Dispatches > Quick Takes
Krieg Barrie

Quick Takes


Issue: "The GOP’s Greg Abbott," May 31, 2014

Government chores

Spanish parents may soon have an extra tool in their arsenal in convincing their children to clean their room. It could become the law. On April 25, the Spanish parliament released a draft version of an update to the European nation’s child protection law. One proviso would require children to share in the responsibilities of household chores regardless of age or gender. The proposed law also requires that children be respectful of their parents and also have a positive attitude toward school, but does not spell out specific punishments for noncompliance.

Double grad

Grace Bush is clearly in a hurry. That could explain why, at the age of 16, she graduated from her Boca Raton High School in May two years earlier than her peers. But she did one thing even faster: obtain her college degree. The Florida teen attended two graduations in early May. The first was from Florida Atlantic University with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. Later that week, she walked across the stage to earn her high-school diploma. The simultaneous ending of her college career and high-school career means Grace will have to give up playing in two school orchestras. She plans on starting her master’s coursework in August—but only after taking the summer off.

Parking critic

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An anonymous letter sent by a New Jersey real estate agent has an elderly couple enraged. Bill and Barbara Doughten received the letter in April after a real estate agent offering homes in their Ocean City, N.J., neighborhood took offense at where Bill Doughten chooses to park his car. “I’m trying to sell million dollar homes in the neighborhood,” the letter reads. “I drive my clients around and they see your car parked sideways on the front lawn! You have a driveway—use it!” Doughten explained that he parks on his lawn because it leaves him closer to his front door. “I got a bad leg,” he told CBSPhilly.com. “I shake and I’m an old man.”

Flying fish

A warehouse fire in Sweden subjected a village to a barrage of rotten herring on May 1 and turned into a smelly nightmare for local firefighters. Authorities aren’t sure how the food warehouse fire started. But they could smell what was burning for miles. Inside the engulfed building was a large store of a local delicacy called surströmming—rotten herring left to ferment in tin cans. When firefighters reached the blaze in Enaanger, they had to dodge projectile stinky fish as the fire’s heat caused the tins to explode. A neighbor of the warehouse had his roof bombarded by stinky fish for six hours. The assault left no physical damage, but the smell might linger for days.

Alone upstairs

In 1982, the Almeida family’s pet turtle Manuela slipped quietly out of a gate left open by construction workers during a home remodel and slowly crept toward freedom in a nearby forest. At least, that’s the story members of the Brazilian family from Realengo have told each other for the past 32 years. But, as it turns out, they were wrong. Earlier this year when the family patriarch died and his children set out to clean their childhood home, they found something alive hiding in a box of old records: Manuela the tortoise. “At that moment I turned white and did not believe,” son Leandro Almeida told Globo TV. As best as the family can piece together, instead of slipping out a door and into the forest, Manuela actually managed to get into the home’s attic in 1982, and there lived for three decades feasting on termites before ultimately being rediscovered alive and well in 2014.

Hunger games

Police have identified a suspect in a rash of car break-ins in North Conway, N.H., but they’ll probably never read him his rights. That’s because the suspect is a bear. Several residents have recently found their cars with windows smashed and interiors ripped apart, and police say this happens sometimes during this time of year as bears come out of hibernation and search desperately for food.

State of yogurt

For an hour on May 6, the august body that is the New York State Senate took to debating one of the most pressing issues facing the Empire State: yogurt. Lawmakers debated the merits of making yogurt the official snack of New York state, with Republican lawmaker Michael Ranzenhofer leading the charge, citing the state’s status as the nation’s top processor of the food. But several Democrats parried, asking Ranzenhofer pointed questions: “Did the sponsor consider raisins?” asked Democrat Gustavo Rivera. Toby Ann Stavisky, attempting to hijack the debate, proposed replacing yogurt with the vaunted carrot cookie. But in the end, Stavisky’s idea crumbled, and Ranzenhofer’s proposal won in a landslide.


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