Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "NextGen worship," July 26, 2008

Beer bash

Lynne Rice wanted a six-pack of Budweiser, and no mere car crash was going to stop her from getting it. The 74-year-old crashed her 1988 Cadillac directly into Joe's Food Mart in Norwalk, Calif., on June 29. Police say that after Rice plowed into the front window of the store at about 6 p.m., she went to the beer cooler, picked out a six-pack of Bud, and walked it over to the counter. The store attendant alleges she tried to push him when he wouldn't sell her the suds. Instead the clerk phoned police, who arrested her on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Fine fuel

Forget fast-food waste or kitchen grease: Real aristocrats use wine to make their biofuels. Britain's Prince Charles recently jumped on the biofuels bandwagon, converting his seldom-used 1960 Aston Martin DB6 to a biofuel system that allows him to run his classic convertible on wine rather than gasoline. "Charles only [travels] two or three hundred miles a year in the Aston but he wanted it to be environmentally friendly," an aide told the Daily Mail. The prince gets his wine from an English vintner who would otherwise have to destroy any wine produced above the European Union quota. Charles' switch to a biofuel may curb a smidgen of carbon dioxide emissions, but it likely won't save him much money: The wine costs only slightly less than the gasoline he'd buy for his classic.

Building boom

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After 158 years, there finally may be a new kid in town. The Connecticut Historic District Commission approved plans in July for the construction of a new house in the Liberty Green Historic District in Clinton, Conn., for the first time since 1850. Only six houses built between 1720 and 1850 still stand on the block-long protected section of Liberty Street in Clinton. The commission set out stringent guidelines for any new construction-all of which builder Lou Campanaro seems to have fulfilled in his plans.

Milky way

More spilt milk to cry over? Sam's Club and a few other grocery chains are switching to a boxier, more economical shape of milk jug that is designed to make the ubiquitous one-gallon milk container obsolete. "We're estimating it could be up to 11,000 trucks we're reducing on the road this year," Sam's Club marketing manager Daniel Book told CBS News. But customers trying out the new squared jugs have one complaint: The lack of a nozzle makes the milk harder to pour and easier to spill.

Birds of privilege

Authorities in an East Sussex town in the United Kingdom have a problem larger than just swans that are persistently rambling across roads and stopping traffic for the past few weeks. The real problem is the swans' owner. By 16th-century British law, all wild swans in England are property of the crown and cannot be touched. Because of the law, authorities cannot simply pick up the small wandering family of swans that has come to frequent the town of Langney and put them aside. Instead, police officers have been dispatched to stop traffic to allow safe passage for the birds, in compliance with the 432-year-old law.

No left turn

High gas prices aren't forcing UPS off the roadways. They're just forcing the company's drivers to the right side of the road. According to executives at the international package delivery service, computer mapping software and traffic modeling has led them to conclude that delivery drivers should avoid making left turns. By mapping out routes that aim for only right-hand turns, the company saved 3.3 million gallons of gasoline in 2007. According to UPS research, drivers waste time and gas idling while waiting for left-hand turn signals. Even with the more circuitous path, the company estimates that it saved more than $9 million in 2007.

Texas-sized 'mark'

To fulfill his dream of erecting a pair of 200-foot-tall crosses book-ending the city of Houston, Pastor Steve Riggle of Grace Community Church will have to gain approval from a higher authority: the Federal Aviation Administration. Because of the hazard a 200-foot structure might pose to air traffic, Riggle would need FAA approval to go ahead with his plan. Even if the agency disapproves, the nondenominational megachurch pastor said he would settle for 150-foot crosses that would not require consultation from the FAA. "This will mark our city for God. If this doesn't work, nothing else will work," he told Houston Community Newspapers. Riggle hopes that like immigrants passing by the symbolic Statue of Liberty on their way to Ellis Island, motorists will be similarly moved by huge crosses as they drive into the northern or southern ends of the city.

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