Friday, February 27, 2009

Oral Herpes Spread by Beer Pong

East Valley Tribune [Phoenix, AZ]
27 February 2009

Herpes articles include fake Crow quote

Ryan Gabrielson, Tribune

The drinking game “beer pong” might be spreading oral herpes on university campuses nationwide, but you didn’t hear that from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And Arizona State University President Michael Crow isn’t distributing virus-free plastic cups to assist underage drinking in the dorms, contrary to online news reports this week. [...],+can+cause+an+increase+in+herpes%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=ca

[Google cache]

KNBC-TV [Los Angeles]
25 February 2009

Unprotected Beer Pong May Give You More Than a Buzz


Play at your own risk, if you’re willing to risk a cold sore. [...]

Pedophile Ring Rumors, Ontario

North Bay Nugget [ON]
27 February 2009

Rumours of pedophile ring were fabrications, inquiry told


Murky allegations that a pedophile clan operated with impunity in eastern Ontario were cast as fabrications spread by a misguided police officer and embraced by a panic-stricken community during four days of final submissions at the Cornwall inquiry. [...]

Marion Road Designed as Emergency Landing Strip

Post-Bulletin [Rochester, MN]
27 February 2009

Answer Man: Desk cost $4,652: Can we move on?

[...] Answer Man, as a lifelong resident of Rochester, I have heard many stories and legends of this fine city and surrounding area. One urban legend that comes to mind is that of Marion Road. There is about a mile stretch in front of the Armory that is straight and quite flat. The legend says it was designed and built that way many decades ago as an emergency landing strip for military aircraft if the need was to ever arise. Could this be true? -- Forever Lost in Legend

This one smacks of the truth, but I can't find anyone to verify it. Anyone have more information? [...]

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Liberia's Water Supply Threatened

25 February 2009

Blood Water: Liberia Narrowly Avoids the First Plague

[Myles Estey, a media trainer in Monrovia, Liberia, reports on his blog about rumors that "all the country's water supplies would turn to blood by morning, though other variations claimed the water would become bitter, or perhaps dry up."]

The Liberian Times
25 February 2009

Liberia: Rumor scars Liberians of potential water shortage, citizens brave the night for water

by Michael Kpayili / Staff Writer

[The Government's Information Minister denies there is a water shortage. Widespread queuing for water may have been caused by rumors that a prophet declared that "all drinking water in Liberia would be contaminated for three days." A devastating caterpillar outbreak that has polluted drinking supplies in Liberia may be the basis for such worries.]

National Geographic News

Daily Observer [Monrovia, Liberia]
26 February 2009

Liberia and the Liberians with another prophecy

Sando Moore

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Jack Aspinwall, compiler, Tell Me Another! (London: Century, 1986), p. 17.

Geoffrey Dickens, JP, MP

A very ugly woman asked me for an autograph at a summer fête I had opened. Certainly -- if you care to drop me a note at the House of Commons I will be delighted to send you a photograph, I volunteered. Four weeks later a charming letter arrived from that lady and after her signature she had bravely written Horseface in brackets. Filled with admiration for the way in which she had come to terms with her repulsive looks, I entered into the spirit of things. With a felt-tipped pen I wrote on the photograph 'To My Dear Friend Horseface -- Love and Best Wishes, Geoffrey Dickens.' After it was safely in the post and on the way to my courageous constituent, my secretary informed me that she had been extremely helpful in writing Horseface after her name in case I had forgotten the lady in question.

[An anecdote also told of or by Winston Churchill, Michael Portillo, and Clement Freud, among others. -- bc]

Honking at Green Light Can Be Fatal

Brownsville Herald [Texas]
24 February 2009

Brownsville police warn residents not to take urban myths received through e-mail too seriously.

By Ildefonso Ortiz, The Brownsville Herald

[...] One e-mail that particularly ruffled the student deals with a luxurious sports utility vehicle stopping at a light and not moving forward when the light turns green. When the driver of the vehicle behind doesn't honk, the SUV occupants get out and give the driver $100 for not honking. They further tell the driver that they had made a bet and if the driver had honked they would have killed him. [...]

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pet Dog Was a Wolf (China)

Ananova [UK]
20 February 2009

Pet dog was a wolf

A Chinese man was shocked to discover that the pet dog he had raised from a pup was actually a wolf.

Mr Li, of Xi?an [Xi'an -- bc], said he found the shivering puppy in the mountains on an excursion last year and brought it home.

He built it a den in a clearing in his village, fed it and took it for walks, reports Huashang Daily. [...]

Best-mistress Contest (China)

Shanghai Daily
17 February 2009

Best-mistress contest takes fatal turn at its finish

By Li Xinran

THE loser of a bizarre talent contest drove her former lover and the man's four other mistresses off a cliff in eastern China's Shandong Province in an apparent fit of anger, killing herself and injuring the others. [...]

People's Daily [China]
19 February 2009

Reporter fired for plagiarism in E China

A reporter whose story of a businessman's contest to decide which mistress to keep was fired after he was found to have plagiarized, according to a Wednesday statement of the local newspaper in east China's Shandong Province. [...]

Thieves Cut Purse Straps of Wal-Mart Customers

The Raleigh Telegram [NC]
20 February 2009

Garner Police Address Wal-Mart Robbery Rumor

GARNER - The Garner Police Department says a persistent Internet rumor that women's purses are being stolen in the store with razor blades is not true. [...]

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Skull and Bones Lawsuit

Washington Post
18 February 2009

Geronimo Descendant Pursues Spirited Fight

By David Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer

[Harlyn Geronimo, great-grandson of the Apache leader, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court to liberate his ancestor's skull from a Yale University secret society.]

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Filipinos Make Me Puke

The Manila Times
17 February 2009

By Alito L. Malinao

The ugly American

My good friend, the lawyer Juliano “Jelly” Nacino, former legal counsel of the National Press Club, emailed me an open letter by a certain Art Bell, a radio talk show host from Nevada, USA, and the reply from Ms. May Muñoz, a Filipina. [...]

[The letter, entitled "Filipinos Make Me Puke," is an old hoax. The Philippine Daily Inquirer also fell for it some years ago (Leah Salterio, "US Talk Radio Host Insults Filipinos on Internet," 1 July 2001, p. 27). Mr. Malinao's column ends with this comment: "All I can add is that if Art Bell comes to visit Manila, not a few Filipinos would love to skin him alive."

[Art Bell, who in fact is married to a Filipina, was understandably angry. "I am going to sue you," he wrote. "You have made a huge mistake....You did not do your homework as a member of the press and it is going to cost your newspaper a lot of money." The Manila Times later published two retractions.]

Manila Times
19 February 2009


Our sincere apologies to Mr. Art Bell

The Manila Times
19 February 2009

By Alito L. Malinao

‘Hate letter a hoax’ – real Art Bell

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ring Around the Rosy

Michael W. Dols, The Black Death in the Middle East (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1977), p. 78.

As-Safadi wrote that the plague-stricken Damascenes during the Black Death "looked like roses," which may reasonably refer to those conspicuous skin blemishes. This symptom recalls, in a morbid manner, our common children's song, "Ring Around the Rosy," which originally applied to these inflamed pustules during European plague epidemics.

(As-Safadi died of plague in 1363. It is unlikely the nursery rhyme refers to the disease. --bc)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Digitally Operated Sonic Generator

Sydney Morning Herald
14 February 2009

Column 8

[...] Stuart Prosser, of Otford, chimes in with more techno jargon (NASA, etc, Column 8, Thursday): "In the early days of CERN operations in Europe, when scientists used to let their hair down with riotous evenings singing along to music hall favourites, some younger blades were desperate to get their hands on a piano. Knowing that the beancounters had no appreciation of good music, or scientific jargon, they submitted a request for a 'digitally operated sonic generator' that was urgently needed for brainstorming sessions. I'm not sure if the Steinway they requested was ever delivered." [...]

Ernest Borgnine Lost Look-alike Contest

New York Times
13 February 2009

The Taco Joint That Loves Ernest Borgnine


[For seventeen years Tortilla Flats, a Mexican restaurant in New York's West Village, has held an Ernest Borgnine look-alike contest in honor of the uglesome actor.]

[...] There is an urban legend that Mr. Borgnine once entered the look-alike contest -- and lost. "That's the kind of publicity I have down there," Mr. Borgnine said. [...]

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Shoe Tree, Florence, Alabama

The Times Daily [Florence, AL]
10 February 2009

Forget the fruit - this tree bears shoes

By Lisa Singleton-Rickman
Staff Writer

CHEROKEE - There's a shoe-bearing tree on the outskirts of town, alongside U.S. 72, that through the years has gained the attention of all who pass it. [...]

"I heard one child say the tree was there to provide shoes for poor people, and perhaps it has served that purpose," said Cherokee resident Martha Couch, the town's authority on shoe trees since photographing one with hundreds of shoes hanging on it in Utah three years ago.

Couch laughs at rumors that the tree, with its dozens of shoes draped over its branches, is a marker for gang turf.

"That's ridiculous to me because there are plenty of high heels and even baby shoes on that tree," she said. [...]

Monday, February 9, 2009


New Scientist [UK]
4 February 2009


[...] THE mother of a friend of Dave Higginbottom was trying to get the hang of her daughter's computer. After a while, she shouted to her daughter: "What do you do when a squiggly red line appears under a word?"

"Just right-click," replied her daughter from the next room.

A moment later the mother replied: "I've written 'click' but it makes no difference. I just get the word 'click' after the word with the squiggly line." [...]

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Inescapable Package

James Kirkup's booklet, Modern American Myths, consists for the most part of retellings of stories from Brunvand's The Vanishing Hitchhiker, but it does contain one humorous personal experience story.

James Kirkup, Modern American Myths: The Folktales of the Young Today in America (Tokyo: New Currents International, 1985), p. 52.

[I am reminded] of an experience I once had in Japan, when I was trying to get rid of a parcel of dirty old clothes. I wrapped them up neatly, and tried to leave the parcel in the Tokyo subway: but just as I was leaving the train, a kind lady ran after me with the parcel, and handed it to me, smiling and bowing: I had to pretend to be grateful. I left it in a coffeeshop, but a waitress came running after me in the street with the parcel. Finally I threw it into Lake Yamanaka, but it was washed up on the shore. The parcel was taken to the local police, who suspected that the clothes must belong to a suicide. So they checked the dry-cleaner's marks on the clothes, and found the cleaning shop where I usually had my clothes dry-cleaned. You can imagine my surprise when the delivery boy from the dry-cleaner's brought me the parcel of clothes one morning -- all freshly washed and cleaned!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Jealous Cats Deliberately Smother Human Babies

Houston Chronicle
3 February 2009

Cats kill babies? Bunk, experts say


[In Families Today, a syndicated column by Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, he wrote that cats "have been known to be jealous of new babies as if the new arrivals were siblings! Some cats will seek out the babies' mouths and noses and lie on them to smother them."]

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

La-a (Child's Name)

The Spectator [UK]
3 February 2009

Department of Pronunciation

Alex Massie

A friend's wife was conducting a teacher training session in Anacostia, Washington DC the other day: [...]

[In one of her classes there was a child named Bukat (pronounced Bukuhtee, as in Booker T. Washington) and one named La-a (pronounced Ladasha).]

UPDATE: In the comments Corey points out that Snopes have investigated La-a previously and classified it as "undetermined". Well, all I can say is that I trust my friend's wife. If she says there's a kid named La-a in Anacostia, I reckon there is such a kid.