Wednesday, February 18, 2009

This Crazy WORLD #18

Here are some highlights from the "Quick Takes" section of the February 14, 2009 issue of WORLD magazine. (I haven't posted any of these for a while because, quite frankly, the last few issues' Quick Takes sections haven't been very funny and/or interesting. But this one was pretty good, so I thought I'd share it for a change of pace.)

Shell game

Say what you will about one New York thief: At least he was thorough. Walter U. Tessier returned a $10.99 lobster to an Amsterdam, N.Y., Price Chopper supermarket saying the crustacean was bad. But while Tessier went browsing for a bag of king crab legs to exchange for the lobster, store employees became suspicious of the rejected seafood. Apparently, Tessier ate most of the lobster and reassembled the crustacean to appear whole before returning it to the store. When confronted, Tessier fled on foot but was arrested later at his home and charged with petty larceny.

Built not to last

Even with an "unarticulated recyclable-box" design as described by United Nations architects, a 175,000-square-foot complex will cost the UN roughly $150 million to build—only to be demolished in 2013. The expensive temporary structure to be built on the UN's midtown Manhattan property will allow the international organization to renovate its aging headquarters. When renovations to the UN's headquarters on the East River are complete, the structure will be razed and replaced with a lawn. According to a 2006 internal report, the United States government contributes about one-fifth of the United Nations budget.

Booked over a book

Police arrested a 39-year-old woman Jan. 22 after she failed to return a library book she checked out from the Jesup, Iowa, Public Library in April 2008. The woman, Shelly Koontz of Independence, Iowa, was charged with fifth-degree theft. Court records indicate both library officials and law enforcement attempted to contact Koontz to ask her to return the book and pay the library fine. Koontz spent two hours in jail before posting $250 bond.

Higher priorities

For one hotel patron, finishing a beer took priority over seeking treatment for a knife wound. Police in Edmonton, Alberta, responded to an emergency call at the York Hotel around 9 p.m. on Jan. 17 only to find the stab victim sitting at his table polishing off a brew. "He's got a minor poke to his chest, but he's not giving us any details," said Staff Sgt. Regan James. "You can imagine the level of his concern was not that high."

Life in the fast lane

Hummer owners might want to tap the brakes: A year-long study produced by a risk-analysis firm found drivers of Hummers were 463 percent more likely to be ticketed for speeding than the average driver. Officials with San Francisco--based ISO Quality Planning said the research may not indicate that traffic cops are more likely to single out drivers of gas-guzzling SUVs for speeding tickets, but that particular cars affect how a driver drives. Joining Hummer atop the list for most ticketed vehicles: two highly powered Mercedes Benz vehicles. Drivers of Buicks and minivans received the fewest tickets.

A student forever

If knowledge is power, a 67-year-old Kalamazoo, Mich., man might be one of the most powerful men around. After earning 27 college degrees—two associates degrees, one bachelor's degree, 20 master's degrees, three specialist's degrees, and one doctorate—Michael Nicholson says he's not close to quitting. Nicholson, who says he's retired, is working on two more master's degrees from Grand Valley State University. Prior to his 16-year career as a substitute teacher, Nicholson used tuition discounts he earned at Western Michigan University while working as a parking-meter attendant for just over a decade. "I find that the intellectual stimulation and the acquaintances that I have at the intellectual level make it really worthwhile," Nicholson told the Kalamazoo Gazette, noting he'll keep pursuing degrees so long as he can make it to class.

Digging shallow

Unlike some taxpayers, one Queens, N.Y., property owner probably won't need to reach too far into his pocket to foot this bill. Victor Serby, who owns property in Queens but lives in Woodmere, N.Y., received a bill from New York City's finance department in the amount of 23 cents. City officials say the tiny charge was one of 10,000 bills the city mistakenly sent out trying to collect amounts less than $5. According to city records, the finance department will book a minus-62 percent return on investment considering the 60-cent capital cost of postage, paper, and processing per bill mailed. And, though the Long Island patent attorney paid his back taxes all at once, the city's installment plan could have allowed him to mail in a 12-cent payment in January and the remaining 11 cents in April.


Clint said...

Government at work, ladies and gentlemen...

spend a dollar to get a quarter. (figuratively speaking, of course).

Molly Sabourin said...

O.K., so the booked over a book one made me quake with fear.