Dispatches > Quick Takes
Matthews: Rodrigo Simas; Kraus and Matthews: Handout

Quick Takes


Issue: "Blind exiled brave," Aug. 10, 2013

Stranded Star

On their way to a Dave Matthews concert in Hershey, Pa., on July 13, Emily Kraus and her boyfriend almost passed by the stranded bicyclist. Thinking better of it, the two stopped to give the strange man a lift. It’s a good thing they did: The stranded cyclist turned out to be Dave Matthews himself. The rock star’s bicycle had broken during a preconcert ride, stranding him miles away from the venue without a cell phone or tools. A thankful Matthews invited the couple to dinner and upgraded their seats to the front row. 

Pooch patrol

Animal control experts in Fayetteville, Ark., are having a hard time taming the wandering ways of one of their strays. Called “Lucky Black Dog” by local authorities, the rambling Arkansas pooch has evaded capture 92 times in the past five years. “It’s very frustrating, because we’re hired to do a job and that job is to pick up loose animals,” Tony Rankin, of Fayetteville Animal Services, told 4029 TV. The clever dog has evaded dogcatchers, nets, and even tranquilizer darts to maintain his freedom. Animal services employees pledge to keep pursuing Lucky Black Dog until he’s finally brought to justice for harassing local, kept dogs.

Balance Boon

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Most people just delete monthly statements from online money-sender PayPal. But Delaware County, Pa., resident Chris Reynolds opened his June statement—and got the shock of his life. The July 12 email indicated that the 56-year-old PayPal customer had a positive balance of more than $92 quadrillion (also known as all the money in the world). After the initial shock, Reynolds logged into his PayPal account only to find out the email was a mistake. Still, he did allow himself to dream, if only for a moment: “I’m a very responsible guy,” he told Philly.com. “I would pay the national debt down first. Then I would buy the Phillies, if I could get a great price.”

Dirty Dip?

At long last, Boston’s Charles River has been reopened to the swimming public. For the first time since the 1950s, state officials declared the city’s famously foul waterway safely swimmable on July 13. Early reports from the first day of swimming included some saying the water appeared orange while others said it had the look—though not consistency—of beef broth. According to state officials, swimmers in the Charles River are safe, so long as they don’t dive to the river’s toxic depths. Violators of that proviso will require not only a good shower, but also a tetanus shot.

Good catch

All it took for a Cleveland Indians season ticket holder to catch his first fly ball was changing seats. His second, third, and fourth foul ball? Well, that’s just providence. Indians fan Greg Van Niel forwent his normal seats at Progressive Field in Cleveland on July 14 during a game against the Kansas City Royals. After a lifetime of missing foul balls as a fan, Van Niel snagged four foul balls during the nine-inning affair after making the seat change. Van Niel told local media he planned on giving all four baseballs to kids who went with him to the game.

Hole jolt

Just this one time, someone is happy their city never got around to filling in its potholes. Ray Lee, a 63-year-old grandfather from outside of Salisbury in Great Britain, was exercising on an early July evening when his heart began racing. According to the sensors of his exercise machine, Lee’s heart had reached an astounding 190 beats per minute. Lee’s wife called paramedics who rushed to the man’s home. On the way to the hospital, the ambulance hit a giant pothole, rattling everything inside—including Lee’s heart, which immediately dropped out of its ventricular arrhythmia and returned to normal function. Lee underwent observation for three days and was released.


If you could give Death Valley National Park rangers an opportunity to give one lesson to all visitors, it might be this: Stop trying to fry eggs on pavement. It doesn’t work, and it’s a mess to clean up. The park rangers say an increasing number of tourists are attempting to validate the myth that eggs can be fried on a hot rock or pavement in the nation’s hottest park. “The Death Valley National Park maintenance crew has been busy cleaning up eggs cracked directly on the sidewalk, including egg cartons and shells strewn across the parking lot,” an official said July 2 on the park’s Facebook page. “This is your national park, please put trash in the garbage or recycle bins provided and don’t crack eggs on the sidewalks.”


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