Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Name droppers

Readers thumbing through pages of the alternative weekly Washington City Paper for coverage of the NFL’s Washington Redskins may be confused in the weeks to come. Nodding to Native American groups that object to the term as racially insensitive, the newspaper announced it would drop all references to “Redskins” in its pages and announced a reader contest to rename the team. The City Paper position resembles the long-time editorial stance of the Kansas City Star, which for years has instructed reporters to refrain from using the Redskins moniker. After City Paper announced it would drop the reference, Star public editor Derek Donovan defended his paper’s position. “I remain unconvinced by every argument I’ve ever heard that the name is not a racial epithet, plain and simple,” Donovan wrote. Donovan’s paper does reference its hometown NFL team as the “Chiefs,” but team officials have noted the club is named for former Mayor Harold “Chief” Bartle.

Bike lite

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An Israeli inventor believes he is about to change transportation forever. Izhar Gafni says he’s perfected plans to create the world’s first mass-produced cardboard bicycle. Made without the use of metals and using cardboard except for recycled rubber for tires and car timing belts in place of chains, Gafni says his cardboard bicycle will be so cheap to make, he can practically give it away for free. Gafni’s business partner, Nimrod Elmish, insists that since their bicycle uses “green” building materials, government grants and rebates would effectively bring production cost of the bicycle to zero. Gafni said that if consumers believe the cardboard bike is rugged and safe, it could become popular in many third-world countries.

Right at home

The intruder that broke into Ron Philipose’s home in Northeast Philadelphia weighed 300 pounds, left a trail of broken glass and blood, and, when confronted by police, refused to leave. Philipose, his wife, and their 2-week-old son were not home at the time of the break-in, but NBC Philadelphia reports that police received a call reporting sounds of breaking glass in the house. When police arrived, they found the floor of the house covered in glass and blood, and in a back room the intruder: a large deer that had broken a fence and a window to get into the house. Police were unable to get the animal out of the house, and wildlife officials ultimately euthanized the deer.

Foot soldier

At first glance, Keith Levasseur’s Baltimore Marathon time of 2:46:58 doesn’t seem all that impressive. But consider Levasseur’s feet before judging his feat. Sure Levasseur only finished 29th in the Oct. 13 race, but he did so wearing flip-flops rather than running shoes. The 34-year-old former Marine, who noted that his feet and quadriceps were extra sore after the race, said he ran the race in sandals in order to earn a spot in Guinness World Records for an entry entitled, “fastest marathon completed in flip-flops.”

Psychic doubts

If there’s one thing the Psychic Friends Network ought to be certain of—but isn’t—it’s the future of the company. In documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, PSN, a publicly-traded company famous for featuring Dionne Warwick in its infomercials, announced that it is hoping to earn $64 million in revenue for the 2015 fiscal year. But there’s a caveat: “Undue reliance should not be placed on the forward-looking statements,” it says, “because PFN can give no assurance that they will prove to be correct.”

French dip

It likely will never be built, but if one French design firm has its way, crossing the Seine River in Paris will become a lot more fun. Created as a response to a challenge to bring more mirth into architecture, designers with Atelier Zündel Cristea produced an idea for a trampoline bridge that would allow pedestrians to bound across the Seine. And though the concept is dangerous—what with the eventuality that bridge crossers would be double-bounced into the river—the design was good enough to take third place in an ArchTriumph competition.

Cowboy cooked

Texas’ biggest and most iconic cowboy burst into flames on Oct. 19, marking the end of an era for Big Tex, the State Fair of Texas’ 52-foot giant greeter. He was 60. Officials with the State Fair said the huge statue, first erected on the Dallas fair grounds in 1952, suffered an electrical short in his boot that caused a fire that eventually engulfed the statue from his size 70 boots to his 75-gallon hat. The fire, which occurred on the day of the statue’s 60th anniversary at the fair, caused an outpouring of real and mock sympathy, with one local funeral home even hosting a memorial service for Big Tex. But State Fair officials insist that Big Tex is not dead, saying a bigger, better version will appear in time for the opening of the 2013 event.


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