As a creator of "mail art" (you can see some of my stuff here), I immediately dived upon the book pictured to the right. It tells the life story of W. R. Bray, who invented the concept of messing with the mails, even going so far as to mail a live dog and himself! It's full of Grade-A weirdness, and beautifully illustrated.
A Romanian would-be burglar was quite literally caught with his pants-down when he tried to sneak into a closed supermarket through a small window, became stuck, then somehow managed to wriggle out of his trousers while trying to free himself. Which was how he was found, 11 hours later (Sky News).
An 81 year-old Australian took a wrong turn when driving to collect the morning paper, ending up on a major highway. Nine hours and four hundred miles later, he finally stopped and asked for directions. Eric Steward later rejected offers of a satnav device saying he’d only been lost once before, from 1997 to 2001 (Reuters).
The British Government has produced a sex guide for pensioners. The guide examines the benefits of a healthy sex-life, suggests the safe positions for the frailer retirees, and explains how to use Viagra and practise safe sex (STV).
Santa Claus will have a slightly easier job of it this year as the US Postal Service has axed its seasonal practice of forwarding letters to Santa to North Pole, Alaska, where dozens of volunteers help answer them, after one volunteer recognised another as a listed sex offender (CNews).
A new exhibition at the National Socialism Documentation Centre in Cologne, Germany is revealing how the Nazi Party tried to “de-Christianise” Christmas. It documents how many carols still sung in Germany today were rewritten without their previous religious imagery, and includes a display of Nazi designed Christmas decorations from that period in the shape of swastikas, grenades and Iron Crosses (Telegraph).
But surely one of the weirdest facts connected with the gem is that it was once sent through the US Mail!
Henry “Harry” Winston, a leading American jeweler and gem dealer, bought the diamond from Mrs. McLean’s estate in 1949. In November 1958 Winston donated the diamond to the Smithsonian Institution, intending it to be the foundation for a National Jewel Collection. With his years of experience in shipping jewelry all over the world, Winston chose to have the diamond delivered by registered mail. He told a reporter for the Washington Post that “ . . . [registered mail is] the safest way to ship gems. . . . I’ve sent gems all over the world that way.”
Just a thought about that curse: since 1958, the Hope Diamond has been owned, in a manner of speaking, by the whole nation. If one chooses to date America's hard times--the end of some mythical Golden Age--from roughly that period, could it be said that the curse is still operative?
Why not sell the Hope Diamond to a rich oil shiek, use the money to help relieve the deficit, and see what happens?