Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "States' rights," Oct. 27, 2007

All for "not"

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes the baby carriage. In Arkansas, you could make that a two-seater if the parents consent. A typo discovered in a recent Arkansas law reveals that the Natural State now allows children of any age to marry so long as the parents consent. Lawmakers intended to raise Arkansas' age of marriage consent to 18, and to make make an exception for teen girls who were pregnant. But a misplaced "not" found its way into the law: allowing a "person who is younger than eighteen (18) years of age and who is not pregnant to obtain a marriage license." Lawmakers may ask the governor to call a special session to repeal the law.

Underwear outings

All it took for a New Zealand town to adopt a public bus route to the nearest big city was some dirty underwear. Inglewood, New Zealand, made news a year ago when the town's only clothing shop stopped selling women's underwear. The local Catholic church had organized weekly runs to New Plymouth, but now government officials have stepped up, offering a weekly 20-minute shuttle to the coastal city beginning Nov. 1. A local council official said the government would help pay for the trips "to ensure people were really serious about buying those new knickers-and anything else that might take their fancy."

Name dropper

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Delaware resident Robinson Rivera needed something to write on while attempting a robbery trifecta near his home in New Castle. What he chose landed him in trouble. On Sept. 30, police say the 25-year-old Rivera knocked off a pair of convenience stores before holding up an Exxon station in Wilmington after midnight. Police say Rivera left his handwritten note demanding cash at the gas station after committing the crime. Problem: The note was written on the back of a pay stub from a bakery where Rivera had worked for a week before trying his hand at larceny.

Buying votes

Wannabe teenage beauty queen Chelsea Gledhill might have been proud to finish in the top five of the Miss Teen Queen UK contest-had she not rigged the voting at an exorbitant cost. The British teen submitted her picture to the online beauty contest and then proceeded to log almost all of the 1,972 votes she received via text messaging. What she did not know: With each text vote came a fee. When her mother received the bill in the mail, Chelsea had run up a nearly $2,400 bill. For her efforts, Chelsea won about $200 worth of makeup as a consolation prize.

The real thing

The legendary rivalry between Coke and Pepsi took a physical turn when a Pepsi deliveryman allegedly punched his Coke counterpart in the face at a western Pennsylvania Wal-Mart, state police said. The two deliverymen were "apparently bickering back and forth" while unloading their wares at the Indiana County store. When the Coke deliveryman left the store, his counterpart allegedly punched him in the face three times, breaking his nose and giving him a black eye. Police called the incident a misdemeanor simple assault.

Hunger strike

Whatever the University of Kentucky did to offend local squirrels, it may want to reconsider. School officials blamed a rogue squirrel for its latest power outage on campus. Kentucky's Oct. 11 blackout was the third this semester alone attributed to a suicidal squirrel gnawing through wires. University officials say they are only in stage one of developing a plan to deal with their rodent problem.

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