Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

"Quick Takes" Continued...

Issue: "Ethiopia's new flower," May 31, 2008

Left behind

One might think Philippe Quint would be more careful with his $4 million violin. The Grammy-nominated, Russian-born violinist left his 285-year-old Stradivarius in the back seat of a Newark, N.J., taxicab. One day later the driver, Mohamed Khalil, tracked Quint down to return the irreplaceable instrument. And to say thank you, Quint gave the driver a $100 reward and organized a half-hour concert for 200 cab drivers at Newark Liberty International Airport on May 8.

Yellow gold

Rising energy and food prices have created a new niche for blue-collar thieves. For years, companies like Griffin Industries, a Kentucky-based agricultural-waste recycler, have been collecting grease from restaurants and selling the cooking byproduct to makers of alternative fuels like biodiesel. As energy and food prices soar, demand for grease grows, too. As a tradable commodity, its price has tripled in the past three years. And so petty thieves are now pilfering fast-food joints to steal fry grease. One man, David Richardson of Illinois, was caught by police allegedly filling up his tanker truck with used oil at a Burger King in Morgan Hill, Calif. A full tank of grease could be worth $7,000 on the open market.

Missing a beat

The audience at the Musselburgh's Brunton Theatre in the United Kingdom couldn't tell, but actor Steve Dineen was slightly ahead of cue when he collapsed during the final scene of Abigail's Party. But his fellow actors knew that Dineen's character, Lawrence, wasn't supposed to collapse and die of a heart attack for a few more lines. Dineen's heart attack, it turned out, wasn't staged. Co-star Alice Selwyn quickly noticed Dineen wasn't acting and emerged from character to ask for a doctor. An ambulance arrived in time to take the veteran actor to the hospital, where he is recovering.


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