Skip to main content

Dispatches Quick Takes

Quick Takes

(Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images)

Low-decibel thrills

An association of amusement park owners in Japan is asking customers to stop screaming on roller coasters. As the nation comes out of quarantine, officials with the East and West Japan Theme Park Associations say customers should maintain social distance, keep conversations to a minimum, and keep their mouths closed while on park thrill rides. This will be difficult for riders on some roller coasters: A ride at one park reportedly travels at 112 mph; a ride at another park is one of the tallest roller coasters in the world at 318 feet and also one of the longest at more than 8,100 feet; another ride has seven inversions. Officials say the no-screaming rule will help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The guidelines from the association of 30 Japanese theme parks also suggest park employees keep spoken words to a minimum by using “a combination of smiley eyes, hand gestures, etc., to communicate with visitors.” Some major Japanese theme parks had been closed since early February.


 

City of Florence, Oregon

City of Florence, Oregon

A park by any other name

Residents of the coastal town of Florence, Ore., have voted to memorialize a gruesome event in 1970 by naming a new local park the “Exploding Whale Memorial Park.” The name is an homage to the time when a 45-foot dead whale washed ashore. City officials used dynamite to explode the whale on shore. After the advent of YouTube, local media coverage of the explosion became widely seen. According to city officials, the new park will provide canoe and kayak access to the Siuslaw River and will also include picnic shelters.


 

Handout

Handout

Serving up truth

While authorities have allowed bars and shops to reopen in Argentina, restrictions remain on churches that limit congregations to just 10 people. This discrepancy gave one Argentine pastor an idea. Pastor Daniel Cattaneo said he has turned the Comunidad Redentor evangelical church in San Lorenzo into a bar. Cattaneo says his pastors carry around trays with Bibles to replicate the actions of waiters. “We are standing here today dressed like this, carrying a tray, because it seems this is the only way we can serve the Word of God,” Cattaneo said in June.


 

Stuart Walker/SWNS

Stuart Walker/SWNS

No horsing around

A KFC franchise in the United Kingdom is standing firm against a discrimination complaint about the restaurant’s drive-thru lane. Ian Bell of Silloth in northern England says staff at the KFC in nearby Carlisle refused to serve him when he drove his horse and cart into the drive-thru lane. Bell, who is an itinerant Irish Traveller, told the BBC the restaurant’s prohibition against horse-drawn vehicles “is downright disgusting”: “I felt humiliated.” After being turned away, Bell and his pony Jon Jon were able to use the drive-thru at a local McDonald’s.


 

Somerset Island Prep

Somerset Island Prep

Making waves

With conventional graduation ceremonies out of the question amid the coronavirus pandemic, one Florida charter school took to the water. Seniors at Somerset Island Prep in Key West, Fla., celebrated their graduation on jet skis. Wearing caps and gowns over life jackets, each graduating senior rode a jet ski past an anchored boat where the principal handed the student his or her diploma on a pole. Board chairman Todd German told WCJB the unconventional event “is a perfect example of the innovative mindset that permeates Somerset Island Prep.”


 

Arterra Picture Library/Alamy

Arterra Picture Library/Alamy

Lockdown hunger

A loosening of lockdown orders may be great news for the world’s rats. In May, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Americans about urban rats exhibiting “unusual or aggressive” behavior because of the closure of many restaurants and a diminution of street garbage. The CDC said some food-stressed rodents had turned to cannibalism to survive while others had fled to the suburbs. Rodentologist Bobby Corrigan told The Washington Post that many rats in cities depend on “restaurants and hotels and bars and doughnut shops and everything that we consume on the go” for their nightly food.


 

Airbnb

Airbnb

A night in the park

Without baseball games to play, owners of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos are looking for ways to generate revenue. The minor league, Class AA affiliate of the Minnesota Twins listed Blue Wahoos Stadium on Airbnb, a popular hotel alternative. Customers who pay the $1,500 get what the Blue Wahoos posting calls “the ultimate baseball experience.” Guests can play on the field, lounge in the dugout, or relax in the clubhouse. According to the listing, the stadium will accommodate 10 overnight guests, and a representative of the team will be on-site to provide security and answer questions.


 

Handout

Handout

A big money drop

Having a bit of time on a Saturday afternoon drive through Virginia, Emily Schantz decided to stop and pick up a bag left in the roadway that a car in front of her swerved to miss. Assuming it was trash, Schantz and her two sons pitched the bag in the bed of their truck. After returning to their home in Caroline County, Va., the Schantzes discovered the bag was stuffed with about $1 million in cash. Rather than hide the loot, Schantz phoned local deputies about the money. Caroline County deputies believe the money belonged to the U.S. Postal Service and was bound for a bank. Maj. Scott Moser of the sheriff’s office praised the family for turning the money in: “For someone so honest and willing to give that almost a million dollars back, it’s exceptional on their part.”