“If the Messiah descends from the Mount of Olives as foretold in the Bible,” wrote the Los Angeles Times in an October dispatch from Jerusalem, the two largest Christian television networks in the U.S. promise to cover the arrival live from a hilltop in the city. Daystar Television has already been beaming a 24/7 webcam view, and Trinity Broadcasting Network bought the building next door to Daystar’s in September and has already begun staging live and pre-recorded programs using the broad expanse of the Holy Land city as background.
Can’t possibly be true
n Once again, in September, the upscale Standard Hotel, in New York City’s lower Manhattan, made headlines for the views it provides to amazed pedestrians. In 2009, it was the hotel’s floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing amorous couples at play (unless the guests knew to draw the curtains), especially delighting out-of-towners seeking inexpensive entertainment. Now, a September report in the New York Daily News revealed that the restrooms at the hotel’s Boom-Boom Room restaurant posed a bigger problem: no curtains at all. One restroom user, from Australia, said, “Sitting on the royal throne, you don’t expect a public viewing.” On the other hand, the Daily News noted one gentleman relieving himself and waving merrily at the gawking crowd below.
n Valerie Spruill, 60, of Doylestown, Ohio, disclosed publicly in September that she had unknowingly married her own father following the dissolution of her first marriage, which had produced three children. Percy Spruill, a “nice man,” she said, died in 1998, and Valerie told the Akron Beacon Journal that she had heard family rumors after that but only confirmed the parentage in 2004 (with DNA from an old hairbrush). After eight years of silence, from embarrassment, she went public, she said, as an example to help other women who come from tumultuous childhoods in which many men are in their mothers’ lives.
n Earlier this year, the National Football League suspended some New Orleans Saints players and the head coach for having a reward system that paid players for purposely injuring opponents. In September, coach Darren Crawford of the Tustin (Calif.) Pee Wee Red Cobras team was suspended when former players reported that the coach ran an apparently similar scheme among his 10- and 11-year-olds, using a cash reward of up to $50 for the “hit of the game” (with last year’s top prize going to the boy who left an opposing running back with a mild concussion). The investigation was ongoing, and no charges had been filed.
In September, the National Geographic cable TV show “Taboo” featured three young Tokyo partiers as examples of the “bagel head” craze in which fun-lovers inject saline just under the skin of the forehead to create a swelling and then pressure the center to achieve a doughnut look that lasts up to 24 hours before the saline is absorbed into the body. Some adventurers have injected other areas of the body — even the scrotum.
n In Ventura, Calif., in September, once again, a scammer tried to bilk victims out of money by assuring them that he could double their cash (in this case, $14,000) merely by spraying it with a secret chemical. (Of course, the victims had to wait several hours for their newly doubled cash to dry and eventually discovered that the scammer had substituted blank paper and by that time was long gone.) But the weirdest aspect of the scam is that people who are so unsophisticated as to fall for it somehow managed to amass, in this tight economy, $14,000 cash to begin with.
n For a September beauty contest of female college students in China’s Hubei province, certain minimum body requirements were established at the outset (beyond the traditional chest, waist and hip sizes). Among them, according to a report in China’s Global Post: The space between the candidate’s pupils should be 46 percent of the distance between each pupil and the nearer ear, and the distance between a candidate’s nipples should be at least 7.8 inches.
Unclear on the concept
n In September, Britain’s Leeds Crown Court meted out “punishment” to a 25-year-old man convicted of sneaking into the changing room of China’s female swimmers during the Olympics: He was banned — for five years — from entering any female toilet or changing room.
n In September, the city of Simi Valley, Calif., adopted Halloween restrictions on the residences of its 119 registered sex offenders, forbidding enticing displays and requiring signs reading “No candy or treats at this residence.” Shortly after that, several of the sex offenders sued the city for violating their rights, in that none of the offenders’ convictions were for molestations that occurred during Halloween. (The lawsuit is pending.)
n In October, Britain’s Gravesham Borough Council, weary of neighbors’ complaints about the noise and smell from Roy Day’s brood of 20 birds, ordered him to remove them and find them a new home. Day, a member of the National Pigeon Racing Association, told reporters of the futility of the order: “They are homing pigeons.” Said a friend, wherever Day sends them, “(T)hey will just fly straight back to him. ... He has never lost one.”
School of soft knocks
Richard Parker Jr., 36, was arrested in New London, Conn., in September after allegedly hitting a man several times with a pillow, then taking his car keys and driving off.
n An 18-year-old college student who had moved to New York City only three weeks earlier was knocked briefly unconscious in September when a mattress fell 30 stories to the sidewalk from a building on Broad Street in Manhattan.
n James Davis, 73, has been ordered by the town of Stevenson, Ala., to disinter his wife’s body from his front yard and re-bury it in a cemetery. The front yard is where she wanted to be, said Davis, and this way he can visit her every time he walks out the front door. Davis, who is challenging the order at the Court of Appeals, said he feels singled out, since people in Stevenson “have raised pigs in their yard,” have “horses in the road here” and “gravesites here all over the place.”
n In October, eight units in the Clear View Apartments in Holland Township, Mich., were destroyed, with two dozen people displaced, when one resident, preparing a meal of squirrel, had a propane torch accident as he was attempting to burn off the rodent’s fur.
The Weirdo-American community
Eric Carrier, 24, was charged once again in September, in Hampton, N.H., with attempting to commit indecent exposure by his scheme of faking a brain injury so that he could hire an in-home nurse to change his diaper regularly. He was similarly charged in July 2011 in Hooksett, N.H., after soliciting five women on Craigslist, and convicted in July 2012. (Though not explicit in news reports, the nature of the charges suggests that Carrier can very well control his bowel movements.)
It has been four years since News of the Weird mentioned the growing controversy over one response to Peru’s stray-cat problem, especially in the suburbs of Lima, and still, the outrage continues. Each September, the city of La Quebrada holds its Gastronomic Festival of the Cat, in which the country’s chefs try to out-do each other with creative gourmet feline (e.g., cat stew, grilled cat with huacatay herbs), which some Peruvians, of course, believe to be aphrodisiacs. Said one Peruvian, such cultural events “are our roots and can’t be forgotten.” Even so, animal rights activists have stepped up their protests.