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9/21/2006

Columns > News of the Weird

NEWS OF THE WEIRD

 

Carrying on

Just after the Aug. 10 restrictions were imposed, British Airways refused to allow disabled New Zealand runner Kate Horan (on her way to the Paralympics world championships in the Netherlands) to carry on her prosthetic leg, as she had long been allowed to do. Her checked-baggage leg was then lost in the chaos at Heathrow airport, and the prosthetic’s manufacturer scrambled to make Horan a new one. (The leg was found a week later, and at press time, Horan had won at least one medal.) And the Transportation Security Administration’s ban on carry-on liquids, gels and ointments apparently does not apply to small quantities of “personal lubricants,” such as the gels popular as sex aids.

Get it off your chest

News of the Weird reported in 1993 that a nude dancer in Tampa had been spared a more serious injury (according to a police officer) when a gunshot to her chest was deflected by her breast implant. In August 2006, an Agence France-Presse report from a hospital in Nahariya, Israel, credited a young woman’s silicone breast implant for saving her from a more serious injury from shrapnel from a Hezbollah rocket during the recent war.

Problem Solved

Darrell Rodgers, 40, was treated at Bloomington (Ind.) Hospital in August after shooting himself in the left knee because he felt he had to try something to end the pain there — pain possibly caused by having shot himself in that knee 10 years earlier. And electrician Paul Trotman, 51, was arrested in Clay County, Fla., in August after allegedly rigging an electrical device to shock a 3 1/2-year-old boy who lived with Trotman and his wife, after Trotman got fed up with the boy constantly urinating on electrical outlets just to see sparks fly.

Leave no animal uneaten

Colombia’s exports of “hormiga culona” (“big-butt queen ants”) are down this year due to a harsh winter and aggressive lizards and birds, creating steep prices for chocolate-dipped ants in London and ant-based sauces and spreads at home, according to an August Associated Press dispatch. And a July Reuters story on the Explorers Club in New York City called it virtually the only place where gourmets can enjoy such delicacies as scorpion, cricket, tarantula, maggot and pigeon pâté, as well as odd parts of common livestock. Worms are also prized, if they’ve been “evacuated” on oatmeal for a few days before serving.

Expiration dates

In rural Jiangsu province, some still believe that a well-attended funeral leads to a successful afterlife, but police have recently cracked down on the practice of hiring strippers to punch up attendance, according to an August Reuters dispatch. Also, Chinese in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia still celebrate a lunar-calendar oddity termed the “hungry ghost” month, during which the gates of hell supposedly open and create widespread fear. Many Buddhists seek to appease the ghosts (and acquire lucky lottery numbers) by offering them food and paper models of items they can use when they resume being dead.

Keep the Parishioners happy

Rabbi Yair Silverman recently declared a ring eight miles in circumference around his Berkeley, Calif., synagogue to be an “eruv,” or “home,” so that his parishioners could move about more freely on the Sabbath, when Jewish law imposes some “home”-based restrictions. And some Sunni Muslims in Saudi Arabia practice the (legal) religious “misyar” contract, which permits a couple to be married but live separately, joining sometimes only for sex, and without financial responsibility for each other, according to a July Reuters dispatch from Riyadh.

man’s best friend

A recent documentary produced for Australia’s Channel 4 (and described in a July story in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph) caught up with a Ukrainian woman, now 23, who had been “forgot(ten)” by her mother and father and raised by dogs until discovered at age 8. Oxana Malaya (one of about 100 known feral children) has the tested mental age of 6, stilted speech and an uncoordinated gait, and still buries any gifts she receives and runs into the woods when she is upset. For the camera, Malaya showed she can still bark, run on all fours, pant with her tongue out, and dry herself off by shaking.

Recent Alarming Headlines

“Shooting Reported at Firing Range” (an August story on mischief at Shooter’s Choice, in The State newspaper of Columbia, S.C.).

“Hong Kong Man Found Being Eaten Alive by Maggots” (an August story in the Sydney Morning Herald; the 67-year-old man was discovered just in time and is recovering).

“Asheville Corrections Official Sent to Prison for Sex With Inmate” (an August story in the Winston-Salem Journal, which seems like welcome punishment for the official; actually it was a female official who had sex with a male and was shipped to a women’s prison).

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