News of the Weird (June 2, 2013)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M321, June 2, 2013
Copyright 2013 by Chuck Shepherd

Lead Story

Low Fashion Meets Islam on Turkish TV: Five self-proclaimed devout, conservative Muslim women host the TV series “Building Bridges” on channel A9, presenting the seemingly contradictory case against both the female headscarf and Turkey’s turn to secularism. A report on in May noted that the five are “mostly bottle blonds . . . [with] neon lipstick” wearing “brightly colored satin pantsuits and T-shirts with designer brand names that stretched over their chests.” “Building Bridges” in principle supports interfaith dialogue, but guests (noted Slate) “often appear . . . with their eyebrows arched in the manner of a serious person certain he is the victim of a practical joke.” [, 5-2-2013]

Recurring Themes

Creative Smuggling: Abdullah Riyaz, 50, was arrested at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad, India, in April, after he appeared to be uncomfortable sitting in the waiting area. Officials found four “biscuits” of solid gold in his socks but obviously thought there might be more, and after nature took its course, found Riyaz to be one of those rare humans with the ability to brag that he once excreted gold (eight more “biscuits”). [Khaleej Times (Dubai), 4-19-2013]

A report circulated in April that an apparently Orthodox Jewish man (likely a “Kohen”) had tied himself up, head to toe, in a plastic bag while seated on an airline flight--likely because his teachings told him that flying over a cemetery would yield “impurities.” News of the Weird mentioned a similar report in 2001. Airlines have made accommodations in the past, even in the face of criticism that a man in a plastic bag is a safety hazard. (Exceptions to the Kohen belief: Accidental tears in the bag are excused, but pre-punched air holes not; Kohenim unaware of the cemetery overflight in advance do not need protection; and deceased family members yield no impurities.) [World's Greatest Newspaper, 4-11-2013; Jewish Press, 4-12-2013]

Accountability: The chairman of the National Showcaves Center in a Welsh national park, aiming to halt a recent downturn in tourism business, threatened in April to sue the UK National Weather Service for its “all too [frequent] . . . gloom and doom reports.” The NWS had called for snow and cold weather over Easter weekend, but no snow fell, and the cold weather was tempered by sun and blue skies. (He also suggested “health”-type warnings on forecasts, e.g., beware that weather reports might be wrong.) [World's Greatest Newspaper, 4-17-2013]

In New Haven, Conn., in March, police had trapped two car-theft suspects in a multifamily building whose occupants were hiding from the suspects, thus necessitating urgency in ending the siege. Officers ordered a K-9 unit but were told it would be delayed. In a tactic departments occasionally employ, officers still threatened to release the dogs immediately, and to make the threat credible, available officers began barking. The suspects quickly surrendered rather than face the vicious canines. [WFSB-TV (Hartford), 4-1-2013]

Herbert and Catherine Schaible, members of the First Century Gospel Church in Philadelphia and believers in faith-healing rather than medical care, were convicted in 2011 in the bacterial-pneumonia death of their 2-year-old son Kent. As a condition of probation, they promised medical care for their remaining eight children, but in April 2013, their youngest son Brandon died after severe diarrhea, again treated only by prayer, and they were arrested--and the other children removed from the home. The medical examiner called Brandon’s death a homicide, and the couple also face 5-10 years in prison for violating probation. [Philadelphia Daily News, 4-23-2013; Philadelphia Inquirer, 5-22-2013]

Detectives’ New Best Friend (Facebook): Christopher Robinson, 23, became just one of many recent suspects whose addiction to Facebook did him in. Robinson had never made a single child support payment in the three years since a court order was issued in Milwaukee, Wis., and the case had languished over how to prove that he was hiding money. Using other evidence for probable cause, the prosecutor got a warrant to search Robinson’s private Facebook information and discovered a candid photograph of him, laughing over a pile of cash. [ABC News, 3-23-2012]

The annual Chinese “Tombsweeping” celebration has been mentioned several times in News of the Weird, but has experienced a resurgence since 2008 when the government reinstated it as an official holiday. The theory is that people bring valuable items (such as jewelry) to ancestors’ gravesites and bury them with the body, which will upgrade the relative’s afterlife. Now, however, practitioners seem convinced that paper images of items are sufficient (and, of course, less expensive). Many simply leave signed (and generous!) checks for the dead, according to an April New York Times dispatch, and others bury representations of “mistresses” to accompany presumably-frisky corpses. [New York Times, 4-5-2013]

News of the Weird first learned of Kopi Luwak in 1993--coffee beans sold as gourmet because they had been swallowed by certain Asian civet cats and recovered from feces and washed. Since then, as Internet news of Kopi Luwak has spread, it is no longer obscure, and in April, the environmental-activist website warned that, based on increased demand, civet “farms” had sprung up in Indonesia and that civets were being caged to spend their entire lives solely for access to their poop. While none of the main Kopi Luwak civet species is formally “endangered,” activists warned that populations are dwindling for, an activist said, “the most ridiculous threat . . . to any wildlife I have seen yet.” [ (San Francisco), 4-16-2013]

In one of the more prominent recent “that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it” cases, Vicky Pryce, 60, finally gave up in March and admitted to a judge that her husband, not she, was driving their speeding car in 2003. She was married at the time to high-ranking British government official Chris Huhne, whose license would have been suspended had he been driving--and thus, she volunteered. The couple’s 10-year ruse had inspired two trials ending without decision. (Huhne “rewarded” Pryce for her loyalty in 2010 by having an affair. The couple are divorced and will be imprisoned separately for perverting justice.) [New York Times, 3-8-2013]

“Recovered memory” was a popular psychotherapy diagnosis in the 1980s, ultimately responsible for jail sentences for priests, parents, and school officials after patients suddenly somehow “remembered” long-suppressed bizarre and vicious (and some “satanic”) sex crimes that never actually happened. Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, of the University of California, Irvine, and other skeptics have since proven that false memories can be created and are now concentrating on fashioning them for beneficial purposes--to lose weight, to stop smoking, to curb drinking. An April report in Time magazine noted that “up to 40 percent” of people could be convinced that they had had bad experiences with a certain behavior and that properly identified, those people could be taught to avoid it. Said Dr. Loftus, “We do have a malleable memory.” [Time, 4-12-2013]

Briton James McCormick caused the deaths of hundreds of Iraqis after convincing a Baghdad police official that his “electronic” wands could detect bombs at 400 security checkpoints (in spite of U.S. officials’ many attempts to warn him that they were useless). (In October 2009, for example, suicide bombers walked past two wand-equipped checkpoints into a neighborhood and killed 155.) McCormick, who sold 6,000 of the devices to Iraq and the country of Georgia at prices of up to $40,000 each, was convicted of fraud in April. According to London prosecutors, he also claimed that his wands were programmable to ferret out drugs and paper money and to detect them from high above or up to a kilometer underground. [BBC News, 4-23-2013]

Catholic nun Megan Rice, 83, and two other peace activists were convicted in May of breaking into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., last year--and with “intent to harm national security.” Sympathizers lauded the activists’ motives and asked whether national security was actually “harmed,” but somehow the intruders’ stealth “attack” was treated less seriously. That is, three amateurs cut through numerous fences undetected, then bypassed several sensors and alarms (either malfunctioning or unmonitored) before being stopped by a lone guard. (While Israel currently frets over Iran’s accumulation of up to 500 pounds of highly-enriched uranium for building one bomb, Y-12 houses an estimated 400 tons.) [Washington Post, 5-8-2013]

Thanks This Week to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.
     Posted By: Chuck - Sun Jun 02, 2013

Weather woes: The Emerald Isle and England's Green and Pleasant Land got that way the same way, and it's not by baking in the sun. Now someone in Wales, which is between the two, is yipping about the weatherman not saying it would be sunny? If he wants better weather for the tourists, maybe he should just move the cave system...

Malleable memory: I notice the only example of "good" implantation of false memories was implanting bad experiences with unwanted behavior. However, the reverse is presumably also true, that they can implant false good experiences with desired behavior. You could make a fortune selling this sort of manipulation to married couples to modify their spouse's behavior.

Y-12: While I don't agree with people breaking in to such establishments, it does do the security folks a deal of good to be startled out of their reverie once in a while. Keeps them on their toes. Nothing defeats world-class security better than complacency.
Posted by TheCannyScot in Atlanta, GA on 06/02/13 at 12:49 PM
Building Bridges Click here for a 30sec clip of the opening. The girls seem to be a bit over sprayed but that is de rigueur for Turkey.

Creative Smuggling Talk about sh1tt1ng a brick!

Kosher Baggie Seriously, who makes this shit up?!? Who could 'fly over' a cemetery back when The Book was written?

Welsh Weather Bitch, bitch, bitch! We're liking to roast under this ridiculously hot sun down here in Greece so you should be happy you've got a little cloud cover. :coolsmile:

K-9 Kops What... no oinking & grunting?

Faith Healing Personally, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and Ma Nature was just thinning the herd.

Christopher Robinson Ain't it about time to retire this form of idiocy as it's moving into the realm of common, Chuck?

Tombsweeping Oh... it's only a paper moon girl.....

Caged Civets (ref quote) Yo! Tree hugger.... hold ont'a yur butt! You ain't seen nuttin' yet!

Chris Huhne One crime at a time.

Recovered Memory Don't these "learned" people go to the movies? Anyone thinking Total Recal? (The 1st one with Whatshiznegger.)

James McCormick The guy was recouping some of those tax dollars we've been throwing over there and BIG BROTHER step in to stop it?

Y-12 Security Breach :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: Nun of that now!!! :lol:
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 06/03/13 at 12:40 AM

Huhne and Pryce were released last month.
Posted by dumbledoor on 06/03/13 at 05:08 AM
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