Was Jesus Gay? Elton John seems to think so. He stated as much in a recent Parade magazine interview. Of course the mere idea struck terror into the hearts of all homophobic Christians and those who choose to interpret the bible as saying "discriminate openly" rather than "love thy fellow man".
And what about those silly gay people who want to serve in the military? Surprisingly, a recent CBS News poll asking about Obama's wish to repeal the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, finds that a majority of the public support allowing openly gay men and women to serve. But what's even more surprising is that the same poll doesn't want homosexuals to serve. I suppose the poll was worded badly. Or maybe the people who answered that poll still think gay means 'having or showing a merry, lively mood'. In that case, who wouldn't want a bunch of merry old souls in the military?
When the O'Gorman family encountered still opposition to their proposal to demolish the Edwardian house they owned and use the land for six modern properties they were probably a little miffed, or more than a little, if the name they chose to give the development is anything to go by. Having been given a green light by the local council, the O'Gormans announced that the new cul-de-sac was to be called "Pogue Muhone Court". Pogue Muhone is a phonetic English equivalent to the Gaelic "pog mo thoin", which means "kiss my ass" (Telegraph).
And if kissing ass isn’t your thing, perhaps you’d like to crawl through one instead? You can at a new exhibit called Grossology, which opens at the Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday. Subtitled “The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body” the exhibits also include a tour of the nose, a giant replica of human skin and an interactive experiment in flatulence called “Burp Man” (Miami Herald).
Not kissing but kicking ass are the pensioners of Bavaria in Germany, who decided not to take the credit crunch lying down. After their financial adviser, James Amburn, handed them losses in excess of 2.3 million euros, five OAPs tracked him to his home in Speyer, kidnapped him, and tortured him into faxing a Swiss bank for the money to pay them back. Instead he managed to alert the police. Mr. Amburn later confided that his four day ordeal was perhaps extended by his kidnappers having to stop a while when they ran out of breath (Mirror).
Also taking a little longer than usual were the German actors appearing in Erofeev’s satirical play “Moscow to the End of the Line”, alternatively billed as a “crazy depiction of one of the most famous alcoholic benders in world literature”. In an ill-considered attempt at method acting four of the performers decided to swap the water in the props for real vodka “as an experiment", only to fall off their chairs, and the stage, before inviting audience members to take a swig. They were later taken to hospital under a police escort to have their stomachs pumped (Guardian).
More outrage now, this time from Great Britain, where in a clear breach of their normal high standards of decorum, British mums have been seen shopping in the Tesco supermarket chain in pyjamas and slippers. In fact more outrage seems to have been directed at Tescos, who have implemented a dress code and now escort anyone so attired from their premises, than at the mums, They should all just be thankful they don’t have Walmarts, that’s all I’m saying (Mirror).
This is definitely one of those "why hasn't someone thought of this before?" type inventions. Back in March of 1985, Josh Silver, a physics professor at Oxford University, had a conversation with a colleague about optical lenses and the sort of specialized equipment needed to adjust them. And in that moment, he had an idea that will affect the lives of billions - a pair of glasses that can be almost instantly adjusted by the person wearing them. No visits to the eye-doctor. No money spent. The concept relies on the principle that the fatter a lens is, the more powerful it becomes. (Remember the kid in fourth-grade who had glasses thick enough to be from the bottom of a coke bottle?) These glasses consist of hollow plastic lenses, inside which are two clear sacs filled with fluid. Using a small syringe, the person wearing the glasses can add or remove fluid, thus changing the power of the lens. Silver's team has already started to distribute the spectacles. You can read more about these amazing glasses, and the man behind them, here.
I was originally going to display three or four of the most unique items from Archie McPhee's web store to give you an example of the true weirdness you can find there (vengeful unicorns, remote controlled hopping yodelling lederhosen, bacon bath soap, inflatable toast). But once I started digging deeper to find just the right ones, I realized there was no way I could stick to just a few. My fellow WUvians needed to see all of the zany craziness that McPhee's has to offer. And how can you resist any company whose motto is "Slightly Less Disappointing Than Other Companies". So if you're in need of a last minute gift idea for the weirdo on your list, this is the place for you.
First up, scientists at the University of Leeds in Great Britain have determined that if you want to meet the right man, the optimum amount of flesh to flash is 40%. Less than that and you might appear too dowdy to catch his eye, any more and you’re more likely to attract a stalker than a soul mate. Psychologist Colin Hendrie had his four female assistants perform demanding “undercover” surveillance in Leeds’ nightclubs, recording how women were dressed and how often they were approached on concealed dictaphones. But it wasn’t just the women who were being judged. Hendie’s results also showed that the most successful approaches came from men who were neither too thin nor too fat and at least a head taller than their target. It also revealed that 30% of clubbers left as couples, though only 20% arrived so (Daily Mail).
Sadly, this research came too late for Geisy Arruda of Sao Paolo in Brazil, who caused a near riot at the city’s Bandeirante University by turning up for lectures in a mini-dress. Despite Brazil’s normally “relaxed” attitude to skimpy clothing, campus dress is often more conservative and Ms Arruda’s short, pink sheath dress attracted more than a few comments and cat-calls. She eventually had to be escorted from lectures, and the campus, by security and was later expelled for breaching the University’s ethical and moral standards and for offending its “academic dignity”. Her ban was promptly reversed however when she became a bit of a cause celebre, and Brazil’s Education Ministry became involved (CNEWS).
And yet more conflict ensued between academia and allure this past month when a number of female students from the prestigious Cambridge University in England posed for “cheesecake” shots for an in-house online magazine. Predictably, some called immediately for the images to be removed as they were demeaning to women saying that as a University, Cambridge should “do better”, an attitude site co-founder Taymoor Atighetchi dismissed as “intellectual snobbery" (Telegraph).
However support of a sort for the (very) fresh-women came from an unexpected quarter this week when Jill Berry, president of the UK “Girls’ Schools Association”, said that wanting to be fashionable did not make girls shallow. Speaking at the GSA annual conference, Mrs Berry said caring about your physical appearance wasn’t a betrayal of feminist ideals, and insisted that girls can have fun while also being taken seriously (Guardian).
But ladies, if you’re still unsure what to wear, then remember that other way to a man’s heart. That’s certainly an option for Jules Clancy, a food scientist from Sydney in Australia, who bagged a table for two at the world’s highest rated restaurant, the “El Bulli” in Spain, only to break up with her partner before the big night. In a moment of inspiration, Ms. Clancy decided to advertise online for a new dinner partner, and has been inundated with offers, though whether it is her charms or the food’s that is the draw is unclear (Orange).
(Picture: "Stupefyin’ JonesMoonbeam McSwine" from Al Capp's Li'l Abner.)
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.