Dispatches > Quick Takes
Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Quick Takes

Oddball occurences

Issue: "Flame-outs," May 8, 2010

Bull fight

One Durham, Maine, teenager managed to survive a run-in with an 1,800-pound bull-and said he'll be getting the last laugh. Vinnie Huntington, 17, had been trying to round the bull and a steer into a pen on his family's farm on April 5 when the massive bull turned on him. "He turned around, he looked at me, and he just started running-and that was the worst part . . . because I knew I wasn't going to be able to do nothing," Huntington said. "The first time, he knocked me in the air and hit me in the back, and that's when I ran the other way and he hit me and I just went to the ground." Eventually Vinnie was able to get away, but not before suffering from a pair of dislocated shoulders and some puncture wounds from being gored. The Maine teen told a local TV station that the family has already killed the bull and also plans to eat the animal: "I'm going to enjoy it, too."

Eat wrong!

Government health officials in the United Kingdom want their citizens to stay away from junk food-with the exception of 2-year-old Zak Hessey. Parents Lisa and Paul Hessey took the child to a doctor when Zak began refusing to eat and dropped to 17 pounds. But when doctors and social workers ordered the Hesseys to begin feeding Zak junk food, his health-conscious parents refused. That's when nanny state officials took custody of Zak, placing him in foster care where substitute parents tried to force on him chips, cake, and chocolate. After four months, Zak had gained only one pound, and officials were forced to sheepishly admit that the Hesseys were, in fact, "good parents."

Time & money spent

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Confirming what husbands, sons, and boyfriends have suspected for years, an online market research firm called OnePoll.com found that the average woman spends 25,184 hours and 53 minutes-or nearly three years-shopping during an average lifetime. The staggering total breaks down to about 400 hours-nearly 17 full days-of shopping a year, with clothing edging out food as the most time-consuming shopping category, according to the survey.

Foamed over

It may look like an April snow hit Perranporth, Cornwall, but in fact it was something only a bit less dramatic-sea foam. In early April, powerful wind gusts stirred up an incoming tide into a froth that then blanketed the English town. The foam was reportedly up to three feet deep in some places. Said 77-year-old resident Gordon Blanks: "It is the first time in 15 years I have seen the foam as bad as this."

On the edge

Before opening his new exhibit titled "Event Horizons" in New York City, artist Antony Gormley said that he wanted the exhibit "to play with the city and people's perceptions." Mission accomplished. Gormley's exhibit, which opened March 26 and runs through Aug. 15, consists of 31 life-size statues of the artist perched along pathways, sidewalks, and building rooftops around Madison Square Park. But since the exhibit opened, some New Yorkers have perceived the statues on buildings as people preparing to jump, and they have called 911. "It's a waste of manpower," one policeman told the New York Post. "We're short of cops to begin with, and we don't have enough cops to waste answering calls of statues committing suicide."

Still singing

When Mervyn Salmon first joined the choir at St Cuthbert's Church in Wells, Somerset, King George VI was on the throne, Winston Churchill was prime minister, and Adolf Hitler stood towering over Europe. Salmon was 8 years old when he joined the church's choir in 1940, and in April he celebrated 70 years of serving there. He reportedly hasn't missed a service in those 70 years, except for when he served in the military in the Suez during 1956. He says that in the old days, 35 to 40 children sang in the choir, but not anymore: "One of my regrets is how choirs have changed," he told the BBC. "We've no youngsters in the choir now."

Animal games

Eight donkeys, two baskets, and one ball. Some Washington teens thought it would add up to a night of good clean fun. Animal-rights activists didn't agree. Seniors at Snohomish High School in Snohomish, Wash., have held Donkey basketball games for years to help raise money for a graduation party. The annual donkey basketball matchup pits a four-person faculty team against a four-person team of students. The rules are similar to basketball, except that participants must be riding on the back of a donkey during the game. "The donkeys are pushed, kicked, shoved, and prodded to do something that is unnatural for them and confusing," said PETA's David Schirk. But the donkeys' owner, Bruce Wick of Donkey Sports, says the animals don't mind at all: "When I back into the corral, they're all fighting to see who gets to go" to the game.

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