News of the Weird

  • Article by: CHUCK SHEPHERD
  • August 31, 2012 - 3:30 PM

The ultra-Orthodox community's "modesty patrols" in Jerusalem are selling eyeglasses with "special blur-inducing stickers" that fuzz up distant images so that men will not inadvertently spot immodestly dressed women.

According to an Associated Press report on the phenomenon, the stickers apparently simulate nearsightedness, in that vision is clear in the near-field. The "modesty patrols" have long tried to shame women dressed in anything other than closed-neck, long-sleeved blouses and long skirts, but may be losing that fight. A columnist for the Tel Aviv daily Haaretz praised the eyeglasses for shifting the responsibility to men for their priggishness.

Eating adventures

Periodically, News of the Weird reports on foreigners' cuisines that most Americans find "undelectable." A June Wall Street Journal story featured a hardy, fun-loving group of New Yorkers called the "Innard Circle" who dine monthly at out-of-the-way ethnic restaurants in order to sample such dishes as camel's eyeball ("way different from a goat's eyeball," said one member).

Another member admitted "an element of showing off" to the exercise, and acknowledged that not all rookie members return for a second meal.

You forgot something

The way it usually happens is Mom and Dad start a road trip with their children, but after a rest stop, they fail to notice that one of the kids is not on board.

However, in June, the family member left behind at a Memphis, Tenn., rest stop was Dad, and for 100 miles, no one grasped that he was missing.

The family was traveling in a van, and everyone presumed Dad was in the back. He was still at the gas station, calling his own phone -- which was in the back of the van. Dad finally reached Mom in the van by posting to Facebook.

Jesus' resting place?

Attendance is still strong in tiny Shingo, Japan, where villagers are certain Jesus Christ is buried. About 500 tourists joined the celebration on June 3, in honor of Jesus' relocation there. According to legend, he lived out his life in Shingo uneventfully, and a festival with dancing girls marks the anniversary. The event was first held in 1964.

Fine wine, for cows

Some farmers treat their cows to special diets and more to improve the quality of their milk and their meat. In July, London's Daily Telegraph, in a dispatch from Paris, touted Jean-Charles Tastavy's experiment feeding three cows with a fine wine for four months. The wine was put in a mixture, along with their usual barley and hay.

The cows "loved" it and consumed it "with relish," said the farm's owner. The resulting meat, labeled "Vinbovin," is now a delicacy in Paris restaurants.

Stranded Stradivarius

The most recent musician to carry a rare, expensive instrument on public transportation but forget to take it with him was the person who in July left a borrowed Stradivarius violin on a train when he got off in Bern, Switzerland.

The violin was eventually turned in by a good Samaritan. (The last News of the Weird report of such a Stradivarius was the one left in a New York City taxicab in 2008. That instrument, reported as worth $4 million, was also returned.)

'Mole Man' house sold

William "The Hackney Mole Man" Lyttle, first mentioned in News of the Weird in 2001, died in 2010 after spending most of his last 40 years compulsively digging elaborate tunnels underneath his home in east London.

By the time authorities could stop him, the hollow shafts were endangering the street and adjacent homes. He was ordered to pay the equivalent of $560,000 so that the holes could be filled, and in July 2012 the refurbished home was placed at auction and drew a winning bid of the equivalent of about $1.5 million.

Fortuitous injury

Fortunately, 9-year-old Jacob Holdaway got hit in the head so hard during a game of kickball in Fairland, Ind., in July that he started vomiting and having severe headaches. When his parents took him to a hospital, doctors found a golfball-sized tumor that might not have been discovered until after it had become dangerously large. Doctors were able to remove most of the tumor and suspect it was benign.

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