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Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012

CHUCK SHEPHERD'S NEWS OF THE WEIRD

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A Fuzzy Vision
Unclear on the Concept (and the Image): The Associated Press, reporting in August from Jerusalem, noted that the ultra-Orthodox community's "modesty patrols" were selling eyeglasses with "special blur-inducing stickers" that fuzz up distant images so that men will not inadvertently spot immodestly dressed women. (The stickers apparently simulate nearsightedness, in that vision remains clear for up to a few meters.) The "modesty patrols" have long tried to shame women dressed in anything other than closed-neck, long-sleeved blouses and long skirts. A columnist for the Tel Aviv daily Haaretz praised the eyeglasses for shifting the responsibility to men for their priggishness.

NOTE
: This week, we take a look at some recurring themes—recent weird news that sounds a lot like old weird news.

The way it usually happens is that Mom and Dad start a road trip with their children, and then fail to notice when one of the kids is not on board following a rest stop. Occasionally, they are well down the road before they turn around. However, in June, the family member left behind at a stop in Memphis, Tenn., was Dad, and for 100 miles no one grasped that he was missing. The family was traveling in a van, and everyone assumed Dad was in the back. However, he was still at a gas station, calling his own phone (which was in the back of the van). Dad finally reached his family via Facebook by using a computer at a nearby motel.

Periodically, News of the Weird reports on foreign cuisine that most Americans find "undelectable." A June Wall Street Journal story featured a hardy, fun-loving group of New Yorkers (the "Innard Circle") who dine monthly at out-of-the-way ethnic restaurants in order to sample such dishes as camel's eyeball ("way different from a goat's eyeball," said one member) and "crispy colorectal," and had recently learned, from a non-English-speaking waitress, that they had just consumed bull's diaphragm. Another member admitted "an element of showing off" to the exercise, and acknowledged that not all rookie members return for a second meal.

In June, inmate Michelle Richards, 33, was about to begin her sentence at the Albany County (N.Y.) jail when guards discovered a hypodermic needle and seven packets of heroin inside her vagina.  (She had been arrested for possessing a needle and heroin in her bra.)  Richards' arrest came about a week after inmate Andrea Amanatides was caught at the very same jailhouse using the same hiding place on her own body to sneak in heroin and 256 prescription pills (reported in News of the Weird eight weeks ago). Amanatides' stash was discovered when the baggie holding it became dislodged and broke open on the floor.

Another Fortuitous Injury:  In Fairland, Ind., in July, 9-year-old Jacob Holdaway got hit in the head during a game of kickball. Later, he started vomiting and having severe headaches. Because his parents took him to a hospital for that smack to the head, doctors found a golf-ball-sized tumor in his brain that might not have been discovered until after it had become dangerously large. Doctors were able to remove most of it and suspect it was benign.

News of the Weird has reported several times on farmers who are certain that treating their cows to better lifestyles improves the quality of their milk and their meat. In July, London's Daily Telegraph, in a dispatch from Paris, touted Jean-Charles Tastavy's experiment in which he fed three cows with a fine wine for four months (in a mixture, along with their usual barley and hay). They "loved" it and consumed it "with relish," said the farm's owner. The resulting meat, labeled "Vinbovin," is now a delicacy in Paris restaurants (despite steeper prices to reflect the increased feeding costs for the cows).

© 2012 Chuck Shepherd
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