Problem: Desertification (when viable land is encroached upon by desert) threatens the lives of millions of people in Africa. Solution: Build a wall to keep the desert from spreading. According to architect Magnus Larson, it is not as difficult as you might imagine. Take sand dunes at the edge of the desert, combine them with a mixture of water and bacteria, let dry and you've got an instant sandstone wall! Read all about it at BBC news.
Perhaps someone should impress the permanence of getting inked on people who want a tattoo before they can have it done. Like the guy with a tattoo of a strapped on bomb around his middle. Or how about making your belly button a cat's or monkey's butt hole. I especially liked the guy who had a ruler tattooed on his leg to remind him of his shortcomings. People do the darnedest things to themselves. See 15 crazy examples here http://www.oddee.com/item_96748.aspx
If you enjoy these check the link at the bottom of the page for tattoos with misspellings. Not Safe for Work!
News of the Weird / Pro Edition
July 27, 2009 (news from July 18-25)
Rhode Island's Youth Employment Program
According to state law (or, rather, the lack of it), flabbergasted cops were unable to run a strip-club owner in for that 16-yr-old dancer. She's legal. Under-18s in RI can't work with power saws or do excavation jobs, or buy porn, for that matter, but they can work the pole. Providence Journal
The Mean Streets of Beaumont
Alex Fowler, 26, was arrested for an attempted robbery in Beaumont, Tex., and it's good they got this vicious, cold-blooded gang-banger off the street. He's a CRIP, with "Crip for Life" tattooed on his neck, carrying a gun, bandanna across his face. Tough guy. However, the robbery went wrong, and the 87-yr-old victim chased Alex from her home with a can of Raid. Seriously. Beaumont Enterprise
Nothing Gets Past Those Wise Ol' Illinois Tax Examiners
Finally, George Michael's Church of Spiritual Humanism was ruled a fake, and he'll now have to pay the $80k/yr property tax bill on his mansion, for which he had won preliminary approval for an exemption as a church, helped by submitting an image of the house but with a cross on an outer wall (even though George had just Magic-Markered the cross onto the photo). (He later put up a real cross, but it didn't help.) Chicago Tribune
Zebras in the News
(1) The economically and physically decimated Marah zoo in Gaza has a handsome zebra that enchants the kids who have only seen pictures of them, but having a real zebra is expensive. That's why the Marah's zebra is really a donkey, painted with hair dye. Seems to work. They've also got house cats posing as wild cats. (2) Pittsburg State (Kan.) linebacker Joe Windscheffel is out for the season. That's not saying he would have made the team anyway, since a linebacker ordinarily should be tough enough not to get knocked on his ass by a zebra while doing farm work. Slate /// Associated Press via Kansas City Star
I See London, I See France . . .
Belgian artist Jan Bucquoy opened an underpants museum in Brussels, with some artists' actual drawers under glass but also with photos of people who had declined to contribute their knickers (Margaret Thatcher, etc). Bucquoy might actually be onto something: "If I had portrayed Hitler in his underpants, there would not have been a war." "If you are scared of someone, just imagine them in their underpants. The hierarchy will fall . . .." Bucquoy's holy grail? The Papal skivvies. Reuters
People Who Were Reported Being Nuts Last Week But Don't Yet Know They're Nuts
(1) David Shayler used to be a controversial MI5 British intel agent, but things happened, and he sorta went downhill. He's now "Delores Kane" aka the Messiah, on a mission to save humanity by 2012, through legalized hemp and bringing to justice the Americans who staged 9-11. (2) Zimbabwean twins Patience and Memory Neuhe grew up well-off, educated abroad, but returned home under the spell of Seventh-Day Adventists and now walk around all day in only their underwear, tending their garden, waiting for the Apocalypse. Their elderly parents are beside themselves. Irish Independent /// Daily Mail[photos of Delores] /// Zimbabwe Guardian
An accident on Germany's A2 autobahn involving 259 cars has left 66 people injured, 10 of them seriously, but incredibly resulted in no deaths.
The pile-up occurred in the late evening, when a combination of heavy rain and a setting sun hampered the drivers' vision and made the road conditions slippery. The first accident happened near Hamelerwald, and began a cascade of other accidents that over the next two hours grew to span a 30 kilometre stretch of road. It finally took 340 emergency workers well into the next morning to finish dealing with the people and vehicles involved and the clean-up cost is expected to exceed 1.75 million Euros, i.e. $2.5 million (NY Daily News).
John Ryan, writer and illustrator, and creator of the popular children's character Captain Pugwash died, aged 88, last Friday.
Ryan's most famous creation, the eponymous, bumbling, pirate and his equally inept crew (with the exception of the ever resourceful cabin-boy) were a staple of British children's television in the 50s and 60s, and even returned to UK screens for a brief revival in the late 90s. But it is for a quite different reason that most people will remember the series. Sometime in the 1970s, when the TV program had been off-air for nearly a decade, the urban rumour started that the characters had all been given double-entendre names. Pugwash's crew, it was claimed, had included characters called "Master Bates", "Seaman Staines" and "Roger the cabin-boy". In reality, the crew of The Black Pig, Pugwash's ship, were Master Mate, Barnabas and Willy, along with the cabin-boy, Tom. The legend became so well accepted that it was carelessly repeated as fact by both the Sunday Correspondent and Guardian newspapers, leading Ryan to sue, successfully, both papers for libel in 1991 (Obituary - Guardian).
The animation style used in Pugwash, as well as his other programs, Mary, Mungo and Midge, and Sir Prancelot, was unusual in that it was not done using stop-frame photography but by making articulated paper figures that could be moved like puppets in real-time.
John Wotherspoon's career was cut short due to what he claims was a malicious and deliberate hit and run. The hit and run occurred in June of last year, but the accused, Alexander Bogdanovich is on trial in Edinburgh, Scotland now. After an altercation in a nightclub where Bogdanovich was expelled by bouncers, he waited outside and argued with Wotherspoon again then drove off. Bogdanovich allegedly returned and ran down Wotherspoon, who was walking home. Bogdanovich denies these claims. Due to scars on Wotherspoon bottom he can no longer perform as a naked butler. He received facial injuries as well. But the scaring on his backside is why he is no longer employed to entertain 'hen parties' and charity events dressed only in an apron and bowtie. He also lost out on a summer of his modeling career due to the injuries. He says he's going after compensation as well. It's tough when suddenly you're not pretty anymore. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/5896861/Naked-butler-lost-job-due-to-car-crash-scar.html
In a giant leap forward for the rights of garden gnomes, especially golden ones using the Nazi salute, German courts declared gnomes have a "certain abuse potential" (whatever that means). The ruling continues with a warning for others not to "emulate the work".
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.