Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "A mighty fortress is our sect," Oct. 20, 2007

Food fight

British grandmother Tracey Wenn says she was just messing around when she stabbed (accidentally) her boyfriend in the leg with a utensil after he made off with leftovers in the fridge she had set aside for herself. In court testimony, Wenn's companion Anthony Donkin reported that Wenn was drunk and only meant to poke him when she blurted out, "Eat my pork, feel my fork"-a line from a popular television commercial in the Isles. But police in Great Britain took a dim view of the incident, charging Wenn with wounding her beau and giving her a nine-month suspended sentence.

Halting messages

If motorists in the Chicago suburb Oak Lawn won't stop at intersections out of obedience, perhaps they will for a laugh. Or so says Mayor Dave Heilmann, who instructed city workers to tack pithy sayings onto stop signs below the word "STOP." Some of the lower signs read, "in the naame of love," and "right there pilgrim." Diana Ross and John Wayne references aside, Heilmann says he hopes the unusual signage coaxes motorists into actually stopping behind the sign-if only to read it.

Heavy haul

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It wasn't 39-year-old Clive Halford's criminal skills that let him down. It was his greed. In court this month, Halford pleaded guilty to an attempted heist near Birmingham, UK, in which he tried to make away with 18 pallets of copper and nickel from a metal wholesaler. But when Halford attempted to make his getaway in a stolen dump truck, he found the weight of the metals-valued at over $300,000-proved too much for the 8-ton truck. Police became suspicious of Halford when they saw him slowly driving down a street while the truck scraped along with broken suspension.

Not funny

Ethiopian national Ermiyaf A. Asfaw has much to learn about American etiquette. Lesson one: Don't joke about being a member of al-Qaeda to an airport employee. When asked by a Logan International Airport employee whether his trip to Boston had been for work or pleasure, Asfaw responded, "No. I'm al-Qaeda. I'm with them, and I'm here to blow things up." Asfaw had been visiting his girlfriend. Airport authorities arrested the man and police charged him with making a false bomb threat.

Play nice

The Vatican wants to bring morality to soccer, but can it make AC Ancona a winner? Reports spread in early October that the Vatican's Conference of Bishops bought a controlling interest in an Italian soccer club that plays in one of the country's professional leagues. Catholic officials were up front about their motives: "It is a way to moralize football, to bring some ethics to a sector that is going through a deep crisis of values," said Ancona Archbishop Edoardo Menichelli. The Vatican plans on banning taunting and rude gestures by both players and fans.

There goes the neighborhood

Residents of a retirement community in Santa Fe, N.M., have an odd problem: With about half the community's properties up for grabs, too many heterosexuals are moving in. Some homeowners in RainbowVision, a gay-oriented retirement community, say they don't like the increasing number of straight couples moving into the neighborhood. "It does not matter how friendly they are," said 77-year-old gay resident Roger Bergstrom, sounding a bit like the stereotypical homophobe he fears will move in. "If straight people are in the majority, it's different. It's not what we came here for."

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