Dispatches > Quick Takes
Krieg Barrie/WORLD

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "Save our cities," April 19, 2008

Don't mess with KFC

Wrong place, wrong grandma. Police say Joshua G. Crowley was robbing a KFC in Camas, Wash., when Mary Chamberlain, grandmother of 12, saw him making a getaway. The 67-year-old spotted the suspect darting out of the fast-food restaurant with an employee yelling after him. Rather than phoning authorities, Chamberlain started after him in her vehicle. After she chased him into a neighborhood, Crowley apparently ran into a yard and attempted to climb a fence. The retired woman jumped from her car and confronted the man. "I pulled him off the fence," she said. "He didn't swing at me. I just told him, 'Just give it up. You haven't got a chance.' I had my arm around his neck, and I was going to try and bring his arm up behind him. It looks easy on TV. Believe me, it's not." Chamberlain said she was spurred into action out of a need to defend her turf. "You're messing with one of my favorite places," she said of the fast-food chicken spot.

Worth the paper it's printed on

Ron Borgna is sending Binghamton, N.Y., a two-fold response: Here's your money. And here's what I think it's good for. Borgna took in a check to city offices of more than $2,500 on March 26 for a disputed water bill, but the city didn't accept it. Borgna wrote the check on floral, two-ply toilet paper. The local newspaper reported that the New York man was escorted out of the building after an argument over both the bill and the validity of his check.

Once bitten...

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Andy Bacas carried an extra passenger home with him from his team trip to North Carolina with the Yorktown High School (Arlington, Va.) rowing team: a juvenile rattlesnake. When Bacas arrived home and reached his hand into his luggage, a nearly one-foot-long canebrake rattlesnake struck him. The small snake didn't carry the full venomous load of its adult counterparts, but canebrakes pack a whallop. Bacas quickly closed the bag back up and phoned 911. A firefighter chemically blasted the stowaway snake with a fire extinguisher rather than coaxing it out of the bag. For his part, Bacas spent one night in the hospital.

Smell you later

Farina, Ill., resident Dominique Durbin's love affair with the skunk began when his brother from Indiana gave him a baby skunk for a wedding gift. But whereas skunks are legal to keep in the Hoosier State, across the border in Illinois the animals are seen as a rabies hazard and outlawed. Most people would stick up their nose at the idea of keeping a pet skunk to begin with. Or hold their nose. But Durbin says otherwise. "Once you have the animal descented, which is a noninvasive procedure done early in the animal's life, having one is a complete joy," Durbin told the Effingham Daily News. "It's like a cross between a house cat and a calm monkey." Durbin has appealed to his state legislator for help in rescinding the Illinois law, saying the incidence of rabies in skunks is now quite low. Durbin's representative, Republican lawmaker Ron Stephens, told the paper, "I am keeping an open mind, but I will come down on the side of reason."

British betrayal

A foreign national fighting in the British army said he's "gob smacked" that the government in the United Kingdom has denied him citizenship on a technicality. According to English law, when Rogers Jean-Baptiste of St. Lucia applied for citizenship on Jan. 17 this year, he forgot one thing: British naturalization law requires a person to have been in the U.K. five years earlier on the same day. On Jan. 17, 2003, Jean-Baptiste was deployed at a British army base in Germany. The Home Office in London says that doesn't count and that Jean-Baptiste, who served a pair of tours in Iraq for the army, may apply again in 2011 if he wishes. He may not. "It's a waste of my time and of everything I fought for," he told the BBC. "It's a betrayal."

Part-time pets

For cat lovers who have always wanted the kitty but not the caboodle, one burgeoning business in Japan promises to make every day "Caturday." Cat cafés have sprung up in and around Tokyo recently, giving patrons a chance to sip bubble tea and play with one of the café's cats. At Calico, a cat café in western Tokyo, customers pay $8 plus the cost of drinks to sit and play with their very own cat for an hour. One plus for the cat café business: Many apartments in the area don't allow pets.

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