Dispatches > Quick Takes
Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "Homegrown terror," Dec. 5, 2009

Mistaken identity

Robbers who broke into a Toledo, Ohio, jewelry store on Nov. 13 must have thought they hit the jackpot as they took off with gold rings that appeared to be worth thousands of dollars. What they really took, however, were brass rings-display samples made to look like gold rings locked away elsewhere. The estimated worth of the brass rings, according to store owner Henry Triplett: 25 cents.

Saucy secret

The secret couldn't have stayed bottled up forever. The daughter of a former Lea & Perrins employee says her father stumbled upon an original recipe of the famed Worchestershire Sauce a few years ago when he discovered one version accidentally pitched into the dumpster at a Lea & Perrins facility in Worcester, U.K. Now, Brian Keogh's daughter, Bonnie Clifford, is having the note with the recipe tested to see if the recipe dates to the mid-19th century as many believe. The British company first commercialized the zingy sauce in 1837 and company tradition indicates no single person has known the entire recipe.

Awash in beer

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It's not quite like St. Brigid's Prayer that famously pines for a "Lake of Beer," but it's not far off. One spa in Austria has filled up three 5,000-gallon swimming pools with beer for customers to soak in. The owner claims the pools of beer, which total 42,000 pints each, can help bathers with skin and circulation problems. "These pools really can help some health problems," spa bartender Markus Amann said. "But if they don't work for you, you'll probably have drunk enough not to care about it anymore."

Record race

If nothing else, organizers of a charity run in Denver now have a record under their belt. Guinness World Records will review the run, but it appears that the Oct. 31 Denver Gorilla Run will work itself into the record book for organizing the most people into gorilla costumes at one time. More than 1,000 people showed up to run the 3.5-mile course in gorilla costumes and help raise money for the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund.

Disorderly order

Employees at a McDonald's in Utah took a dim view of a group of teenagers emulating what they'd seen on a fast-food commercial. According to police, four boys pulled into the drive-thru lane at an American Fork, Utah, McDonald's and began rapping their order to the attendant, mimicking a popular Taco Bell commercial. Clearly misunderstanding, the employee asked the rapping teenagers to repeat their order. The teens complied, but again rhymed their way through the order. They were asked to leave and then were stopped and cited by local police for disorderly conduct.

Holiday diet

With a little diet and exercise, experts in Edmonton, Alberta, feel confident they can help Lucy shed 1,000 pounds. That's because Lucy's a 34-year-old Asian elephant for whom a half-ton only represents about 11 percent of her jumbo-sized body. Currently Lucy, who has lived at the Edmonton Zoo for 33 of her 34 years, tips the scales at 9,360 pounds. But zookeepers say she'll need to drop weight to help her breathing and arthritis. The experts' plan? They'll be exercising the elephant more often and will be cutting her carbohydrates by scaling back her fruit intake.

Riding in style

You wouldn't know it by looking, but when Lan Yin Tsai jumps on a bicycle, she means business. The 84-year-old recently completed her 26th riding of an annual 150-mile charity bike race in New Jersey. Her age-and her attire-make her an unlikely regular at the City to Shore bike race to raise money for multiple sclerosis research. In late September, the octogenarian donned her green turtleneck dress and her high heels and climbed aboard her purple one-speed for another 150-mile bike trek with competitors less than half her age. Tsai said her formal apparel is simply how she learned to pump the pedals in her native Taiwan. "I went to church, so I always dressed up and would ride my bicycle," she told CNN. "So that's why I do it that way-I do it that way naturally. That's the way I ride my bike."

Age defiance

Clearly Ahmed Mohamed Dhore doesn't subscribe to the half-your-age-plus-seven rule. If he did, his new bride would be 46 years too young. The Somalian man claims to be 112 years old. His new wife is 17. "My wife is 10 times younger than me but we love each other so much and I believe that I can give her the kind of love that not any young man can offer," Dhore told the AFP news service. Hundreds attended the Oct. 28 wedding-Dhore's sixth wedding but first in nearly 75 years. Dhore's age claim is unconfirmed. Life expectancy of men in the war-torn Islamic nation is 47 years.

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