Still another pastime turns into a proposal
Alex Fay of Atlanta needed to ask Lisa Stern to marry him, so he did the logical thing, creating a marriage-themed crossword puzzle, submitting it to USA Today, and dropping to one knee when she figured out the answer to 58 across was "WILLYOUMARRYME." "I knew he'd do something creative," said Stern. Creative sure, but original? Well, ask Aric Egmont of Boston, who proposed to Jennie Bass via 111 across in the Boston Globe last September. Or Bill Gottlieb and Emily Mindel of New York (New York Times, 2003). And for creativity, give bonus points to Bernie Peng of New Jersey who reprogrammed Tammy Li's favorite video game to include a score-activated proposal this week. But, sure, it's sweet. And Stern, like Mindel, Bass and Li before her, said yes.
If it's a tie, the town will stay dry
Voters in Tisbury, Mass., were pretty evenly split on whether to allow restaurants to sell beer and wine. And by "pretty evenly," we mean exactly, as the result of an election on the issue this week was a 690-690 tie. And, in this case, tie goes to prohibition. There was no butterfly ballot on the issue, since the options were pretty much "yes" or "no," but proponents are working on getting a hand recount. "There are things the machine might not pick up ... like check marks," said town clerk Marion Mudge. No hanging chad, though.
For him, profanity is an emergency
A man in Romania has been fined for calling the country's emergency line 6,442 times. He didn't have an emergency, but just called to swear at the operator. The calls were made from November to January on a prepaid cell phone. He said he didn't do it, but his mom said that he was a loner and that she saw him talking on the phone a lot, but she didn't know to whom. Thanks, mom. The man, who was not identified, was fined $223, which works out to about 3.5 cents per call. Of course, that doesn't include his cell phone minutes.
Gamble on government
What are odds you could bet on vote?
It's weird enough that you can place a bet on who will score the first touchdown in the Super Bowl, but if you're interested in a really bizarre wager, head to Czechoslovakia, where bookmakers are taking bets on whether or not Parliament will approve a U.S. plan to install antimissile radar. Agence French Presse reports that odds at the Fortuna bookmakers opened at 1.8-to-1. But the company isn't expecting a lot of action. "We usually get less bets for political subjects than sports events," said Tomas Grombir of Fortuna. Betting? On sports? Interesting.
Compiled from Times wire services and other sources by staff writer Jim Webster, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.