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Quick Takes

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Issue: "Getting paid not aid," Feb. 22, 2014

Nasal inflation 

What Nie Yongbing can accomplish with his nose is nothing to sneeze at. The 63-year-old man from Chengdu, China, needed just 21 minutes to inflate four car tires—all with his nose. For the January stunt, Yongbing got eight adults to stand on the tires to add levels of difficulty. The aging Chinese man affixed one end of a hose to tires, and secured the other inside one of his nostrils. From there, it was just lung power and nasal cavity fortitude. Yongbing said he started inflating things with his nose years ago at the direction of a homeopathic doctor who said the activity would help cure his boils.

Beer in a bean

Jelly Belly hopes its new jelly bean fits right in at sports-watching parties across the United States. The candymaker released a “Draft Beer” flavor of Jelly Bellies in time for the Feb. 2 Super Bowl. And though parent groups are sure to cry foul, the company noted on its Facebook page that the line of beer-flavored jelly beans is meant for adults only, contains no alcohol, and won’t be sold in any mixes. As for the flavor, the California-based candymaker says the jelly beans will take on the flavor of a Hefeweizen ale.

Long, cold crawl

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In a real-life contest of man vs. wild, Nicholas Brown proved that determination and grit can still win the day. The 57-year-old man was in a snowmobile accident in the Maine wilderness the night of Jan. 16. The crash caused him to break his leg. Stranded miles away from anything, Brown was forced to crawl to safety. Despite freezing temperatures, the dark of night, and rolling hills, Brown managed to crawl 2.5 miles on his elbows. He finally reached a friend’s home after a six-hour ordeal.

Multipurpose plows

There’s “preparing for every contingency” and then there’s Largo, Fla. The Tampa Bay suburb doled out more than $22,000 for a pair of snow plows last July—even though Largo hasn’t seen a measurable snowfall since 1977. So was the purchase a waste of money? Perhaps not. City public works director Brian Usher told ABC Action News in Tampa that the city will use the two plows for clearing debris after hurricanes and tornados: “We’re calling them debris removal plows.”

Money changer

Whoever forged the $100 bills Symone Vanessa Brown was passing off as real instruments in Greensboro, N.C., went to a lot of trouble making them look real. But the forger couldn’t resist one little inside joke. Police on the campus of University of North Carolina-Greensboro arrested Brown, 19, and charged her with trying to spend forged bills. Upon closer inspection, the forger had replaced the Treasury secretary’s signature with “Moe Money.”

Food fight

A Pennsylvania couple’s feeder is for the birds. But Bethlehem Township, Pa., code enforcers say it’s for the squirrels. After 25 years of feeding birds in their front yard, Diane and Bill Ganssle say local authorities are cracking down: Authorities gave them tickets for their bird feeders because the devices are attracting squirrels. The first ticket came on Dec. 10. That’s when the couple took down all but one feeder. But town officials told the Ganssles on Jan. 14 to take down their one remaining feeder or be subject to fines up to $1,000 per day. The couple has complained to the township’s board of commissioners. 

A fine mess

Josh Woodley likes to think she’s a law-abiding citizen. But when the 40-year-old British woman got a strange parking ticket from Bexley, U.K., parking officials in November, she faced a quandary: She would have liked to pay the ticket, but the fine amount was £0. “I was considering writing the council a check for £0, but I didn’t want to waste the money on a stamp,” Woodley told the Bexley Times. Then the city sent her another letter on Jan. 15 warning that if she didn’t pay the nonfine, she could be subject to legal action or a visit from city bailiffs. A council spokesman told the newspaper the warning notice was a mistake and the nondebt has been canceled.

Snow clues

After receiving a call about a suspicious man trying to find unlocked doors in a Colorado Springs neighborhood, police took advantage of the fresh snowfall to solve the case. Officers traced fresh footprints in the snow to several houses before finding 38-year-old suspect Paul Gonzales hiding in a yard. Police arrested Gonzales and charged him with trespassing.

Sign language

Vandals in Cambridge, U.K., are reportedly marking up the city’s signs—much to the delight of grammarians in the famous university town. That’s because they are adding apostrophes that should be on the signs. The controversy began earlier this year when Cambridge’s city council ordered all punctuation removed from official signage. Scholars’ Walk, for instance, became Scholars Walk. “If children are surrounded by incorrect or contradictory grammar, it can be confusing,” Good Grammar Company Director Kathy Salaman told The Independent. “It could also teach them it isn’t important.” Salaman told the paper that the educated vandals marking up signs have been using permanent marker.

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