Traditional Albanian society was not exactly pro-women's rights. Women were expected to marry and produce children, and that's about it. They were forbidden to partake in any "male" activities, such as smoking or wearing a watch.
But there was another option. A woman could choose to become a "sworn virgin," in which case she would become a man in the eyes of Albanian society, allowed to do all the things that men do (including being able to inherit property). The big drawback was no sex or marriage for the rest of their life. The punishment for breaking the vow was death.
SFGate has an interview with one of the last "sworn virgins" in Albania. There's fewer than a hundred remaining. A 2007 Washington Post article also has a video interview with a sworn virgin.
"Pests, pests, we need to get rid of these pests!"
That was Flint (Mich.) city Councilwoman Jackie Poplar, while she was spraying a can of Raid either right at two of her most annoying Council-meeting critics (according to them, anyway, including one woman whose face swelled up in allergic reaction) or "at [actual] bugs" that she alone had somehow seen crawling around the meeting room. Police are investigating the alleged assault. Flint Journal Comments 'jackie_poplar'
You realize, of course, that Leona Helmsley has not just bequeathed $12m to her little dog "Trouble" but $8B to dogs in general?
As Jeffrey Toobin wrote last week in The New Yorker, it's all legal. Fact is, she specifically hated every human in her life (except her dear husband Harry) and generally hated everybody else. The New Yorker Comments 'leona_helmsley'
New York nerd methodically read the entire unabridged dictionary
Emmon Shea, 37, has just written a book based on his having devoured the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary, 59m words. He said he improved his vocabulary a bit (like "unbepissed," meaning, er, well, "not urinated upon"), and he was sometimes thrilled ("I would wake up and start reading at three in the morning because I was so excited"). But he also got a little deranged in demeanor from time to time, and he learned so many new words that he forgot common ones, and we're still shaky on whether it's possible that someone like this can have a "girlfriend," though he says she exists and was supportive. The Times (London) Comments 'emmon_shea'
Yes, a contact-lens thingie with a super-light but sparkly chain dangling down. Aren't humans great, to be thinking of stuff like this? (Speaking of fashion plates, here and here are two from The Smoking Gun's weekly mugshot collection. TSG never tells you what crime they're up for, but one thing we do know is that they waste quite a bit of time with the mirror every day.) Daily Mail (London) Comments 'eyeball_bling'
Your Daily Jury Duty [no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
We have to decide whether Tyler Hamlen, 20, is too dangerous to be out on the street (or at least too dangerous to be trusted with the remote, to be ordering up DirecTV pay-per-views). Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah) Comments 'tyler_hamlen'
Eyewitness News [news videos goin' around]
This is a series of nature photos of possibly the weirdest place on planet Earth: Socotra Island, part of Yemen but actually a little closer to Somalia. Almost like creative digital art, except that they're supposed to be real things. DarkRoastedBlend.com[link from Overlawyered.com] Comments 'socotra_island'
More Things to Worry About on Monday
Catch a replay of the U.S. Rock-Paper-Scissors championship from Las Vegas tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern on Fox Sports cable network . . . . . If you made $300m last yr, as J.K. Rowling did, you made, oh, $9.50 every single passing second . . . . . More World-Class Multi-tasking: A big-rig driver in Britain managing a full load while watching a Battlestar Galactica DVD on the dash. And a Wisconsin woman cell-phoning and reading a book while driving . . er, driving into the back of that parked car. And a driver high-speed-fleeing cops . . while rolling a joint . . . . . . At Ada Barak's Carnivorous Plant Farm in northern Israel, you can get the (approx. $80) spa relaxation treatment of having a load of snakes crawl over you ("Their presence stirs something deep and peaceful in me," wrote a Time reviewer). Today's Newsrangers: Sue Clark, Ginger Katz, Jenny Beatty, Scott Langill, Robert McClafferty Comments 'worry_081006'
In 1965 the French neurophysiologist Michel Jouvet operated on 35 cats, creating lesions in a part of their brainstem called the locus coeruleus. The operation caused no visible difference in their waking behavior, but their behavior while sleeping changed dramatically. They would stalk, leap, and pounce on imaginary prey -- while completely asleep. Jouvet concluded that the locus coeruleus is responsible for suppressing muscle activity during sleep. Damage it, and you act out your dreams.
That's the scientific explanation of the phenomenon, which is a long way of introducing this video of a dog "running" while asleep. Evidently the dog doesn't have a fully functioning locus coeruleus.
The Duluth Trading Company specializes in unique "longtail" shirts that help alleviate the problem and social ill of "Plumber's Crack." They've obviously invested much thought in the matter, as you can see from this schematic of the problem. But useful and practical as such shirts may be, there's simply no excuse for Plumber's Butt Playing Cards.
We here at Weird Universe were excited to learn that we were mentioned today on NPR's WAIT WAIT DON'T TELL ME. We figure this makes us celebrities (in our own minds). [Thanks to Scott Edelman for letting us know about our radio fame!]
The mention occurred during a segment in which they were quizzing TV psychologist Dr. Phil about fringe political candidates. Before the quiz, they noted that the info came from WU. You can listen to the broadcast here.
So welcome to any NPR listeners who first heard of us today. We're glad to have you with us.