Dispatches > Quick Takes
Mike Segar/Reuters/Landov

Quick Takes


Issue: "Going it alone," Nov. 2, 2013

Big wheels keep on turning

If Judah Schiller’s idea catches on, the port authority may have to set up bike lanes on the Hudson River. That’s because on Oct. 3, Schiller tested his prototype bicycle boat to traverse the Hudson. Launching from Pier 13 in Hoboken, N.J., Schiller pedaled a pontoon bike contraption across the mile-wide river and docked at Pier 66 in Manhattan. “This may be a way to get people to jobs, get people across waterways, and around traffic jams,” Schiller told New Jersey On-Line. “It’s cheap. It’s easy and it’s human powered so it doesn’t burn anything.” Except calories. And cash, too. It cost Schiller $1,500 for pontoons, a frame, and special equipment to connect his pedals to a propeller and his steering to a rudder.

Getting his goats

First they came for the Washington Monument. Then for the Lincoln Memorial and national parks. Finally, it was the goats’ turn. A herd of goats employed to munch away poison ivy in Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, N.J., was whisked back to their home in Upstate New York because the partial government shutdown threatened to leave the bleating animals unattended. Herd owner Larry Cihanek said he made the decision to pull the animals out before the park closure to ensure he wouldn’t get cut off from his animals.

Rules for the road

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Ahead of an Oct. 1 national holiday, Chinese tourism officials posted a decorum guide for inexperienced Chinese tourists heading away from home for the first time. According to the 64-pageGuidebook for Civilized Tourism, Chinese tourists should refrain from picking their noses in public, urinating on the local flora, and stealing airplane life jackets. Officials with the National Tourism Administration warned against these practices and others in order to combat China’s reputation of generating uncivilized tourists.

Too big to mail

At long last, the tall culinary nightmare is over. Police in Statesboro, Ga., located a 7-foot fork that had gone missing and was presumed stolen. The giant fork, an emblem of JEJ Tax Specialists, had gone missing in August. Police assumed the fork had been stolen. But whoever took the landmark, which the tax preparers used in local advertising (“Look for the fork in the road”), apparently grew tired of it. Authorities spotted the utensil leaning against a utility pole in another part of town on Oct. 9. Due to the large size of the steel landmark, officers were forced to return it in a truck when it didn’t fit into a patrol car.

Big dig

Armed with only a pocketknife and the will to live, one Australian grandfather was able to dig his way to safety on Oct. 1 after a heavy piece of farm equipment collapsed on him, trapping his leg. Barry Lynch, 54, was trapped for more than six hours after a crop sprayer attached to his tractor tumbled over and pinned his leg to the ground under the weight of a chemical tank weighing several tons. After taking a cigarette break, the Queensland native began digging through the hard ground to try and save his injured leg. “It was just getting bigger and bigger and blacker and blacker until I could feel my skin cracking,” Lynch told the Courier-Mail. After hours of digging, Lynch was able to free himself and crawl to his cellphone to call in help.

Bad sports

Citing numerous fights that had broken out after high-school sporting events, the commissioner of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association advised schools to halt the practice of shaking hands after games. The Oct. 8 missive was met with derision by local pols. Kentucky House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover called the directive a “clear sign of stupidity” on his Facebook page and called for the immediate firing of Commissioner Julian Tackett. For his part, Tackett clarified the KHSAA’s position, that postgame handshakes—while not advised—could continue with proper adult supervision.

Crime doesn’t pay

Police in Ireland have a message for thieves who pilfered a red box containing what could be confused for scrap metal. Return the items—and quickly—for your own good. According to police, the box that was stolen during a recent burglary in County Dublin contains radioactive materials. It may look like aluminum or steel, but the booty is actually lightning preventers that could make the offending thieves very sick.

Pretend fake meat

Finally, something nut connoisseurs and fake meat lovers can agree on: the Spam-flavored macadamia nut. Once available only in Hawaii, brave nut eaters can now order Spam-flavored nuts from the Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company website or through Amazon.com. According to company officials, though, there are no actual meat products used in the nut. Rather, the company uses a Hormel seasoning blend to Spam up the macadamias. According to Hamakua president Richard Schnitzler, the distinctive nuts sell well enough in Hawaii. “Spam has a cult following in Hawaii and so it seemed like a good idea,” Schnitzler told the L.A. Times.


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