Friday, August 31, 2007

Ballerina Inspired Hockey Star

The Canadian Press
30 Aug 2007

Did ballerina's visit choreograph Team Canada's 1972 comeback?

OTTAWA (CP) - Phil Esposito's triumphant performance in the final period of the 1972 Summit Series may have been inspired by more than just a burning desire to beat the Russkies.

At least that's what a tantalizing tale from the Moscow rumour mill would have us believe. Declassified records from Canada's national archives suggest a dressing room visit from a beguiling ballerina helped lift Espo's game to unparalleled heights. [...]

Stray Dogs Fed to Lions and Tigers at Zoo

People's Daily Online [China]
31 August 2007

Stray dogs on increase in Zhengzhou

[...] Police take away unlicensed dogs and send them to the zoo. If no one claims them within a week, rumor has it "they are fed to the lions and tigers".

"This may not be true, but the police have never made public how they deal with the dogs," Ye said. [...]

Speeding Ticket Rally

Cape May County Herald [NJ]
31 August 2007

Don't Believe the 'Legend'

By Al Campbell

RIO GRANDE - An e-mail "urban legend" is still circulating in county after two years regarding state troopers issuing tickets "every 10 to 20 a speeding ticket rally." N.J. State Police Lt. Gerald Lewis told the Herald on Friday, "There is no truth to it at all." [...]

Pennies From Heaven

Dear Abby [syndicated advice column]
30 August 2007

DEAR ABBY: I read one of your "pennies from heaven" columns more than a year ago. I thought the idea was quaint, but didn't pay it much mind because I've always felt that when someone's life ends -- that's it! I never believed in an afterlife. Well, I do now. [...]
[A likely incomplete list of other Dear Abby columns about people attaching spiritual significance to a penny they've found. -- bc]
Dear Abby
3 May 2001
Dear Abby
6 June 2001
Dear Abby
25 July 2001
Dear Abby
25 Dec 2001
Dear Abby
13 April 2003
Dear Abby
25 April 2004


Dear Abby
1 March 2009
[Pennies, nickels]
Dear Abby
6 April 2010
[Italian lira]

Dear Abby
24 October 2010

New Yorker

3 Jan 2011

Talk of the Town
LegaciesFour Hundred Dresses
By Gay Talese

[...] [Diane Becker, Elaine Kaufman's business partner, recalled that the recently deceased owner of Elaine's restaurant] "had a longtime habit -- something she picked up as a kid born at the start of the Depression to Russian Jewish parents who emigrated to the Bronx. Whenever she passed a public phone, she'd stick her fingers into the coin return, fishing around for change. At the restaurant in the afternoon, she'd often sit near the two phones and absent-mindedly check for change. I'd say to her, `Elaine, since people started using cell phones, you haven't gotten change out of those phones in years.' She'd check anyway. And she never got any change.

"A few days after she died, I was at the restaurant, telling Richie, our awning cleaner, that story," Becker continued. "For effect, I stuck my hand into one of the coin returns and, to my surprise, I pulled out a quarter. When I put my hand into the other phone, I pulled out another quarter. Only this one was accompanied by a penny. That was Elaine getting the last laugh and wishing me luck."

Woman's World , 26 March 2012, p. 38.

My Guardian Angel

Dimes from Dad
Angels don't just send pennies from Heaven -- any coin can be a sign! as Woman's World reader Lyndal Knight of Carmichael, California, discovered. She writes:

Even as my dad's illness made his world smaller and smaller, the twinkle in his eye never faded. And, cracking jokes and pulling pranks, he could always make me laugh.

One day I found him with such a serious look on his face, I kissed the top of his head. "A penny for your thoughts, Dad," I said.

"I think they're worth at least a dime," he quipped.

Soon after, Dad could no longer speak, though he could still show his feelings with his eyes. And when I brought the wonderful man I was dating, Ron, to visit him, Dad winked, signaling his approval.

They, all too soon, Dad slipped away. We knew it was his time; that, blessedly, he was no longer in pain. But knowing that didn't make it any easier on our hearts. It didn't help us miss him any less.

Aching with grief, I often found myself talking to Dad as the months passed.

"Oh, Dad," I'd sigh, my eyes welling with tears. "I wish you could've stuck around to get to know Ron -- you really would've liked him. I wish you were here cracking jokes the way you always did. I just miss you so much..."

Just then, I happened to look down -- and beside my slipper was a dime, heads up and twinkling.

And what's that? I wondered. Because inexplicably stuck to my slipper was a sticker -- and when I pulled it off, I gasped. Printed on the sticker was an angel's wing and the word Knight, our last name!

Blinking with amazement, I smiled as Dad's message dawned on me loud and clear: Dad would always "stick around" me.

But that was only the beginning. Over the next few years, my mom, sister and I began finding dimes everywhere -- always coinciding with when we were really missing Dad.

Then, last year, I had a bad fall, breaking my wrist. As I awaited surgery, everyone told me how risky it was, with the shattered bone fragments very close to an artery.

Dad, I found myself praying, please guide the doctors...

After the procedure, I was in recovery when, as two nurses were helping me roll onto my side, one commented, "There's a coin on her back!"

Even through the fog of the fading anesthesia, I felt a surge of love. "Is it a dime?" I murmured, knowing already that it was.

"Yes!" the nurse said. "But how on Earth did it get there?"

"It's from my Dad," I said.

"But that's against regulations. Everything has to be sterile..."

Smiling, I explained about Dad's sense of humor and signs, adding: "I bet he wanted me to know he's got my back."

Amazed, the nurses taped Dad's dime over my heart where it stayed, twinkling up at me as I healed completely -- thanks, I knew, to my dad, my angel.

Dear Abby
30 July 2012

Dear Abby
23 August 2012

Dear Abby
5 October 2012

Dear Abby
12 February 2013

Dear Abby
9 June 2014

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thai Roommate's Death

Jim Algie, "Oral Hex." Fortean Times 227 (October 2007), pp. 28-29.

[...] Hosted by Kapol "Pong" Thongplub from the witching hour until 3am every Saturday and Sunday, [Shock Radio, a Thai radio show,] mostly consists of callers telling tales of the supernatural which they've either experienced personally or heard from friends and family members. [...]

One of the most repeated tales has become something of an urban legend around the country's universities. "Two students are roommates, and one of them goes out at night to buy some food," shock-jock Pong tells me when I visit the radio station. "He ends up getting cut in half by some psychopath; but his ghost feels guilty about not bringing back the food, so he makes his way home. The ghost's roommate answers the door and sees his now-dead friend's upper torso floating there holding out a bag of noodles for him."

Such tales, far-fetched as they seem, say a lot about the Thai sense of friendship, love of food, and especially their faith in the spirit realm. [...]

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Subliminal Political Ad

The Leader Post [Regina, Saskatchewan]
29 August 2007

Porn meets politics

James Wood, Saskatchewan News Network

An NDP advertisement accusing the Saskatchewan Party of a hidden agenda has a dirty subliminal message of its own, the Opposition charged Tuesday.

The TV ad consists of a series of written phrases where some words fade away letter by letter.

Saskatchewan Party MLA Nancy Heppner said the phrase "The Sask Party stood for privatization of the Crowns" dissolves for a split second and can be read as "The Sask Party stood for porn" before the words fade out completely. [...]

Exploding Birds

Sydney Morning Herald
30 Aug 2007

Column 8

"All this talk of flatulent sparrows reminds me of a tall tale I heard whilst residing in London," relates a sceptical David Strong, of Rozelle. "It concerns the pigeons familiar to visitors to Trafalgar Square, and a means of controlling their number by feeding them breadcrumbs laced with baking powder. Urban legend has it that, having eaten the breadcrumb and baking powder mixture, a vigorous reaction occurs within the birds' digestive tracts, causing them to explode. I confess to not having verified this, perhaps other readers have?"

Sydney Morning Herald
1 Sept 2007

Column 8

[...] Ashfield's Matt Sheumack has invented a fine term, "pyroornithology", in response to Thursday's item on exploding pigeons, but has bad news (unless, of course, you're a pigeon): "In response to David Strong's pyro-ornithological query: No, baking powder will not make a pigeon explode; nor will rice, nor Alka-Seltzer. Birds, despite the myths, are able to burp excessive gas. If you want an explosion, try feeding them calcium carbide near a naked flame (produces acetylene gas in stomach acid) or magnesium silicide (releases silane, which reacts explosively with oxygen).

R.G. Orr, of Ramsgate, suggests another possibility. "I have been told that a seagull in a chip feeding frenzy eating a small piece of a mothball will also explode," he writes. "I've never had a mothball with me at the beach to check if it is true." [...]

Deaths Linked to Eclipse of Moon,22049,22327913-5006009,00.html

Daily Telegraph [Australia]
29 August 2007

Deaths linked to eclipse of the moon

AT least three people in NSW are believed to have killed themselves last night - sparking speculation their behaviour was influenced by the lunar eclipse. [...]

Foxes in Tasmania?

New Zealand Herald
30 Aug 2007

Elusive fox the new Tasmanian devil

By Nick Squires

A campaign to prevent an ecological catastrophe by exterminating foxes introduced in Tasmania has become clouded in a mist of slander, intrigue and conspiracy theories. [...]

But the alleged foxes have proved maddeningly elusive and the Apple Isle is divided as to whether they exist at all. [...]