Monday, December 27, 2010

Bob Geldof: "Give us your fucking money"

The Daily Mirror [UK]
27 December 2010

The urban myth of Sir Bob Geldof's legendary Live Aid outburst

by David Hepworth, Daily Mirror

ON July 13, 1985 I was at Wembley Stadium working for the BBC as one of the presenters of its coverage of Live Aid. [...]

[Bob Geldof] climbed into our little studio and demanded to make an appeal. In a break between acts I sat next to him and talked him through it.

He made his case as to why people should put hands in their pockets to help the starving.

“Fine,” I said and then, because I knew what order the captions would come up in, I added to camera: “Here’s the address...”

“F*** the address,” interjected Geldof. “Go to the phone number!” [...]

In the years that followed I’ve been engaged in that same conversation all over the world. The people who are convinced that Geldof said “Give us your f***ing money” range from those who claim to have watched every second of the broadcast to people not even born at the time. [...]

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Tree Vendor Legends

The Village Voice [NY]
23 December 2010

Tales From a Greenpoint Christmas Tree Vendor

By Jen Doll

[...] Stories tend to accumulate over the years, told from vendor to vendor, some of them real, some of them with the trappings of urban legend. "There's one I heard from a tree guy," [tree vendor Charlie Poekel] said. "Someone new was selling trees late one night. A good-looking girl came around, talked to him for 30 minutes or so, got him to sneak away, and gave him head in a nearby alley. When he came back, the story goes, every tree was gone."

In another tale, "This woman sold a tree to a drunk guy three nights in a row. The first two nights the tree apparently didn't make it home." [...]

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Keith Richards

Keith Richards with James Fox, Life (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2010), p. 209.

There was the thing of course of Marianne. Hard day on acid, she had taken a bath upstairs, just finished, and I had this huge fur rug, made of pelts of some kind, rabbit, and she just wrapped herself up in that. I think she had a towel around her too and was lying back on the couch after a nice bath. How the Mars bar got into the story I don't know. There was one on the table -- there were a couple, because on acid suddenly you get sugar lack and you're munching away. And so she's stuck forever with the story of where the police found that Mars bar. And you have to say she wears it well. But how that connotation came about and how the press managed to make a Mars bar on a table and Marianne wrapped in a fur rug into a myth is a kind of classic. In fact, Marianne was quite chastely attired for once. Usually when first you said hi to Marianne you started talking to the cleavage. And she knew she was thrusting it. A naughty lady, bless her heart. She was more dressed in this fur bedspread than she'd been all day. So they had a woman police officer who took her upstairs and made her drop the rug. What else do you want to see? From there -- it shows you what's in people's minds -- the evening paper headlines are "Naked Girl at Stones Party." Info directly from the police. But the Mars bar as a dildo? That's rather a large leap. The weird thing about these myths is that they stick when they're so obviously false. Perhaps the idea is that it's so outlandish or crude or prurient that it can't have been invented.

Keith Richards with James Fox, Life (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2010), p. 546.

Bert had died in 2002, but his memory was revived a few weeks before Doris died in a big press story generated by a journalist reporting that I'd claimed to have snorted some of my father's ashes along with a line of bump. There were headlines, editorials, there were op-eds on cannibalism, there was some of the old flavor of Street of Shame indignation at the Stones. John Humphrys on prime-time radio was heard to ask, "Do you think Keith Richards has gone too far this time?" What did he mean this time? There were also articles saying this is a perfectly normal thing, it goes back to ancient times, the ingestion of your ancestor. So there were two schools of thought. Old pro that I am, I said it was taken out of context. No denying, no admitting. "The truth of the matter" -- to read my memo to [his manager] Jane Rose when the story threatened to get out of hand -- "is that after having Dad's ashes in a black box for six years, because I really couldn't bring myself to scatter him to the winds, I finally planted a sturdy English oak to spread him around. And as I took the lid off the box, a fine spray of his ashes blew out onto the table. I couldn't just brush him off, so I wiped my finger over it and snorted the residue. Ashes to ashes, father to son. He is now growing oak trees and would love me for it."

Vanishing Genitals (Ghana)

Peace FM Online [Ghana]
22 December 2010

Man 'Jailed' Over Missing Penis

A Tamale Circuit Court has remanded 48-year-old Alex Ikege, a man suspected of making some persons’ genitals disappear, into police custody to re-appear on December 23, 2010. [...]

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Attempted Abduction at Toledo Shopping Mall

Toledo Blade [OH]
15 December 2010

Police: Westfield Franklin Park abduction story untrue


A persistent and startling story about the alleged attempted abduction of a young girl from the bathroom of a local shopping mall is untrue and has circulated widely through e-mail, authorities said Wednesday. [...]

The tall tale involves a teenage girl whose mother screamed to alert mall security when she saw the girl unresponsive and being carried out by two men from the food court bathroom at Westfield Franklin Park.

In most variations of the rumor, the girl's hair was disguised in some way by being shaved, dyed, or covered with a wig. [...]

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Armenian Children Kidnapped, Organs Taken

14 December 2010

Kidnapping scare: Armenian Police say abduction cases are case of urban myth

By Gayane Abrahamyan
ArmeniaNow reporter

Parents in Yerevan have been increasingly worried about their children’s safety in recent weeks as rumors have circulated that children have been abducted. [...]

Stories of horrific cases have circulated, usually including talk of “foreigners” coming into Armenia and kidnapping boys and girls to sell them for organ transplants. [...]

Friday, December 10, 2010

Roundabout Plan = Cup Stain on Blueprint

The Shropshire Star [UK]
10 December 2010

HIGNFY Telford roundabout joke’s ‘ring of truth’

Millions of TV viewers heard how rings left on a blueprint by a dirty coffee cup were supposedly mistaken by planners in Telford for proposed roundabouts.

The mark was said to have led to the myriad of islands being built, even though they had never featured in the architects’ minds.

The alleged stain on Telford’s character was aired last night on hit satirical panel show Have I Got News For You. It left the audience reeling with laughter. [...]
BBC News
10 December 2010
Telford roundabout TV claim 'is urban myth'

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Koro Outbreak (Nigeria)

The Vanguard [Nigeria]
7 December 2010

Two persons lynched over ‘missing’ genitals in Plateau

By Taye Obateru & Samuel Olaniran

At least two people have been lynched in Plateau State for being allegedly responsible for the disappearance of the genitals of other citizens in different parts of the state.

A man was stoned to death in Mikang Local Government Area while two others were set ablaze in Shendam Local Government Area of the state over the allegations. [...]

Shark Attacks an Israeli Plot

Ahram Online [Egypt]
6 December 2010

Expert shoots down conspiracy theory blaming Israel for shark attacks

Yasmine Fathi

A Sharm El Sheikh marine biologist slammed the conspiracy theory circulating around the country that last week's shark attacks off the South Sinai resort of Sharm El-Sheikh were part of an Israeli conspiracy, but the South Sinai governor supports it. [...]

The Jerusalem Post
6 December 2010

Egypt: Sinai shark attacks could be Israeli plot


Israel rejects the notion as "too ludicrous" for comment; German woman killed near Sharm e-Sheikh, Russian tourists also mauled.

Egyptian officials say they have not ruled out the possibility that a fatal shark attack in Sinai on Sunday could have been a plot by the Mossad. [...]

Reuters Africa
6 December 2010

Egypt puzzled after string of Red Sea shark attacks

By Mohamed Zaki

SHARM EL-SHEIKH (Reuters) - Shark attacks on tourists in the Red Sea have triggered a flurry of speculation as to what could have caused them, with suggestions ranging from overfishing to an Israeli plot to harm Egyptian tourism. [...]

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cholera Rumors (Haiti)

4 December 2010

How Rumors Rule in Cholera-Torn Haiti

by: Laura Wagner

[...] But the idea, however wrongheaded, that Haitians are particularly resistant because of their continuous exposure to unsanitary conditions, is now cited as proof that the emergence of cholera is something other than just a "germ," something outside the natural order, and something intentional.[...]

On November 16, a friend from the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Christ-Roi told me she'd heard that the UN peacekeeping mission, MINUSTAH, had released a box of dead rats into the water in Cap Haitien with help of "the Americans." [...]

Friday, December 3, 2010

Jenkem (Fort Pierce, Florida)

NBC Miami
3 December 2010

Waste-Filled Apartment Causes a Stink
Fort Pierce building condemned after drug habit leads to disgusting mess


[...] When police opened the second floor unit, they found bottles and buckets of what appeared to be human waste. Many of the containers had been dumped out onto a mattress and the bedroom floor.

Officers believe the wasteful renter may have been huffing "Jenkem," a hallucinogenic drug made from the gas of fermented sewage. [...]
WPTV-TV [West Palm Beach, FL]
3 December 2010
Smelly house forces tenants to leave
By: Carolyn Scofield

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cholera Caused by Powders (Haiti)

2 December 2010

Cholera panic sparks Haiti witch hunt; 12 killed

The Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Terror over a fast-spreading cholera epidemic has triggered a violent witch hunt in rural Haiti in which locals have murdered at least 12 neighbors on accusations they used "black magic" to infect people, police said Thursday. [...]

Rumors began to spread last week in the remote southwestern Grand Anse region, where the first cases of cholera are only now being seen, that Vodou practitioners had fashioned a magic powder to spread the infection. [...]