Dispatches > Quick Takes
Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Quick Takes

Issue: "Finding their way," Oct. 8, 2011

Not-so-silent treatment

If she lost her boyfriend, it wasn't because she wasn't persistent. A court in the Netherlands banned a 42-year-old Dutch woman from ever calling her ex-boyfriend again after the 62-year-old showed authorities that the woman had called him more than 65,000 times in the past year. The woman, unidentified by the court, did not dispute the number of phone calls placed to her ex-mate but argued that the average of nearly 180 calls per day was not excessive.

Saint with paint

A Bozeman, Mont., couple say they are thankful that whoever stole their statue of Francis of Assisi in early August returned it a few days later. What they aren't thankful for: the makeover the bandit performed on their statue. Harold and Mary Jo Paul say the thief or thieves who stole their 50-pound statue of Francis painted rouge on his cheeks and gave him green eye shadow and gold colored sandals. Mary Jo Paul said the statue also came back with a glittering green robe and yellow fingernail and toenail polish. She told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that although she laughed upon first seeing her returned statue, she's not happy with it: "I call it shock and awful."

Neighborhood watch

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No longer consumed with the space shuttle program, NASA has turned its attention elsewhere. The American space agency says it is working on a proposed no-fly zone on the moon to try to prevent visitors from sullying up historic NASA landing sites there. NASA says it would like for all future moon missions undertaken by nations or by private citizens to steer clear of the landing sites of Apollo 11 and 17. Although lack of moon ownership means the no-fly zones are non-binding, NASA hopes future moon visitors will respect the historical sites.

The force was not with him

A Scottish man hoped that his Darth Vader mask would help him evade identification during a robbery last November, but he apparently underestimated the power of the police investigators. The 39-year-old Francis Anderson, whom a court convicted and sentenced in September to more than five years in prison for the robbery, held up a Kilmarnock gas station with a gun. And though the Star Wars mask concealed his identity, local police received a tip and caught him with the loot and the mask. While walking out of the courtroom after sentencing, Anderson told the judge, "Thank you my lord for nothing."

Crazy driver

What do you do when you have a spare F-4 fighter jet engine lying around the workshop? If you're Paul Stender of Big Bend, Wis., you rig it up to a school bus and go for a drive. "We had a F-4 engine laying around, which is a 21,000 pound thrust, 42,000 horse power engine, and just built a school bus around it," Stender said. Once finished, he got a chance to test the upper limits of the vehicle's speed. "This son of a gun was like veering off to the left of the runway. I thought for sure we were going over the edge and they said we went 320 miles per hour and it was crazy," Stender said. "You could feel, like, hotness on your back from the jet engine. ... Man, it was awesome."

Bust to bid

If there's any upside to the extraordinarily depressed housing market in Detroit, landlord Jeffrey Cusimano may have found it. Wayne County officials reportedly seized seven of his rental properties due to a failure to pay $131,000 in back taxes. According to the Detroit News, the county put one of those properties up for auction and sold it to a bidder for $1,051. The bidder? Cusimano, who had owed $26,000 in taxes and unpaid water bills on the property.

Because of state laws, many Detroit property owners are allowing their properties to slip into tax foreclosure and then purchasing them back-sometimes for as little as the $500 opening bid-because the demand for city properties is so low. According to research by the Detroit News, original owners or their proxies bought 200 of the 3,800 properties sold at auction by Wayne County. Cusimano told the paper he blamed the county's property tax policy, which often requires him to pay more in taxes yearly than the total value of the home.

Lonely islanders

According to a Match.com survey, 94 percent of New Yorkers on the matchmaking site said they had no problem with dating a single from any of New York's boroughs-except if the potential date is from Staten Island. Manhattanites indicated they would be just fine with dating someone from the Bronx or Queens, but only 8 percent say they would be willing to date someone from Staten Island.

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