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Quick Takes: Dollar deal

Real estate agent uses shock value—and a dose of humor—to fuel interest in fixer-upper

Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Quick Takes: Dollar deal
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Some say homes are unaffordable in the current real estate market. One Michigan real estate agent says otherwise. In August, Christopher Hubel listed a 724-­square-foot Pontiac, Mich., home for just $1. Hubel admits the price is a gimmick to drive interest, and he expects to get offers well above the list price. In his description, however, Hubel doesn’t shy away from highlighting the home’s rough condition: “Let’s talk about the unique features that make this place stand out—like the avant-garde ‘floor hole’ art installation conveniently located next to the furnace. Who needs a traditional open-concept layout when you can have an open floor plan thanks to an authentic, unfiltered glimpse into the crawl space?” Prospective buyers had until Aug. 23 to submit offers for what Hubel is calling the “world’s cheapest home.”

Blaming the dog

Try using Donato Frattaroli’s excuse at the airport—the dog ate his passport. Frattaroli planned to fly with his fiancée to Italy Aug. 25 to get married. But less than two weeks before, Frattaroli came home to find his dog Chickie had devoured multiple pages of his passport including the picture page. The panicked couple reached out to lawmakers, who helped expedite a new passport that arrived two days before their flight. Chickie, meanwhile, can start making his own plans: He now has a “pupster passport” with stamps for his travels to fire hydrants, the beach, and Granny’s home.

A hairy affair

Pennsylvanian Rory Ehrlich, 6, was all business winning the kids’ division of the USA Mullet Championships Aug. 16. But the backside of victory has been all party for Rory. Mother Airen Ehrlich said Rory got to meet ­former Philadelphia Phillies great and famed mullet icon John Kruk after his victory in the online hairstyle contest. “Rory now thinks that John Kruk is his bestie,” she told WPVI. Rory plans to spend his $5,000 prize money on an alpaca for his sister and chicken wings for himself.

I scream, you scream

Ice cream is back on the menu for children in Orillia, Ontario, after the City Council lifted its ban on ice cream trucks Aug. 14. To allay some fears that a child could be hurt while rushing to get a sweet treat, the town’s new regulation requires vendors to outfit their trucks with mirrors that permit a 360-degree view of the entire vehicle. In lifting the ban, Councilor Luke Leatherdale said, “We can’t deny Orillia kids the experience that lots of other kids in different ­cities get to have.”

Feline footwork

A hopping cat whose jump-rope chops earned him a spot on Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night ­television show has now achieved a Guinness World Record. Kit Kat, a 13-year-old tabby owned by Missouri resident Trisha Seifried, skipped rope nine times in one minute during an August attempt—a feat good enough for the record. According to Seifried, Kit Kat has performed tricks since he was a kitten and is living proof even cats can learn tricks. But maybe not as well as dogs. Earlier this year a German dog broke the species record for skipping rope by vaulting on its hind legs 32 times in just 30 seconds.

Terrible travel advice

A Microsoft Travel column published online Aug. 12 listed Ottawa’s Winterlude festival as the Canadian capital’s top tourism spot followed closely by the National War Memorial. Third place for must-see destinations? The article recommended tourists check out the Ottawa Food Bank. After readers took to social media mocking the designation of a local food bank as one of the city’s “cannot miss” destinations, Microsoft removed the article from the website. Despite the article’s seemingly inhuman suggestion that tourists arrive hungry to the food bank, Microsoft denied the article was the product of an unsupervised artificial intelligence program.

Smells fishy

Officials in Sayreville, N.J., say they have a suspect they believe responsible for a power outage Aug. 12 that left 2,100 customers in the dark for about two hours. Utility workers discovered the outage was due to a fried fish found atop a blown transformer. “We are guessing a bird dropped it as it flew over,” police said on Facebook, later speculating the offending avian was an osprey. Jersey Central Power and Light spokesperson Chris Hoenig apologized to customers but asked locals to extend some ­sympathy to the bird that lost its snack. “If you’ve ever dropped your ice cream cone at the fair,” he said, “you know the feeling.”


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