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Got your goat

Quick Takes


Illustration by Suzanne Brooker

Got your goat
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One-horned goat: 1, Army: 0

In a common prelude to the iconic Army-Navy football game, cadets from the United States Military Academy pilfered what they thought was the goat mascot for the Naval Academy in November. The West Point cadets slipped into a Maryland paddock under the cover of darkness in order to snag Bill 37 but made too much noise, spooking the animals to flight. After a short chase, cadets nabbed a goat and made a quick getaway, only later discovering they had taken Bill 34, a 14-year-old goat with one horn that had been Navy’s mascot years ago until retiring. Both the Army and Navy acknowledged the botched prank in a joint statement, reiterating that neither of them sanction mascot theft.

Better late than never

After 110 years, an edition of the New Chronicles of Rebecca found its way home to a public library in Boise, Idaho. Librarians at the Garden City (Idaho) Library found the old leather-bound book in a return bin in November. According to the book’s return card, its due date was Nov. 8, 1911. Garden City librarians noticed markings from the Boise Public Library on the book and arranged for its return. Assistant Anne Marie Martin noted that the library stopped collecting return fees in 2019, but the book would have amassed over $800 of fees in the previous system.

Magical no-parking zone

Some motorists who legally parked their vehicles on one Earley, U.K., street returned to find parking tickets on their windshields. Even more confusing: The drivers found yellow lines indicating a no-parking zone had appeared underneath their vehicles. According to Earley Councilor Shirley Boyt, the cars had been lifted by a crane Nov. 28 while street crews created no-parking zones underneath. After the street crew returned the vehicles to their original locations, parking wardens ticketed the cars. “It’s like a trick has been played on them,” Boyt told the BBC, calling the mistake a fiasco. “The residents can’t believe what they’ve done.” Earley’s parking enforcement service apologized for the error and promised to cancel all issued tickets.

Hawaii-bound? Pack your parka

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for parts of Hawaii on Dec. 2 when a large storm system stalled off the east coast of the Big Island. At the time of the announcement, Hawaii joined Alaska as the only states with blizzard warnings. Though the news surprised some weather watchers, snowfall at the peaks of the Big Island’s mountains is more common than some may assume. According to the National Weather Service, Hawaii saw a similar blizzard warning in 2018. Still, Hawaiians across the island chain are experiencing unusually chilly temperatures. The cold front that brought snow to 13,803-foot dormant volcano Mauna Kea also brought a record-low 56-degree temperature to Honolulu on Dec. 4.

Popular pear now pest

Once seen as a beautiful addition to suburban neighborhoods, the Bradford pear tree has fallen so far out of style that states are banning its sale and offering bounties for its destruction. In December, state horticulturalist Gary Fisher said Maine was poised to add the Bradford pear to its “do not sell” list. In August, South Carolina regulators placed the tree on the state’s plant pest list, effectively banning its sale as of 2024. Last year, Clemson University in South Carolina kicked off a bounty program offering one free native tree in exchange for every Bradford pear destroyed. Horticulturalists like Fisher complain that the imported decorative tree crowds out local species.

Wrong number please

A fat-fingered error by a high-school freshman while typing in a phone number led to the teen’s school basketball team connecting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A ninth grader at Notre Dame Preparatory in Pontiac, Mich., had been attempting to create a group text for his teammates. But the teen typed the number incorrectly and instead added NFL cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting. In November, the person with the mysterious number asked in the group chat, “Did you mean to add me to this group?” Eventually Bunting revealed his identity to the boys, sending them a picture of himself in the Buccaneers’ locker room. Bunting also started a video chat with the shocked boys, passing his phone to teammates Leonard Fournette, Rob Gronkowski, and Tom Brady. “They didn’t have to do that for us,” one of the ninth graders told WDIV.

Oasis from the storm

It’s a good thing they liked the rock band Oasis. Pubgoers at Britain’s Tan Hill Inn became snowbound for days beginning Nov. 26 when a winter storm dropped enough snow to make escape impossible. Many had turned up for a show by an Oasis cover band, Noasis. By the time the show ended, roads were impassible. By the next morning, all 61 of the pub’s guests were resigned to waiting out the blizzard at the inn. Over the course of the three-day ordeal, the tribute band played a few more sets for the stranded patrons while staff at the Tan Hill Inn found sleeping accommodations for all guests and set up trivia games and karaoke contests.

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