Dispatches > Quick Takes
Krieg Barrie

Quick Takes


Issue: "Tidings of discomfort and joy," Dec. 28, 2013

Dental plan

It must have been one mighty toothache. An inmate held on a short-term sentence couldn’t wait for his looming release, so he broke out to go see a dentist. The 51-year-old Swedish prisoner, unidentified by authorities, had two days to go on his one-month sentence. But his inflamed tooth was causing him so much pain, the man decided to break out of the minimum-security jail so a dentist could yank the tooth. “My whole face was swollen. I just couldn’t stand it any more,” the man told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper. After the procedure, the man called police and turned himself back in. Jail officials reprimanded the prisoner and extended his sentence by a single day.  

Charging charge

The charge says theft, but the defendant says police are being unreasonable. Authorities in Chamblee, Ga., have charged Kaveh Kamooneh with stealing about 5 cents of electricity when he hooked up his electric car to an outdoor plug at Chamblee Middle School. Police say officers were dispatched to the scene on Nov. 23 after an anonymous complaint. There, officers found Kamooneh’s Nissan Leaf plugged into a school outlet near the tennis courts. They arrested Kamooneh, who spent 15 hours in the DeKalb County Jail. Chamblee Police Sergeant Ernesto Ford told WXIA television that the charge is moving forward: “A theft is a theft.”

Getting the axe

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Soon teenage boys in Pennsylvania may have to find another way to mask their shameful odors. State Rep. Marcia Hahn, a Republican from Northampton County, said she’s thinking about pushing a bill that would ban powerfully scented body sprays like AXE from school campuses where some students suffer from fragrance allergies. Hahn is currently seeking co-sponsors for the proposed legislation.

No soup for you

Tailoring their populist campaign around promises to increase the thickness of campus toilet paper and to make tomato basil ravioli soup available in school cafeterias every day, two Massachusetts students cruised to a five-point victory in student elections on Nov. 21. The school that elected Samuel Clark and Gus Mayopoulos on their toilet-paper-and-soup platform is the same school that has spawned more U.S. presidents than any other college: Harvard. Clark and Mayopoulos admit their campaign was satire. But despite Harvard undergraduates’ willingness, the pair say they will resign as soon as they take office. That may be a disappointment to the plurality of voters who cast ballots for the joking pair. “All we really want is more soup,” undergraduate John Koscis told the Harvard Crimson.

Single payer

Julann Roe may have rendered unto Caesar what was Caesar’s, but she certainly wasn’t a joyful renderer. The libertarian political activist decided to pay her $11,075.44 property tax bill to Pasco County, Fla., on Dec. 2 in the most aggravating way possible—with more than 11,000 one-dollar bills and 44 pennies. It took clerks at the tax office more than an hour to count the bundle. But county tax collector Mike Fasano said he doesn’t mind. He just wonders how many banks she went to before collecting enough small bills.

Stamp slip-up

Who knew the post office goofed when it based the popular 2011 “forever” stamp on the wrong Statue of Liberty? The person whose statue they copied, that’s who. When the USPS released its Lady Liberty stamp more than two years ago, post office officials accidentally used as a likeness a “sultry” and “fresh-faced” version found outside Las Vegas’ New York-New York casino hotel instead of the original. Robert Davison—the sculptor of the Vegas copy—says his version of Lady Liberty is more feminine than the original. And he now wants the USPS to pay up for profiting off his work.

Heavy on lights

It may have caused a spectacle, but David and Janean Richards of Canberra, Australia, have lit their way into Guinness World Records. In a project that began in October, the Richardses recently flipped the switch on their 502,165-light Christmas display at their home. According to Guinness, it’s the most Christmas lights in one display on a residential property. With enough lights to stretch for 31 miles, the couple says the blinding display comes with a downside—a $2,291 monthly electricity bill.


What trumps a robber’s gun? A bigger gun, of course. A convenience store clerk in West Seattle, Wash., kept his cool when a pair of thieves attempted to rob his register on Nov. 23. “This is a robbery,” clerk Robert Moore recalls one of the thieves saying. Then, one of the robbers brandished what Moore believed was a fake gun. “I looked at his gun and said, ‘I have a bigger one than you do.’” With that, Moore reached for his firearm, and the would-be bandits fled.


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