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The skinny

The skinny: Grand piano found on sandbar in Miami bay

a grand mystery

biscayne bay sandbar turns into a piano bar

A grand piano recently showed up on a sandbar in Miami's Biscayne Bay, about 200 yards from condominiums on the shore. The piano, which weighs at least 650 pounds, was placed at the highest spot along the sandbar so it doesn't get underwater during high tide. While officials aren't sure how it got there, they know it won't be going anywhere unless it becomes a hazard to wildlife or boaters. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge Pino says the agency is not responsible for moving such items. And, he adds, unless it becomes a navigational hazard, the U.S. Coast Guard won't get involved. Throwing away a grand piano may seem like a waste of money, but many wear out from the literally tons of pressure on the internal parts, and cheaper models aren't worth the cost of rebuilding. For now, it has become a fancy roost for seagulls.

communist party

Will Poles line up for this game?

You won't get to build hotels or collect rent in a new Polish board game reminiscent of Monopoly. In fact, you may be lucky even to get a pair of shoes. The state-run National Remembrance Institute created the game — called "Kolejka," which means queue or line — to help young Poles understand the hardships of life under communism. Players are tasked with buying a number of goods, but a lack of deliveries, shortages and the connections competitors have to communist authorities turn the task into a string of frustrations. The gray board, evocative of the mood of communist times, is accompanied by a documentary film and an article by a historian talking about the realities of communism.

uncomfortable issue

A different angle on panhandling

Cities have tried many ways to move panhandlers and vagrants out of prime shopping districts, but Santa Barbara, Calif., believes it has a new angle — 90 degrees. Using $50,000 in redevelopment funds, it plans to turn 14 benches perpendicular to the State Street storefronts they now face to make it harder for beggars to establish contact with passers-by. To discourage prolonged stays, backs will be removed from several benches on a two-block stretch of the city's most vibrant commercial thoroughfare.

high hopes

He turns soda pop into soda pot

A California entrepreneur has plans to market a line medical marijuana soft drinks. Clay Butler says he plans to supply medical marijuana dispensaries with his soda pot, which contains the psychoactive marijuana ingredient THC. Besides his flagship cola drink, Canna Cola, he will also produce Dr. Pepper-like Doc Weed, lemon-lime Sour Diesel, grape-flavored Grape Ape and orange-flavored Orange Kush. A 12-ounce bottle will cost $10 to $15.

Compiled from Times wires.

The skinny: Grand piano found on sandbar in Miami bay 01/25/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 5:13pm]
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