Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "Survivors," Sept. 29, 2007

Cruel and unusual?

A Colorado judge knows just where to hit noise ordinance violators: right in the ears. When a violator of the Ft. Lupton, Colo., noise ordinance is found guilty in Judge Paul Sacco's courtroom, the perp is sentenced to a full hour of Barry Manilow and friends. The violators, who are often convicted of turning up their hip-hop music too loud, serve their sentence in Sacco's courtroom as he blares a loop of Manilow, Dolly Parton ("I Will Always Love You"), and Karen Carpenter through a boombox for an hour. "When you have a person playing rap at extreme volumes all over the city, and they have to sit down and listen for an hour to Barry Manilow, it's horrible punishment," Sacco told CBS 4 in Denver. The city sees very few repeat violators.

Arms control

This machine won't just crush your pride. It may crush your bones. A game maker in Japan said it will remove all 150 mechanized arm wrestling machines that pit the strength of arcade patrons against brute robot force after a number of players broke their arms. A spokesman for makers of the "Arm Spirit" defended the product, saying the three injured contestants probably got hurt through an unnatural twisting of their wrists or forearms. "The machine isn't that strong, much less so than a muscular man," the spokesman said. "Even women should be able to beat it."

Very senior year

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Nearly four decades after his college football career was cut short by his short temper, 59-year-old Mike Flynt's plans for returning to the college gridiron are still on hold. With one year of eligibility left after being cut prior to his senior year at Sul Ross State University in 1971 for fighting, Flynt re-enrolled in the school for his senior year with the intent of finally finishing his collegiate football career on his own terms. Injuries kept Flynt, an AARP-member, a grandfather, and hard-core gym rat, from suiting up for the first two games. He dressed for the third on Sept. 15, but saw no action for the Division III team. Not everyone thinks it's a great decision. "I told him he's an idiot," said Jerry Larned, his former coach at Sul Ross in 1969. "I said, 'Gosh, dang, Mike, you're not 20 years old anymore. You're liable to cripple yourself.'"

Miami vice

So foul the stench, so grating the cackle, the free-range urban chickens of Miami seem to have worn out their welcome with neighbors. Roaming chickens became a feature of many neighborhoods as populations of Caribbean and Latino immigrants swelled. Now, after years of complaints, city officials are taking action. A squad of off-duty city firefighters and code enforcers patrols through Miami barrios with explicit instructions to capture the foul fowl. Since 2003, the group has captured around 8,000 chickens, selling them to area farms and giving the proceeds to charity. And while the birds may be difficult to scoop up, they're not hard to find. "Mostly because of the noise they make," one on the squad told ABC News. "The cackling, pretty much all day long."

Quick learner

An 18-year-old motorcycle racer began a race as a Czech, but ended his day as an Englishman. After an accident left him unconscious for 45 minutes, young racer Matej Kus stunned emergency workers by awakening and speaking perfect English. A teammate noted Kus had been trying to learn English, but thus far had only a vague understanding of the language. According to his friends, when Kus awoke, he sounded like a BBC broadcaster. But as his memory returned, his ability to speak English faded.


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