Odd Files

LEAD STORY

Gen. Than Shwe of Myanmar, leader of Asia’s most authoritarian regime, made a rare public appearance in February but dressed in a women’s sarong. Most likely, according to a report on AOL News, he was challenging the country’s increasingly successful “panty protests” in which females opposed to the regime toss their underwear at the leaders […]

LEAD STORY

The Feral Professor: Tihomir Petrov, 43, a mathematics professor at California State University Northridge, was charged in January with misdemeanors for allegedly urinating twice on the office door of a colleague with whom he had been feuding. (Petrov was identified by a hidden camera installed after the original puddles turned up.) Petrov is the author […]

Lead story

21st-Century American Exports? In strife-torn Sudan (land of the Darfur murder and rape atrocities and a per-capita annual income of $2,200), an epic, year-long Ponzi scheme engineered by a lowly former police officer has enticed nearly 50,000 victims to invest an estimated $180 million (according to a March dispatch on Slate.com). At the height of […]

LEAD STORY

New York University arts professor Wafaa Bilal had his camera surgically removed in February — the one that was implanted in the back of his skull in November to record, at 60-second intervals, the places he had left behind (beamed to and archived by a museum in Qatar). The camera had been mounted under his […]

LEAD STORY

Tombstone, Ariz., which was the site of the legendary 1881 Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (made into a 1957 movie), is about 70 miles from the Tucson shopping center where a U.S. congresswoman, a federal judge and others were shot in January. A Los Angeles Times dispatch later that month noted that the “Wild West” […]

Odd Files, Feb. 25, 2011

LEAD STORY Getting Old, Young: (1) Jack Smeltzer broke a record in the tractor pull championships in Columbus, Ohio, in January — doing a “full (track-length) pull” of 692 pounds. Jack is 7 years old. The National Kiddie Tractor Pullers Association (holding 80 events a year for ages 3 through 8) uses bicycles instead of […]

Odd Files, Feb. 18, 2011

LEAD STORY The ear has a “G-spot,” explained the Santa Clara, Calif., ear-nose-and-throat surgeon, and thus the moans of ecstasy that Vietnamese “ear pickers” reportedly elicit from their clients might well be justified. A San Jose Mercury News reporter, dispatched to Ho Chi Minh City in January to check it out, learned that barber shop […]

Odd Files, Feb. 11, 2011

Lead story “Tall, slim, facial symmetry,” “good teeth,” along with classic makeup and dress and graceful movement, might comprise the inventory list for any beauty contest winner, and they are also the criteria for victors in Niger’s traditional “Gerewol” festival — except that the contestants are all males and the judges all females. Cosmetics are […]

Odd Files, Feb. 4, 2011

Lead story Those Ingenious Western Spies! In January, Saudi officials detained a vulture from Tel Aviv University (part of endangered-species research), calling it a spy and alarming its Israeli handlers that the bird might face a gruesome execution as an espionage agent. Then, a day later, Iran reportedly detained an Arab-American woman crossing its border […]

Odd Files, Jan. 28, 2011

LEAD STORY Do Ask, Must Tell (and Show): The Turkish military’s legendary homophobia (rare among NATO countries) comprises both zero-tolerance for homosexuality by service personnel and the requirement of rigorous proof by anyone applying for exemption from service by claiming to be gay. (Homosexuality is the only disqualifier from compulsory service for able-bodied men.) In […]