sept. 15, 2007

Grandma muscle

Even a grandma can probably bench press more than you. The common gym taunt might make sense if the grandmother is Mary Miller of Zionsville, Ind. The lightweight 65-year-old hoisted 115.5 pounds in a bench press competition in Lansing, Mich.-that's a standard bar plus two 35-pound plates and some change. The lift was good enough to set a world record with the World Association of Bench Pressers and Dead Lifters for her age and weight class. "I want to inspire other women," said the grandmother of five. "I don't do this to set world records. I do it because it makes me feel better." She says she'll try to bench 120 pounds at the World Championships in Anaheim, Calif., in November.

Triple double

After delivering triplets in 2003, Cincinnati mom Victoria Lasita and her husband Tim decided to try for just one more child. On Aug. 29, they got three. Again. Both sets of triplets were conceived naturally. "Holy smokes. Do you know what the odds of that are?" said Dr. Glen E. Hoffman of the Bethesda Center for Reproductive Health and Fertility. According to the medical director of the Institute for Reproductive Health in Cincinnati, the odds stand at one in 64 million for delivering two sets of naturally conceived triplets.

Factory disincentive

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Calgary resident Ken Wang thought he'd found a way to save about $20,000 on a new car-until he ran into a deal breaker. With the Canadian dollar trading strong against the U.S. dollar, Wang figured he could drive to a dealership in Washington state, trade in his Buick, and broker a deal for a new Lexus at a significant savings from what he would have to pay in Canada. But when he proposed the deal to an American dealership, a salesman told him the dealership wouldn't sell to Canadians. Dealers say they're not being prejudicial: It's just part of an agreement with the factory in order to preserve the Canadian car market.

Deadly view

The view from Manfred Sedlazek's home in a northern German village seemed nice enough. That is, until cars began careening into his living room. In all, 10 vehicles have skidded off the road outside and crashed into his home. Last month one driver lost control at a bend near Sedlazek's home and wound up half in the living room of the two-story red brick home, causing about $136,000 worth of damage. "If we stay, someone's eventually going to kill us," the 59-year-old told the Reuters news service. "We're living in a time bomb."

Fat Fido

A study commissioned by a pet insurer in the United Kingdom found 34 percent of British dogs to be obese; perhaps only 5 percent of American dogs are similarly fat. The problem? Poor diet and a lack of exercise. "As a nation we are less inclined to take long walks, so our dogs get much less exercise," said Britain's Elaine Pendlebury, a senior veterinarian with a pet health and welfare charity. "But little treats are usually at the root of the problem. The high-fat, high-sugar foods that people often throw to dogs-bits of ham, digestive biscuits, crisps-just aren't suitable." Earlier this year, the pharmaceutical company Pfizer introduced Slentrol, a weight loss drug for dogs.

Going away present

Former presidential advisor Karl Rove only thought he could escape the wrath of the White House. After he announced that he would leave the Bush administration on Aug. 31, he went away to Texas with the president-and while he was gone, White House staffers wrapped his new Jaguar in plastic wrap. Rove returned to find his new ride packaged and marked with an "I love Barack Obama" bumper sticker.


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