First a little background for those non-catholic wu-vians. By the doors in catholic churches there are fonts containing holy water. Upon entering and leaving worshippers dip a finger in the holy water and cross themselves. Recently in some places the church has suspended this age old practice due to the fear of spreading the H1N1 virus. Now Italian inventer/catholic, Luciano Marabese, has supplied the solution. He felt fear was damaging church traditions so he built a holy water dispenser. It works like a public restroom soap dispenser, the parishioner waves their hand under the dispenser and a sensor makes it spray out holy water. The invention is being used in a church in Fornaci di Briosco, a northern Italian town. But since more churches are suspending the rite Luciano has been receiving orders for the dispenser from around the world. Yes, he does charge for them, apparently he's not THAT religious. http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/091111/odds/odd_us_italy_flu_holywater_odd
[From The Saturday Evening Post for October 10 1953. Two scans, top and bottom.]
Nothing like aligning your product with a civilization that practiced human sacrifice. The Incas weren't the Aztecs, but as Wikipedia reminds us: "There is [sic] archaeological discoveries supporting the presence of sacrifice within Inca society according to Reinhard and Ceruti: 'Archaeological evidence found on distant mountain summits has established that the burial of offerings was a common practice among the Incas and that human sacrifice took place at several of the sites.The excellent preservation of the bodies and other material in the cold and dry environment of the high Andes provides revealing details about the rituals that were performed at these ceremonial complexes.'"
And did they actually make the best ink ever? I can't find any reference to such an accomplishment.
Earlier this year we heard of the national lottery that drew the same numbers two weeks running. Now meet the man who has just won a lottery jackpot for the second time!
The unnamed 34 year-old from the Limpopo province of South Africa beat 24 million to one odds to take the country's "PowerBall" draw for 30 million rand ($4 million), just seven years after winning 11 million rand ($1.5 million) from an earlier state lottery system with odds of 14 million to one. His feat is all the more remarkable given he claims to spend only 100 rand ($13) a month on tickets (Telegraph).
News of the Weird/Pro Edition (11-9-2009 Extra)
November 9, 2009
Still More Things to Worry About
Solemnly communing with the Holy Spirit on the Day of the Dead (Nov. 2) worked out just swell for Jose Andrade of Des Moines, Iowa. He left the candles burning in his bathtub, leading to a minor inferno in the john, melting the tub. Des Moines Register
Good to know: Australian National University researchers have learned that male fiddler crabs lurk close to home, hoping to get the chance to protect females from intruders so that they can get rewarded, with sex. Associated Press via San Francisco Chronicle
David Napodano, 42, was arrested in North Naples, Fla., for exhibiting his naked self while in his truck in a Wal-Mart parking lot. When two women chose to be alarmed rather than stimulated, and called police, the best Napodano could do to explain having removed his clothes was that he was experiencing "explosive diarrhea" (but that condition always produces evidence, and none was present). WBBH-TV (Fort Myers, Fla.)
Both Bishop Rick Painter of the Cathedral of Christ the King, and his Phoenix, Ariz., neighbors, think the other's position is outrageous: Painter: Of course God approves our ringing the church bells every half-hour, 24/7. Neighbor Sam Jensen: "I can't imagine . . .." ABC News
Not Supposed to Happen: In Enid, Okla., a motorist on U.S. 81 collided with an elephant, but Becky Field, traveling on Interstate 89 in New London, N.H., was probably unimpressed. Her car collided with a boar. Associated Press via The Oklahoman /// Concord Monitor
Last week, we saw Ethel Merman go disco. Well, in 1971, someone thought it would be a good idea for Lena Horne to issue an album of rock standards. Here she is covering Paul McCartney. Much more palatable, but I just don't know about the fit between her talents and rock.
News of the Weird/Pro Edition
November 9, 2009
(juicy and/or disturbing news from October 31-November 7)
Attorney Lawrence Reich, 69, finally threw in the towel, giving back his lifetime New York government pension that he "earned" by working a loophole to claim full-time-employee status in five school districts — simultaneously — while also operating a private practice. Several lawyers had nibbled at the loophole, though Reich was the biggest biter, having one year clocked 1,271 days. ABA Journal
Hear the Scranton (Pa.) Catholic Diocese's confessions: First, Father Edward Lyman, during an early Mass, used his personal computer to display information on an upcoming charity drive . . and accidentally clicked on photos of four bare-chested young men posing provocatively. Then, the Diocese disavowed Father Virgil Tetherow's behavior for offering Mass at an off-message church in York and also too-aggressively protesting at a Planned Parenthood clinic, especially after he was discovered to have pleaded guilty 4½ years ago to an offense that was originally child porn possession but downgraded in a plea deal. And yet another Diocese priest, Father Robert Timchak, waived a preliminary hearing last week on charges of having child porn on his computer. Times-Tribune (Scranton) /// York Daily Record /// Pocono Record
Why "government" is unpopular: On the one hand, it can't manage to keep tabs on predatory mortgage lenders, or compile a useful no-fly list, or find Jaycee Dugard in sex offender Phillip Garrido's house. But the government does other things very well . . . like catching $200 tax cheats (in Detroit) and bringing its "A" game to the job of shutting down a massage parlor (in Harrisburg, Pa.). Detroit News /// Associated Press via CBS News
What does a sect do when the only person with a direct line to the Lord dies? The Church Universal and Triumphant of Bozeman, Mont., still has an executive board, but it has been busy disapproving would-be successors to the late Jesus-channeling Elizabeth Claire Prophet (finding the pretenders insufficiently omniscent). The Church still has "thousands" of followers, it says, despite the hit it took in 1990 when the world failed to end as Prophet warned. (The several well-stocked, concrete-and-steel shelters inside a mountain north of Yellowstone Park are still ready, just in case.) The most exciting work ahead for the board? Someone gets the "pleasure" of transcribing 22,000 hours of audio and video narratives that Prophet left behind. Associated Press via KTVB-TV (Boise)
Ouija Warriors: Which of these characters more deserves Absurdity Gold? The UK firm ATSC Ltd. is getting quite rich selling worthless dowsing rods that purportedly point to explosives (at up to $60,000 a rod, mostly to the underdeveloped countries' underdeveloped police forces). The other contestant is the Iraqi police commander, who loves the rods and ridicules the Pentagon for denouncing them — and is embarrassment-proof, in that when the device fails test after test before his very eyes, he attributes it to testers' lack of "training." The commander would ordinarily just be silly, but these magic wands are the first line of "protection" at 400 Baghdad checkpoints. Sniffer dogs would be much more effective, but the commander recoils at the thought of running a "zoo." (Physics sage Bob Park said the Pentagon, too, fell for the devices in the early 1990s but was spared public humiliation because the project was "classified.") New York Times
Paris, the city of love, has long held a marriage fair but now is also holding a divorce fair. It is actually called New Start Trade Fair and has 60 stands and 2 days of conferences. Some stands have lawyers, others are about self improvement and self-esteem, still others are fortune telling and tarot readings. The conferences include such things as 'Plastic Surgery's Role in Reconquering Your Self Image' and 'Separation, What Does A Lawyer Do'. In France, with 260,000 divorces annually, nearly 1 in 2 marriages end this way. Most in attendance are women, but the same is true of the Marriage Fairs. There are some men there though. One couple in line for an attorney's booth are married, not to each other, and looking at ways to let their soon-to-be ex-partners down easier. Mighty sweet of them huh? http://www.statesman.com/news/content/shared-gen/ap/Europe/EU_France_Divorce_Fair.html
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.
Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.