Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "Food fight," May 3, 2008

Lovebirds, jailbirds

It's not the honeymoon they planned. California newlyweds had their wedding reception crashed by cops when the Vallejo house party in their honor got out of hand. Police arrived to try to quiet down the party. When they came a second time, officers tasered and arrested the groom and his cousin who had become aggressive. The bride was also taken into custody on suspicion of public intoxication. Both spent their wedding night in jail.

Wild diet

A small-town Brit has a challenge for himself: Eat nothing but what he can forage for a year. Fergus Drennan, 36, says he'll still live at his Broad Oak home near Canterbury but will each day collect nuts and wild fruit in a 10-mile radius from his home. The wild foods chef has been using things like bark, wild herbs, and even non-poisonous flowers to create dishes with rice and pasta for years. But for the next year, he says he'll eat only what he collects by hand. "When you are hungry, you look harder and always find something to eat," he told the Daily Mail, noting he's not above using road kill for extra protein.

Turkeys gone wild

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Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night: But what does the U.S. Postal Service's unofficial motto have to say about wild turkeys? Mail carriers in one Madison, Wis., neighborhood are facing off against wild turkeys who are pecking and scratching at postal workers making their appointed rounds. Post Office manager Mara Wilhite says carriers have been attacked by the birds, including one that blitzed through an open door of a mail truck with talons cocked. Initially, squirts from water guns seemed to dissuade the big birds. But now the turkeys seem accustomed to even that. Eric Lobner with the state's Department of Natural Resources speculated the mating birds are attracted by the trucks' red, white, and blue coloring.

Britain's kaiser?

If British Prime Minister Gordon Brown gets his way, Parliament may well repeal the 307-year-old law that prohibits Catholics from inheriting the crown. Considered antiquated, the kingdom's ban on Catholic monarchs has lost popularity, but some scholars say its repeal may unleash unintended consequences. Among them: Franz Herzog von Bayern, a 74-year-old German aristocrat, could lay claim to the English crown. As a blood descendant of Charles I, the Duke of Bavaria, as Franz is known, is the rightful heir of the Stuart line should he seek the throne-something in which his friends say he has little interest.

For the birds

What was designed to be used as filler music leading up to a radio station's format change has now become an underground hit in the United Kingdom. About a half-million listeners have tuned into a British digital music station that plays only the sounds of birds chirping in a 20-minute loop. The station, known as Birdsong, is broadcasting 18 hours of continuous bird chirping until managers at DigitalOne can find a commercial broadcaster to take over the channel. Bob Sinfield hopes they don't. "I am quite a fan," he told the Telegraph. "I find it mightily relaxing. There's not enough genuine birdsong in our urban environment."

Cement Sox

A construction worker and Red Sox fan's attempt to put a curse on the New York Yankees may end up costing him more than his job. Supervisors at the construction project in New York unearthed a David Ortiz Boston Red Sox jersey placed in concrete underneath what will soon become the new Yankee Stadium. Within a week bidding for the No. 34 jersey on eBay reached $65,100-with proceeds to go to a Red Sox charity (or perhaps management will donate to the worker's legal fund).

Tiny bandits

It wasn't moth or rust, but something destroyed Dwarika Prasad's life savings. Turns out, it was termites that infested his bank's safe deposit box and ate through the paper money and investment notes the Northeast Indian man planned to use for his retirement. In all, Prasad lost more than $16,000-a sum he'll likely have trouble getting back from his bank. Authorities at the Central Bank of India say they aren't responsible, noting they did their job of keeping his belongings safe from human threats.

Park grazers

Authorities in the Italian town of Turin have ditched lawnmowers to keep public parks trim and turned to a woolly alternative. The city has hired out flocks of sheep to patrol the city parks in a budget move expected to save nearly $50,000 this year alone. For the two affected parks, the city brought in 700 sheep that they will fence into sections and rotate through the grassy areas. Last year, city officials decided on sheep over cattle when research indicated the cows would leave too much fertilizer behind.


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