Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "Reinventing Hillary," Nov. 17, 2007

Hidden treasure

A German economics student learned an important lesson in the time value of money recently when a used sofa she purchased contained a hidden baroque masterpiece. When Ulrike Eisenhardt opened up the fold-out couch she purchased at a flea market she found an Italian painting from the 17th century wrapped in old rags. "I opened the sofa and there was a painting," she said. "I immediately knew it was valuable but I had no idea that I would get that much for it." At auction last month, the painting fetched about $28,000.

Open season

This just in from the Environmental Protection Agency: Squirrels near Ringwood, N.J., are once again safe to eat. In January, the agency warned locals not to eat the rodents after discovering a dead squirrel near a local toxic waste dump had lead contaminants in its system. After further tests, scientists at the EPA believe the lead came from a blender used to puree the squirrel meat for testing. The news comes as a relief for Ramapough Mountain Indians and an indeterminate number of New Jersey residents who enjoy squirrel meat.

Slow motion

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Don't make the mistake of calling it "rush hour" for one New York City bus. According to one transit advocacy group in New York, the city's M23 bus that operates on 23rd Street in Manhattan averages just 4 mph during the noon hour on weekdays. At that speed, bus patrons willing to hoof it could be able to beat the bus with a quick walk.

So sue me

It's clear the letter 9-year-old Shea O'Gorman received from Apple Computers was not the letter she expected. The third-grader sent a letter to Apple founder and president Steve Jobs months ago complimenting the computer maker for creating the iPod Nano-a product that Shea owns and loves. In the letter, the girl suggested Apple include a lyrics feature on new devices so she and her friends could sing along. The response came not from Jobs but from Apple's legal department-which said the company does not accept product suggestions. The strongly worded cease-and-desist letter came from Apple's chief legal counsel and, according to the girl's mother, sent Shea to her room crying.

Body bag

A German teen had to pack her bags extra tight when she was released from a youth prison in October. Besides personal effects, the 17-year-old packed away her 19-year-old friend and fellow inmate inside a large suitcase. German authorities have yet to catch the fugitive, who had less than two weeks before her parole date, or her teenage accomplice since they walked and rolled away from the correctional facility.

To the dogs

It was the next logical conclusion: Should they feel the need, upscale pet owners in Connecticut can now splurge on bottled water especially for dogs. Avery's Beverages of New Britain, Conn., released its so-called "Woof Water" at a Connecticut pet show with free tastes of the natural spring water sold by Avery for a dollar in half-liter bottles. The soda maker admits the bottled water isn't just for dogs; it's safe for humans too.

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