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Monkey business

QUICK TAKES | An unattended primate causes a stir after pranking local authorities


Illustration by Paul Ryding

Monkey business
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Some theorize that given enough time—and enough typewriters—monkeys banging randomly on a keyboard might accidentally compose a Shakespearean sonnet. But what if you give a monkey a phone? On Aug. 13, a capuchin monkey at a conservation zoo in Paso Robles, Calif., got hold of a cell phone and dialed 911. Authorities receiving the call heard nothing on the other end of the line. After trying to call back but failing to reach anyone, puzzled officials dispatched officers to the wildlife preserve. When San Luis Obispo sheriff’s ­deputies arrived on the scene, zoo workers were initially as clueless as the officials. Eventually they realized a small ­primate named Route must have nicked a cell phone from a golf cart and accidentally placed the call.

Nobody home

Police in Aurora, Colo., spent hours hopelessly negotiating outside a home Aug. 18. Hopeless because it took authorities hours to realize the house was empty. The one-way standoff began around 2 p.m. when police arrived at the house to arrest a 38-year-old man. The discovery of a kicked-in door convinced officers that the suspect was inside and spurred them to issue a shelter in place warning to neighbors. Police then used a bullhorn in an attempt to negotiate with the man who wasn’t there. After four hours, police cleared the home and canceled the warning to neighbors.

Popcorn champion

Competitive eater Joey Chestnut broke a popcorn-eating record last month, and he did so by planning his hand movements, accounting for burps, and ­probably remembering a little motherly advice: Don’t talk with your mouth full. Chestnut ate 32 ­servings of popcorn at 24 ounces each in eight minutes before a minor league baseball game in Indianapolis on Aug. 23. Chestnut is no rookie: He has also won the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest 15 times and holds 57 records.

A toxic rock

Australian school officials insisted there was nothing to worry about after the discovery Aug. 17 of a radioactive rock in the storeroom of an all-girls high school. Parents weren’t so sure. School officials at the Sydney-area institution called in a ­hazardous materials team to remove the rock, which they said a science teacher discovered while testing a Geiger counter in the storage room. Government officials said ­someone would need to hold the rock for 250 consecutive hours before it would cause any adverse effects. Education Minister Sarah Mitchell rejected the insinuation that the incident should cause fear or alarm for parents and students, accusing some skeptics of “scaremongering,” according to the Australian Associated Press.

Cleaning out the kitchen

Earlier this year when 1,500 American Navy and Marine Corps personnel disembarked for a bit of shore leave in the port town of Alexandroupolis, Greece, the sailors and Marines brought their appetites. “Yesterday, 6,000 to 7,000 eggs were needed,” a Greek restaurateur told a local newspaper. “In other words, we don’t have eggs.” Not after the Marines landed, at least. A spokesman for the expeditionary unit admitted that “mass amounts of eggs, steak, and tattoos were consumed,” according to Navy Times.

Along for the ride

A Filipino delivery driver dodged a ticket when police discovered his passenger didn’t need a ­helmet. Authorities in Puerto Princesa pulled Ryan Jay Aljecera over in August for ­violating local helmet rules as he made a delivery on a motorbike. Upon closer inspection, officers realized his unhelmeted passenger was actually a mannequin that Aljecera was delivering to a customer. “When they realized I was just riding with a mannequin, they burst out laughing,” Aljecera told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Officers let Aljecera go, but not before snapping pictures and showing off the mannequin to other officers they’d called in for backup.

Hair affair

State pride swelled in Wisconsin after two Badger State boys took home first prize in a nationwide mullet competition. Named for the controversial hairstyle sometimes described as “business in the front, party in the back,” the USA Mullet Championship holds annual contests to identify exemplars of the style. After a period of online voting, the USA Mullet Championship named 8-year-old Emmitt Bailey of Menomonie the 2022 champion in the boys’ division Aug. 21. On the same day, Cayden Kershaw of Wausau earned the champion title in the league’s teen division. Online voting for the adult mullet crown will take place in September.

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