Dispatches > Quick Takes
Amir Pourmand/ISNA/AP

Quick Takes


Playing like a girl

Some say the Iranian women’s national soccer team is playing with an unfair advantage. Namely, many of their players are apparently men. The Islamic country’s governing sports body announced in February that it would begin a new round of random gender tests on members of the team. The decision comes in the wake of startling revelations that four members of the squad were men who had not yet completed sex change operations. Unlike homosexuality, sex change operations are legal in Iran under Islamic law.

Boneyard bound

For every C-27J delivered by Italian aerospace manufacturer Alenia Aeronautica, the United States Air Force has a spot reserved: the retirement lot. Department of Defense cuts due to the 2013 budget sequestration forced the Air Force to cancel its plans to use the new cargo planes. Without any immediate solution, the Air Force has begun taking newly delivered C-27Js and parking them in Arizona at a Davis-Monthan AFB storage lot known as “The Boneyard.” The brand-new planes have taken spots next to planes too old for service. The Air Force is trying to arrange deals for the Coast Guard and the Special Operations Command to take all the planes off its hands.

Bowled over

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It was a gamble, and he lost. But considering the amount of free advertising it garnered for Houston’s Gallery Furniture store, Houston businessman Jim McIngvale would probably do it all over again. Before the Super Bowl, McIngvale, known as Mattress Mac to late-night commercial viewers in Houston, promised customers he would refund all $6,000 or larger purchases if the underdog Seattle Seahawks won. On the day the promotion ran, more than 1,000 customers took him up on the offer. And after the Seahawks’ victory over the favored Denver Broncos, McIngvale was left on the hook to refund more than $7 million in purchases. “No insurance policy,” McIngvale told local television station KHOU. “The customers paid for this and we paid it right back to them.”

A penny saved

More than 30 years ago, Randy Lawrence of La Jolla, Calif., inherited a silver-colored penny from his father, a former deputy superintendent of the Denver Mint. Thinking little of it, Lawrence sold the coin along with some others to La Jolla Coin Shop owner Michael McConnell, who at first didn’t think much of the coin, either. But upon investigation, McConnell discovered it was a rare aluminum penny worth at least six figures. McConnell contacted Lawrence with the news and agreed to share the proceeds when the coin goes on auction in Chicago this spring. They both also said they will give up to $100,000 of the earnings to charity.

Fast food

When your restaurant floats away down a river once, you can call it a fluke. But what about a second time? A Cincinnati-area floating restaurant moored to the Kentucky shoreline of the Ohio River broke loose of its restraints on Feb. 6 and briefly floated downriver. An electrical cable connecting the Waterfront Restaurant to the shoreline kept the Covington, Ky., eatery from going far. In 2011, the Waterfront Restaurant broke free and drifted downriver with 80 patrons inside. The eatery hasn’t been reopened since then. This time, the only passenger for the brief downriver trip was a maintenance worker.

Pocket change

A Michigan Goodwill store manager lived up to his store’s name when he made a startling discovery inside the pockets of a few donated items. On Jan. 29, manager Tyler Gedelian found a series of envelopes inside a suit and a robe that had been dropped off at his Monroe, Mich., store. Inside the envelopes? Stacks and stacks of $100 bills. After the discovery, Gedelian, 29, immediately phoned police. “I certainly can’t imagine losing that kind of money,” Gedelian said, noting that keeping the cash never occurred to him. “I was so nervous having so much of someone else’s money.” Police quickly tracked down the money’s rightful owner, a man who said he had been clearing out an elderly relative’s closet and hadn’t bothered to check the pockets on the garments. All told, the suit and robe had more than $43,000 stuffed into the pockets.

Hired hand holder

The pressure felt by young Chinese women to find husbands has created a new industry—rental boyfriends. And rental boyfriends say the Jan. 31 Lunar New Year holiday season is the industry’s busiest season. Fearing the disapproval of family members, unmarried women in their 20s living in Beijing are willing to pay young men about a month’s salary to pose as their boyfriends for trips home to the Chinese countryside. And that’s just base pay. According to rental beau Zhu Ruisen, rental boyfriends also have hidden fees. Holding hands will cost the desperate woman about $1 per time. Hugs and kisses are the same price. “To go shopping together will be $10 an hour,” Zhu told the CBC. “The movies will depend: a thriller [costs] more than a comedy.”


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