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Dispatches Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Turkeys (Dave Zajac/Record-Journal/AP)

Ruffled feathers

Roving gangs have been terrorizing two neighborhoods in Stamford, Conn., in recent weeks. The gangs aren’t made up of wild criminals but of wild turkeys that residents say are becoming increasingly aggressive in chasing, pecking, and cornering them. A state wildlife official told WNBC that the residents of the Newfield and Turn of River neighborhoods are themselves to blame for the turkeys’ behavior, because they fed the animals. This attracted more and more wild turkeys and taught them not to fear humans. Michael Gregonis of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said Stamford residents confronted by turkeys should spread their arms to appear bigger and back slowly away from the animals.


Cowboys coolers in Houston (@AmjadIsmail90)

Cooler heads

Not even a historic hurricane could reconcile Houston residents to the Dallas Cowboys. As crowds descended on one Houston-area Walmart ahead of Hurricane Harvey’s landfall, shoppers bought up nearly all useful supplies—except for Dallas Cowboys coolers. Houston resident Amjad Ismail tweeted a picture from his local Walmart on Aug. 25 showing a shelf full of Cowboys merchandise that Houstonians wouldn’t purchase despite the oncoming storm: “Even in a hurricane no one is taking the Cowboys coolers.”

(Krieg Barrie)

Fools rush in

Unable to distinguish between friend and foe, a bull attacked an animal rights activist who had jumped into a French bullfighting arena to disrupt the contest. Police say the anti-bullfighting activist involved in the Aug. 27 incident in Carcassone in southern France could have been much more seriously wounded. The unidentified protester was taken to the hospital with goring wounds that were, according to police, “long but not deep.”

Timothy D. Easley/AP

Eclipse (Timothy D. Easley/AP)

The eyes had it

Some people in California harmed their eyes during the solar eclipse event on Aug. 21 in a way experts had not expected. According to, a Redding, Calif., nurse reported seeing several patients in the days after the eclipse complaining about eye pain after applying sunscreen to their eyes. They apparently hoped sunscreen would allow them to stare directly into the sun. Nurse Practitioner Trish Patterson said she referred those patients to an ophthalmologist.


Chuck E. Cheese tokens (Handout)

Coin toss

The Peabody Institute Library in Danvers, Mass., has had to remind residents that while Chuck E. Cheese tokens may look like coins and may have value to some people, they are not legal tender. Library employees told the Associated Press that they saw an increase this summer in the number of library-goers attempting to pay fines and printing fees with tokens from places like Chuck E. Cheese. Bookkeeper Sue Kontos reported coming across three in one day.

Matthias Balk/Picture-Alliance/DPA/AP

Struempfel (Matthias Balk/Picture-Alliance/DPA/AP)

Beer run

Nobody can say Oliver Struempfel of Germany can’t hold his liquor—or at least his beer. On Sept. 3, Struempfel set a new world record by carrying 29 jugs of beer 40 meters and then setting them down. Together, the jugs of beer weighed 152 pounds. Struempfel held the previous record of 25 jugs, and this time he tried for 31 but two tipped over at the last minute. He told the Reuters news service he had trained for 200 hours for the record-breaking effort.



Matilda Jones (SWNS)

Lost and found

Seven-year-old Matilda Jones of South Yorkshire found a 4-foot-long sword while swimming in a British lake. That would be unusual enough. What made headlines was the location: Dozmary Pool in Cornwall, where legend has it King Arthur both received his Excalibur sword from the Lady of the Lake and returned it as he was dying after the Battle of Camlann. So did Matilda find the legendary Excalibur? Her father Paul says probably not, figuring it to be a leftover movie prop of more recent vintage.

(Krieg Barrie)

Storm warning

A United Airlines pilot prone to oversharing frightened passengers of an Aug. 22 Newark-bound flight. According to passengers, the unnamed pilot got on the airplane’s speaker to warn them about upcoming turbulence, including “horrific storms [and] tornadoes.” Passenger Pamela Kent told that the pilot then said passengers of the full flight should “get to know your neighbors.” A spokesman for United Airlines denied that the flight was ever in real danger and said passenger safety is the airline’s top priority.


The salad frog (Handout)

Target topping

It’s a good thing Becky Garfinkel looked before she leapt into eating her salad. The Corona, Calif., resident says on Aug. 23 she found a tiny frog in a package of salad greens she had purchased from Target. “I was going to stab at it and take a bite, and I see it … and I scream,” the vegetarian told the Los Angeles Times. Soaked in tahini-lemon vinaigrette dressing, the dime-sized frog appeared alive but unresponsive until Garfinkel’s husband rubbed its belly. Unwilling to release the animal into the wild, Garfinkel decked out a terrarium and lodged the frog she calls Lucky in her office.