Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Penny in Mouth Foils Breath Alcohol Test

Santa Fe New Mexican [NM]
31 December 2008

Santa Fe man faces fifth DWI charge

A 21-year-old Santa Fe man facing his fifth drunken-driving arrest Monday may have tried to use a well-known but faulty urban myth to avoid charges, according to a police report.

[Aaron Rubio put a penny and a metal screw in his mouth before taking a breath alcohol test.]

Monday, December 29, 2008

Dognapping Fear, Upper West Side, NYC

The New Yorker
5 January 2009

The Talk of the Town

Man's Best Friend
Shaggy-dog Story

by Kate Julian

[...] And then, several weeks ago, dog-napping terror hit the Upper West Side. E-mails began circulating (one subject line: "DOGNAPPING attempts in NYC with RAZOR and RANSOM -- get dogs ON LEASHES -- happening on West Side"), and flyers were posted at dog runs and veterinary offices and pet stores ("COMMUNITY ALERT: DOGNAPPING attempts on the West Side"). Dog owners, particularly women with small dogs -- said to be the prime target -- began to panic. [...]

New America Media
4 February 2009

As Economy Tanks, Is Fifi Safe?
'Dognapping' on the Rise in New York City

Louis Nevaer

Editor’s Note: In the latest indication of the deepening economic crisis in New York, a new phenomenon is on the rise: dognapping. The crime is entering the ranks of urban legend: Everyone knows someone who knows someone whose dog has been abducted and who had to pay ransom. [...]

Cheap Range Rovers for the Disabled

The Sentinel [UK]
22 December 2008

Are we funding Range Rovers for the disabled?

ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS: I was appalled to hear that you can get a brand new Range Rover for £5,000 if you are disabled.

That means that the public are paying the balance, which could be £45,000 to £50,000 for each one. Surely this money would be better spent on drugs that the NHS cannot afford.

There are children and adults suffering so that people can ride around in Range Rovers.

I am not saying that we should go back to invalid cars as in the 1950s and '60s, but to go to this extent is absolutely ridiculous. What will it be next, a Rolls Royce?


The Sentinel [UK]
27 December 2008

Free cars for disabled are a myth

MYTHS DISABLED: So Mr Wheawall resents disabled people having the use of Motorbility vehicles. Mr Wheawall, I am not disabled and nor do I have a 'free' car. However, as you seem so envious of what you believe others to have, I would like to inform you that disabled people are not given a new Range Rover for £5,000. If they have the money to hand over £5,000 for the use of a car for three years, they are able to use one. After three years, they hand the car back. They do not have a refund of the £5,000.

I have heard that some people believe that disabled people are also given free petrol for their cars. That is another urban myth.

The Sentinel [UK]
27 December 2008
Disabled drivers lease, not buy, their cars

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holocaust Memoir

The Associated Press
27 December 2008

Publication of disputed Holocaust memoir canceled


NEW YORK (AP) - The publisher of a disputed Holocaust memoir has canceled the book, adding the name Herman Rosenblat to an increasingly long line of literary fakers and bringing down with a crash his story - embraced by Oprah Winfrey among others - of meeting his future wife at a Nazi concentration camp. [...]
The Associated Press
28 December 2008
Anger, sadness over fabricated Holocaust story
The Associated Press
26 December 2008
Author, publisher defend disputed Holocaust memoir
The New Republic
26 December 2008
Wartime Lies
by Gabriel Sherman
The New Republic
25 December 2008
The Greatest Love Story Ever Sold
by Gabriel Sherman
New York Times
29 December 2008
False Memoir of Holocaust Is Canceled

Wedding Rings Thrown Into the Truckee River

Reno Gazette-Journal [NV]
28 December 2008

Getting 'Reno-Vated': The 'ring' of truth

Guy Rocha

[The Nevada state archivist examines the legend that Nevada divorcees celebrate their liberation by throwing their wedding rings into the Truckee River. -- bc]

John Milton Hagen, Holly-Would (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1974), p. 87.

Richard Wallace, director, informs us that the wedding rings thrown into the Truckee River after Reno divorces have been granted are recovered by hoboes.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Glass Club

William Guy Carr, Pawns in the Game (1958), pp. 82-4.

The way international intrigue was used to depose the Right Honourable H.H. Asquith when he was Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1916 was explained to me by a man who was extremely well informed. I met him while serving as King’s Messenger in 1917. We were in my room, in a hotel when, during the course of conversation, I mentioned that I strongly suspected that a comparatively small group of extremely wealthy men used the power their wealth could buy to influence national and international affairs, to further their own secret plans and ambitions.

My companion replied: “If you talk about such things it is unlikely that you will live long enough to realize how right you are.” He then told me how Mr. Asquith had been deposed in December 1916, and Mr. David Lloyd George, Winston Churchill, and The Rt. Hon. Arthur James Balfour were placed in power in England.

The story he told me had a remarkable similarity to the plot used by the Secret Powers who directed the campaign of L’Infamie immediately prior to the outbreak of the French revolution in 1789. It will be recalled a letter was used to lure Cardinal Prince de Rohan to the Palais Royal where he was involved with a prostitute disguised as Marie Antoinette. The alleged modern method is as follows:

Shortly after the outbreak of the war in August 1914 a small group of wealthy men authorized an agent to turn an old, but very spacious mansion, into a fabulous private club. Those who made it possible to finance such a costly undertaking insisted that their identity remain secret. They explained that they simply wished to show their deep appreciation to officers in the Armed Forces who were risking their lives for King and Country.

The club provided every kind of luxury, entertainment, and facilities for pleasure. The use of the club was usually restricted to commissioned officers on leave in London from active service. A new member had to be introduced by a brother officer. My companion referred to it as the “Glass Club”.[1]

Upon arrival, officer guests were interviewed by an official. If he was satisfied with their credentials they were told how the club functioned. The officer applying for admission was asked to give his word of honour that he would not mention the names of any persons he met during his stay at the club, or reveal their identity after he left the club. Having given this solemn promise, it was explained to the guest that he would meet a number of women well known in the best of London’s society. They all wore masks. The officer was asked not to try to identify any of the ladies. He was sworn to keep their secret should he happen to identify any of them accidentally.

With the preliminaries over, the officer was shown to his private room. It was furnished in a most luxuriant manner. The furnishings included a huge double bed, dressing table, wardrobe, cabinet with wines and liqueurs, a smoking humidor, and private toilet and bath. The new guest was invited to make himself at home. He was informed that he would receive a lady visitor. She would wear a brooch of costume jewelry with the number of his room. If, after getting acquainted, he wished to take her down to dinner that was his privilege.

The reception room, where guests and their hostesses mingled over cocktails before dinner, was like that of a King’s palace. The dining room was large enough to accommodate fifty couples. The ballroom was such that many people dream about but few seldom see. Costly decorations were set off by luxurious drapes, subdued lighting, beautiful women gorgeously dressed, soft dreamy music, the smell of rare perfumes, made the place an Arab’s dream of heaven. The whole atmosphere of the club was such that the officers home on leave relaxed at first and then set out to have a real Roman Holiday. There was nothing gross or vulgar about the “Glass Club”. Everything about the place was beautiful, delicate, soft, and pliant ... the exact opposite of the horrors, the violence, the brutality, of a modern war. Between dance numbers entertainers gave performances which brought out the feelings of joy, fun and laughter. As the evening progressed, a long buffet was literally loaded with luscious dishes of fish and game. A bar provided every kind of drink from champagne to straight whisky. Between midnight and one a.m. five beautiful girls performed the Dance of the Seven Veils. The dance depicted a scene in a Sultan’s Harem. The girls started the dance fully clothed, (even to the veil they wore to conceal the facial features) but, when the dance ended the girls were entirely naked. They danced the final act in their lithe-nakedness, waving the flimsy veil around and about them in a manner which extenuated, rather than concealed, their physical charms. Couples, when tired of entertainment, dancing, and other people’s company, retired to their private rooms.

Next day they could enjoy indoor swimming, tennis, badminton, billiards, or, there was the card room which was a miniature Monte Carlo. About November 1916 a very high personage was lured into visiting the Club when he received a note saying that he would obtain information of the greatest importance to the British Government. He drove to the Club in his private car. He instructed his chauffeur to wait for him. After being admitted, he was taken to one of the luxuriously furnished bed-sitting rooms. A lady joined him. When she saw him she nearly fainted. It was his own wife. She was much younger than her husband. She had been acting as hostess to lonely officers on leave for a considerable time. It was a most embarrassing situation.

The wife knew nothing of the plot. She had no secret information to give. She was convinced that both she and her husband were philandering. She thought it was only this unfortunate chance meeting which had brought them face to face. There was a scene. The husband was informed regarding the part hostesses played at the Club. But his lips were sealed as if in death. He was a member of the Government. He couldn’t afford to figure in a scandal.

1. An exact duplicate of this club was organized just outside Montreal during World War Two.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Killer Perfume Rumors, UAE

Al-Arabiya [United Arab Emirates]
22 December 2008

Claiming death of 18 people
Killer perfume rumors raise fears in the UAE

ABU DHABI (Ahmed Sherif)

Abu Dhabi police sought to play down fears among consumers on Monday that a killer perfume was on the loose after a rumor was spread by text message to mobile phones.

The text messages claimed that in four days 18 people had died after using the unnamed perfume and that another 35 had been admitted to intensive care in hospitals in Abu Dhabi. The text messages also urged the receivers to spread send warnings to the people they know as quickly as possible to rescue as much people as possible. [...]

Gulf News [UAE]
23 December 2008

Police deny rumours about 'killer perfume' in UAE


Abu Dhabi/Dubai: Police in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have denied rumours that some vendors were selling a perfume that could kill users in four days. [...]

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mae West's Earpiece

[Tony Curtis and George Hamilton appeared in Sextette (1978), Mae West's last film. By some accounts, she was barely sentient at the time.]

Tony Curtis and Barry Paris, Tony Curtis: The Autobiography (NY: William Morrow and Company, 1993), p. 251.

She had a hearing aid that was connected to the booth where Ken Hughes sat and smoked. It looked like a telephone booth with glass windows, and it was wired up to her earphone. Waiting for the shot, Ken would smoke, and this booth would get fogged up until you could barely see him. In the middle of my line he would say her line so that she could say it when I finished. But it was a high-frequency radio connection, and it picked up a lot of other stuff. One day during a scene I heard her say "605 Fountain" -- the hearing aid was picking up police calls, and she blurted this out -- "605 Fountain, proceed with caution!" or whatever the fuck it was. Another time she picked up some helicopter signals and started to report traffic conditions on the Hollywood Freeway.

Tony Curtis with Peter Golenbock, American Prince (NY: Harmony Books, 2008), p. 291.

As I said, Mae didn't know her lines, so the director sat in a closed booth just outside the scene and read her lines into a microphone that transmitted his voice over a shortwave radio signal. Mae had an earpiece that would broadcast the director's voice into her ear, and she simply repeated the lines as she heard them. The director would smoke while he was in there reading her lines to her, until the booth would become so full of smoke you couldn't see him anymore. When he coughed, so did she. I would stand there, watching this, thinking, This is crazy.

One time I was doing a scene with Mae, and we had the setup with the booth and the microphone going. The director said, "Action," and I gave my line, and Mae replied, "Altercation on Melrose and Sunset. Approach with caution."

The director yelled, "Cut!" Everyone looked at each other; those words weren't in the script. The director asked her what she was talking about, and she said something like, "Units are en route." Then we realized that Mae's earpiece had been intercepting signals from a police shortwave radio.

George Hamilton and William Stadiem, Don't Mind If I Do (NY: Simon & Schuster, 2008), p. 255.

When I met Mae for our first scene, I thought in was in Madame Tussaud's on acid. She was all of four feet tall, with platform shoes a foot high and hair a foot and a half. Here was our dialogue.

Me: "Hi baby, long time no grab."

Mae: "Vance, Vance, I thought you were dead. I was in mourning for three weeks. When I played on the piano, I only played on the black keys...a little to the left...What?...Cut. Cut...a little to the left..."

It sounded somehow as if it was coming out of Mae's hair. I turned in shell shock to my dresser, who said, "She's wired up," and pointed to the director. Then I realized that it was coming out of her hair. Mae was wearing an earpiece wherein her lines were being fed to her, and she just repeated them -- and anything else the director said. We went back to work.

Garage Door Porn

Tony Curtis with Peter Golenbock, American Prince (NY: Harmony Books, 2008), p. 112.

[Actor Donald O'Connor] was a hilarious guy, and we got along great. He used to love to use his film projector to secretly project porno films onto his next-door neighbor's garage door. A car would drive by at night, and you'd hear the tires squeal as the driver slammed on the brakes. Then Donald would shut the film off.

James Bacon, Hollywood Is a Four Letter Town (Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1976), pp. 23-4.

[One night comic Red Skelton] called me up to the house, which was high atop a hill in Bel-Air, and we went up to his bedroom. Red showed me a projection machine with a powerful telephoto lens and said, "Look down there on Sunset Boulevard. See that house on the curve with the white garage door? You see it?"

It could be seen, all right, but I was not prepared for what use Skelton would make of it. He took out a stag reel. I still remember the title -- The Little Sister. It was one of those filthy reels where the wife's gorgeous little sister comes to visit. The wife leaves the sister with the husband to get better acquainted.

Well, in a matter of seconds, they are well acquainted indeed -- both nude in bed and doing all the oral sex acts people do in stag reels.

Red had focused this reel on the white garage door on Sunset Boulevard. You could hear the brakes screeching all the way up the hill. Can you imagine driving down a busy street and seeing a girl going down on a guy on a garage door?

Showing this reel became a popular pastime of Red's -- until the cops traced the light beams. Red got off with a warning, but the curve forever after has been called Dead Man's Curve.

Quarters From Heaven

Dear Abby [Syndicated advice column]
20 December 2008

DEAR ABBY: I have a "pennies from heaven" story you might appreciate. [...]

And when I walked to the dresser to unpack, two quarters were sitting on top. It was then that my husband and I agreed that Darrel had stopped to say goodbye on his way to heaven. -- QUARTERS FROM HEAVEN
[In her response, Abby is uncharacteristically sceptical.]

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pharm Parties

The Des Moines Register [IA]
19 December 2008

Police, schools to probe tales of 'pill parties' in Urbandale


Urbandale police and school officials will investigate rumors of so-called "pharm" parties at which students exchange prescription drugs, sometimes stolen from their parents' medicine cabinets.

Also known as "fish bowl" parties, the gatherings have allegedly featured high-strength painkillers, anti-anxiety medications and stimulants, often washed down with alcohol. [...]

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Welsh Rugby Union Team & Papal Mortality

British Medical Journal
17 December 2008

BMJ 2008;337:a2768

Rugby (the religion of Wales) and its influence on the Catholic church: should Pope Benedict XVI be worried?

Gareth C Payne, specialist registrar in clinical neurophysiology, Rebecca E Payne, general practitioner, Daniel M Farewell, MRC/WAG training fellow in health services research/health of the public

Objective To explore the perceived wisdom that papal mortality is related to the success of the Welsh rugby union team. [...]

Coca-Cola Douches and Contraception

British Medical Journal
17 December 2008

BMJ 2008;337:a2873

Coca-Cola douches and contraception

Deborah J Anderson, professor of obstetrics/gynaecology and microbiology, lecturer in medicine

[...] Deborah Anderson explains why women really shouldn’t rely on Coca-Cola for family planning. [...]

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Deadly Bamba Snack (Israel)

Haaretz [Israel]
18 December 2008

Rumor of Bamba snack's link to spate of infant deaths brings down Osem stock

By Ayala Tsoref, TheMarker Correspondent

A malicious and false email announcing that a substance in the peanut-based snack "Bamba" caused a recent spate of mysterious infant deaths has caused the stocks of the product's manufacturer Osem to plummet. [...]

Monday, December 15, 2008

Foxy Pomeranian

Ananova [UK]
15 December 2008

Man's pet 'dog' was rare fox

A Chinese man was shocked to discover the dog he had raised from a pup was actually a rare Arctic fox.

Zhang, of Tunkou, bought what he thought was an all-white Pomeranian dog for £60 a year ago on a business trip. [...]

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cliff Richard, Colostomate

Sunday Sun [UK]
14 December 2008

Cliff Richard rumour poo-pooed

by Ken Oxley, Sunday Sun

IT'S hard to believe Sir Cliff Richard was ever serious about appearing in the next series of Celebrity Big Brother.

But the story that he has apparently pulled out because programme makers refused to give him a private toilet won't do anything to dispel a persistent rumour that has followed him for decades. [...]

[It is rumored that Cliff Richard had a colostomy.]

Rivals' Jersey Buried in Baseball Field

Gazette-Times [Corvallis, OR]
10 December 2008

The case of the buried OSU jersey

Rumors suggest Beavers gear may have been placed under Oregon’s new baseball field

By Brooks Hatch
Gazette-Times reporter

Oregon State and Oregon won’t revive their long-dormant baseball rivalry until March 27.

But the first beanball in the revived horsehide Civil War may have already been thrown. Rumors have been rampant the past month or so that several Beaver Believers secretly buried an OSU jersey or a commemorative Back-to-Back National Championships T-shirt in the ground underneath the PK Park playing surface. [...]

Gary Glitter Sightings

Scotland on Sunday
13 December 2008

Glitter sparks Moray madness

HE HAS gone from being a revered pop idol to one of Britain's most reviled sex offenders, writes Mark Horne. But Gary Glitter caused widespread alarm in a small corner of rural Scotland without a shred of evidence he had even been there.

A string of 'sightings' of the convicted paedophile along the Moray coastline have been reported recently. So strong were the rumours that officials at the alternative-lifestyle Findhorn Foundation searched their premises to find him. [...]

The Northern Scot [Moray, Scotland]
26 December 2008

On the trail of Gary Glitter

By Esther Green

GLITTERING stories of a shamed rock star starting a new life in Moray are finally beginning to fade. [...]

Kent Online [UK]
6 March 2009

Gary Glitter: Herne Bay rumours seem untrue

by Dan Irwin

Rumours that Gary Glitter is living in Herne Bay appear to be untrue.

Gossip has spread all week that the the disgraced singer, real name Paul Gadd, has moved to the town and accounts of sightings have snowballed since the weekend.

But all of them are unconfirmed; every one is from an anonymous source; several are contradictory, and no one has taken so much as a mobile phone picture. […]

Herne Bay Times [UK]
16 December 2008

Wanna be in Margate - Driver claims paedophile Gary Glitter was looking for bedsits

PAEDOPHILE Gary Glitter has been spotted by a bus driver who dropped him off in Cliftonville to look at BEDSITS.

Paul Wright says he would stake a month’s wages that he had Glitter, real name Paul Francis Gadd, on his bus on Friday morning. […]

Herne Bay Times [UK]
5 March 2009

Glam rock pervert Gary Glitter living in Herne Bay?

PERVY pop paedophile Gary Glitter has reportedly set up home in Herne Bay.

The 64-year-old singer, jailed in 2005 for molesting two girls aged 10 and 11, is allegedly living in Beacon Road – less than 200 yards from Herne Bay Infant School. […]

Herne Bay Times [UK]
11 March 2009

Facebook site formed to keep Gary Glitter out of Herne Bay

A FACEBOOK group demanding to know the whereabouts of pop pervert Gary Glitter has attracted more than 2,000 members in a week.

The group, called Get Gary Glitter Out of Herne Bay, was set up by concerned mum-of-four Jo Cleary after the Times reported alleged sightings of the former glam rock star in the town. […]

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tunnel Connects Convent and Boys' School (Ipoh, Malaysia)

The Star [Malaysia]
13 December 2008

Citizen's Blog

Mystery tunnels in Ipoh

Posted by: victorchew46

Search for a Tunnel in Ipoh

I read the article on the tunnel between the Ipoh Town Hall and the High Court with interests and as an Ipohite I wish to draw the attention of Mr. Kulasegaran (MP Ipoh Barat) to look into another possible one linking Ipoh Convent and SMI Ipoh [St. Michael's Institution, a boys' school -- bc]. This rumour has been going on for a long time but the actual existence is still a mystery to former SMI and Convent students! [...]

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Stuffed Cat

Elizabeth Starling, Noble Deeds of Woman; Or, Examples of Female Courage and Virtue (Boston: Hall and Whiting, 1881), pp. 210-11.

The following story, which was published in one of the periodical journals some time since, is too interesting to be omitted.

"An old chiffonnier (or rag-picker) died in Paris, in a state of the most abject poverty.

"His only relation was a niece, who lived as servant with a green-grocer. This girl always assisted her uncle as far as her slender means would permit. When she learnt of his death, which took place suddenly, she was upon the point of marriage with a journeyman baker, to whom she had been long attached. The nuptial day was fixed, but Suzette had not yet bought her wedding clothes. She hastened to tell her lover that their marriage must be deferred, as she wanted the price of her bridal finery to lay her uncle decently in the grave. Her mistress ridiculed the idea, and exhorted her to leave the old man to be buried by charity. Suzette refused. The consequence was a quarrel, in which the young woman lost at once her place and her lover, who sided with her mistress. She hastened to the miserable garret where her uncle had expired, and by the sacrifice not only of her wedding attire, but of nearly all the rest of her slender wardrobe, she had the old man decently interred. Her pious task fulfilled, she sat alone in her uncle's room, weeping bitterly, when the master of her faithless lover, a young, good-looking man, entered. 'So, my good Suzette, I find you nave lost your place!' cried he; 'I am come to offer you one for life — will you marry me?' 'I, sir ? — you are joking.' 'No, faith, I want a wife, and I am sure I can't find a better.' 'But everybody will laugh at you for marrying a poor girl like me.' 'O! if that is your only objection, we shall soon get over it: come, come along; my mother is prepared to receive you.' Suzette hesitated no longer; but she wished to take with her a memorial of her deceased uncle: it was a cat that he had had for many years. The old man was so fond of the animal that he was determined even her death should not separate them for he had had her stuffed and placed upon the tester of his bed. As Suzette took puss down, she uttered an exclamation of surprise at finding her so heavy. The lover hastened to open the animal, when out fell a shower of gold. There were a thousand louis concealed in the body of the cat; and this sum, which the old miser had starved himself to amass, became the just reward of the worthy girl and her disinterested lover."

[See also The Book of Three Hundred Anecdotes. Historical, Literary, and Humorous. A New Selection (London: Burns & Oates, n.d.), pp. 127-8.]

Cattle Baron Caught in "Missing Boy" Hoax

ninemsn [Australia]
12 December 2008

Cattle baron caught in 'missing boy' hoax

By Emily O'Keefe

A millionaire cattle baron from northern Queensland has been caught up in an out-of-control internet hoax started by an American teenager.

For the past year, Dale Appleton has been bombarded daily with calls to his remote cattle station Bulliwallah and his mobile phone.

The calls are from concerned people who have read a heart-wrenching email supposedly written by the parents of a missing 15-year-old boy, Evan Trembley. [...]

Baltimore Gang Initiations

Baltimore Examiner
7 December 2008

Baltimore gang initiations: Urban legend or real threat?

By Gregory Kane
Examiner Columnist

Baltimore Examiner [MD]
11 December 2008

Gang initiations: Real or urban legend? Part II

By Gregory Kane
Examiner Columnist

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Science Journal's Cover Is Chinese Brothel Ad

The Daily Telegraph [UK]
9 December 2008

Advert for brothel mistaken for classical Chinese poem

A respected German scientific magazine has been embarrassed to discover it printed a Chinese-language advertisement for "jade-like girls" and "coquettish and enchanting housewives" across its front cover.

By Richard Spencer in Beijing

The striking white-on-red text was intended to show off the Chinese focus of the official journal of the Max Planck Institute. [...]

The Independent [UK]
9 December 2008

Chinese 'classical poem' was brothel ad
Science journal mistakenly uses flyer for Macau brothel to illustrate report on China

By Clifford Coonan in Beijing

A respected research institute wanted Chinese classical texts to adorn its journal, something beautiful and elegant, to illustrate a special report on China. Instead, it got a racy flyer extolling the lusty details of stripping housewives in a brothel. [...]

Armenian Rumors

Armenian Reporter
10 December 2008

From earthquake theories to plane crashes, the art of spreading rumors in Armenia

by Maria Titizian

[Titizian recounts rumors about imminent earthquakes and banana exports to the Bahamas; that onboard gunfire caused the 2006 crash of Armavia Flight 967; and, as related below, that a bride was killed by a scorpion in the Sourp Krikor Lusavorich cathedral in 2001.]

I recall the day my young daughter came home from school in a fluster and said she had heard the most horrific tale. A young bride standing at the altar with her groom, just married, had collapsed on the cold marble floor of the church and died. The rumor was that a scorpion, hidden among the many layers of tulle and veil had bit the young woman, killing her instantly. I was horrified but questioned the truth of the story; yet my daughter's eyes were full of so much conviction that I told her it was indeed a tragedy. That week the rumor spread like wildfire and everyone was talking about it. Of course, it never happened. The reason for starting that rumor I'll leave to the imagination, but I suspect after that most brides checked to make sure there were no hiding scorpions in their wedding dresses.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Women Flash Breasts at Disneyland's "Jack Sparrow" Actors

KTLA-TV [Los Angeles]
8 December 2008

Flashing Girls Prompt Disneyland to Can 'Jack Sparrow' Actors


ANAHEIM -- Disneyland management has fired the four actors who played pirate Jack Sparrow because officials were worried about young female park-goers flashing the swashbuckling actors late at night, according to one former cast member.

"They lost control when they saw Jack Sparrow," said former pirate Brandon Pinto, who left the role after a dispute with management a year ago. "This is a sexy, rock-star pirate." [...]

KTLA-TV [Los Angeles]
9 December 2008

Disneyland's 'Jack Sparrow' Actors Fired


[...] Disneyland officials confirmed that the pirate was indeed fired (due to declining relevance and diminishing visitor requests), but flatly denied published reports that the dismissal had anything to do with female fans flashing their breasts at the swashbuckling actors who portray Jack Sparrow at the Anaheim theme park.

Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown called the breast-flashing rumors “absolutely false” and “simply not true.” [...]

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Willow Run Rumors

[General Motors' Willow Run transmission factory in Ypsilanti Township, Michigan, has been in operation since 1953.]

Ann Arbor News [MI]
6 December 2008

Future of historic Willow Run plant uncertain

by Stefanie Murray
The Ann Arbor News


Urban legends

Myth: There is a bomber airplane stashed somewhere underneath the Willow Run plant. [...]

Myth: There were thousands of dollars stashed away in lunch pails in the plant by an employee who had survived a World War II concentration camp. [...]

Myth: All the parts for two World War II .50-caliber machine guns are buried in a hole under the plant. [...]

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Daphne's Pearls

George Hamilton and William Stadiem, Don't Mind If I Do (NY: Simon & Schuster, 2008), pp. 190-91.

[Hamilton was in Spain for the shooting of L'Homme de Marrakech (1965).]

All the action in Madrid seemed to take place in bordellos. At another house of mirth I got into a scrape on behalf of the actor John Ireland[.] [...] Times had gotten tough in Hollywood for John, so he too was in Europe trading on his noir reputation. John took me to a brothel[.] [...] Because of my Spanish skills, John asked me to translate to his obscure object of desire what his specific desire was. I blush to tell you, so I won't, but it had something to do with a rare set of pearls John had bought for his wife, Daphne, in Majorca.

The next morning, John called me in a panic. He had left the pearls at the brothel, Daphne was flying in imminently from London, so could I go and retrieve them for him? Let me tell you that there is no place sadder than a Spanish brothel in the dead of morning. Bodies were everywhere; it looked more like Gettysburg than an orgy. There was no trace of Daphne's pearls. Surely the girl had absconded with them. But as I played my Inspector Clouseau act, I discovered that the girl in question was the consort of the owner. The owner called her to task. She was still drunk, but then she woke up. Of course the pearls weren't in plain sight. They were still in the unmentionable orifice where John kinkily had placed them. I got them back and left a huge tip. I arrived back at the hotel with the pearls just as Daphne was arriving. Daphne was never the wiser, but for John and me, "Daphne's pearls" became a running joke that had us laughing for years.

Friday, December 5, 2008

GRADUALISM and the Boiled Frog

Salem Kirban, Satan's Mark Exposed (Huntingdon Valley, Pa.: Salem Kirban, Inc., 1981), pp. 11-12.

GRADUALISM is that system of achieving social or political changes by almost imperceptible steps or degrees. Imperceptible...that's the slight and gradual that the mind or senses do not see any real change!

Put a frog in a pot of hot water and he will quickly jump out.

But place him in a pot of cold water and gradually heat it and he will bask in its warmth with a hypnotized tranquility until the water reaches a boiling point and it is too late!

That's exactly the technique Satan is using on us today as we approach the soon coming Rapture.

Penis Thefts (Africa)

Cameroon Radio Television
28 November 2008

Strange Phenomenon in the Far North: handshake equals disappearance of penis

In the Town of Guidiguidi in the Mayo Danay division in the Far North Region, fear and confusion now plague the men’s world after repeated reports of a strange phenomenon.

It all started few weeks ago when three men alleged that their sex organs had disappeared mysteriously, pointing fingers at another gentleman. [...]

The Guardian [Nigeria]
6 December 2008

Men Allege Disappearance of Sexual Organs

Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin

RANDY men who go after anything in skirt seemed to have reduced their nefarious activities going by the rumour of sudden disappearance of the manhood of some men after marathon sexual acts with suspected prostitutes in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital. [...]

"White Christmas" Banned

Geelong Advertiser [Australia]
5 December 2008

White Christmas carols ban rumour rejected

FALSE rumours that City of Greater Geelong had ordered the song White Christmas to be dropped from the Denis Walter Carols by the Bay due to racial connotations have been laughed off by organisers. [...]

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Japanese Obsession with Blood Types

The Guardian [UK]
4 December 2008

Typecast - Japan's obsession with blood groups

Justin McCurry in Tokyo

[...] The idea that blood type defines our personality, temperament and ability to mingle is routinely dismissed as nonsense, but that has not stopped four books on the subject from occupying Japan's top 10 bestseller list for the past year. [...]

Daily Telegraph [UK]
4 December 2008

Japan in grip of blood type obsession

By Danielle Demetriou in Tokyo

Ring Recovered from Fish 21 Years Later

The Associated Press
4 December 2008

The one that didn't get away yields long-lost ring

BUNA, Texas (AP) - The one that didn't get away held an unlikely surprise for a Texas man. The blue-stoned class ring of Joe Richardson, engraved with his name, turned up inside an 8-pound bass 21 years after he lost it while fishing on Lake Sam Rayburn. [...]

The Silsbee Bee [Texas]
4 December 2008

Fishy story has familiar ring to it

Special to The Bee

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Man Arrested for Gang Initiation Warning

The Jersey Journal [NJ]
2 December 2008

Hoax posts said women being shot in gang violence


A Jersey City man who allegedly made mischief on the Internet on Mischief Night by spreading false reports of gang violence in Jersey City and Bayonne was arrested yesterday.

Officials subpoenaed information from Comcast and the Web site, where the postings appeared, leading to the arrest of Andrew T. Lazaro, 19, of Bentley Avenue, on a count of causing false public alarm, Jersey City Police Chief Tom Comey said in a press release last night.

The sick warnings posted on JCList on Oct. 30 under the moniker "Tom" claimed that several schoolgirls and women in Jersey City and Bayonne were shot as part of a gang initiation, and caused a flood of 911 calls, officials said. [...]

Monday, December 1, 2008

Unpatriotic Starbucks

St Albans & Harpenden Review [UK]
1 December 2008

Councillors' outrage at "unpatriotic " coffee chain

By Emma Clark

AN email which has aroused outrage across St Albans against global coffee company Starbucks has been refuted by the chain.

Many town, district and county councillors across St Albans were shocked today to receive an email alleging the company had refused to send its coffee abroad to army camps because it did not support military action in Iraq, or the soldiers fighting there.

But the chain insists the email, sent out by an American Marine sergeant, has been circulating since 2004 and is totally untrue. [...]