Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "Signs and wonders," Jan. 26, 2008

Disney vs. kids

At first, it seems like Disney World would be the last place it would make sense for a restaurant to ban children under 10. But Victoria & Albert's general manager Israel Perez is banking on the idea that his swank restaurant's new kiddie-unfriendly policy will be just what Disney-weary adults crave. "We want to be the restaurant that's available for that adult experience," he said, drawing sharp distinctions between the restaurant's strict age and dress code and the Disneyfied outside world of T-shirts, mouse ears, and crying children. In an editorial, the Orlando Sentinel lauded Victoria & Albert's policy: "Think of how many more adults might be willing to pay that kind of money for a meal if they knew going in that they wouldn't have to suffer any loud, ill-mannered tots, as they may have earlier in the day at the Magic Kingdom."

Raining reptiles

If the weather outside was frightful in South Florida on Jan. 2, what landed on the ground was more scary. A cold snap in Key Biscayne, Fla., turned tree-dwelling iguanas into precipitation as the chilled reptiles fell from branches and piled up on sidewalks. "We have found dozens on the bike path,' Robert Yero, a local park manager, told WESH-TV. The iguanas aren't dead-they just appear so, said Yero. And once temperatures warmed, the reptiles simply revived and climbed back into trees to feed on vegetation.

High-dollar district

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Toronto's smallest house apparently makes a big impression. Not least of which is its price tag. The current owner of Toronto's "Little House" put it on the market with a list price of $172,000 for the 300-square-foot cottage on a piece of land the city forgot to use as a street lane. Owner David Blois bought the house to renovate and quickly sell it to take advantage of the local one-bedroom condo market. "It reminds people of a small cottage or what they may have seen in a storybook," he told the Reuters news service.

Treasure check

Collecting on a jackpot sounded good for a Norwich, Conn., man. But doing the right thing sounded better. An envelope Reggie Damone, a 47-year-old McDonald's employee, picked up while walking in December turned out not to be trash; it contained a check for $185,000. But instead of trying to cash the check, Damone, who receives food stamps, took the bus to the bank to return the check to a woman who had written it. For his honesty, the woman rewarded Damone with a $50 bill.

Alarmingly hot

If you want the specialty hot wings at Jake Melnick's Corner Tap in Chicago, you'd better bring a pen. The tavern owner says his Red Savina pepper wings are so hot, he's requiring patrons to sign a waiver promising not to sue for injuries. Along with wings and sauce fashioned from the habanero pepper, Melnick plans to serve the dish with an actual alarm bell-so that flame-mouthed customers can get spice retardants like sour cream and white bread should they be too scorched to ask for them.

Down but not out

This is a feat Alcides Moreno can only hope he never has to repeat. One month after surviving a 47-story fall from a New York City skyscraper on Dec. 7, doctors now say Moreno could actually make a full recovery. Moreno and his brother Edgar were washing windows outside an Upper East Side residential tower when the scaffold holding them broke and the pair plummeted 500 feet. Edgar landed on a fence and died instantly. Alcides, a naturalized citizen, broke more than 10 bones but miraculously survived after receiving 22 units of blood and undergoing multiple surgeries. Now doctors predict he will walk again, and, in perhaps a year's time, be fully recovered. "Thank God for the miracle we have," Moreno's wife and mother to his three children told the Newark Star-Ledger.

Socking it to workers

Workers in the UK's National Health System are none too pleased with an 8,000-word dress code proposed for the health agency running the largest heart and lung center in England. The plan would mandate-among many other things-that shoelaces match shoes and that socks be worn at all times. In an email to administrators obtained by the Daily Mail, one staffer balked at the revised dress code, calling it "soul-crushing, petty bureaucracy."

Losing proposition

A lead-footed Canadian teen picked the wrong person to coax into a street race: an undercover cop in an unmarked car. A spokesman for the Ontario Provincial Police said the teen pulled up to the undercover officer's Chevrolet Impala in the family's new Chrysler 300 and indicated he wanted to race. When the teen reached 100 mph, the officer pulled the young motorist over. "He was playing tough guy until he got stopped," a spokesman said. "Then he cried until his parents got there."

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