Odd Files

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The last dictator? Was Moammar Gadhafi the last of the “buffoon dictators,” asked BBC News in October. His legend was earned not merely with his now-famous, dirty-old-man scrapbook of Condoleezza Rice photos. Wrote a BBC reporter, “One day (Gadhafi) was a Motown (backup) vocalist with wet-look permed hair and tight pants. The next, a white-suited […]

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Read all about it Enterprising reporters get stories by earning the trust of their sources, which Simon Eroro of the Post-Courier (Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea) obviously did. At a banquet in November, the News Limited (Rupert Murdoch’s empire) awarded Eroro its “Scoop of the Year” honor for reporting on militant tribal fighters of the […]

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Government in Action —A British manufacturer, BCB International, is flourishing, buoyed by sales of its Kevlar underwear, at $65 a pair, to U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, soldiers and Marines must buy them directly; the “Bomb Boxers” are not supplied by the Pentagon even though nearly 10 percent of battlefield explosive-device injuries […]

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On the side, please “You eat meat, so why not blood?” asked The Globe and Mail, which sampled several Toronto restaurants’ sanguinary haute cuisines, including the Italian eatery Buca’s spaghetti with blood-blackened noodles and torta di sanguinaccio (figs, almonds, buffalo-milk creme, on a base custard of dark chocolate and slow-cooked pig’s blood). Patrons “thought we […]

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See it to believe it Saddam Hussein Back in the News: (1) Mohamed Bishr, an Egyptian man bearing a remarkable resemblance to the late Iraqi dictator, claimed in October that he had been briefly kidnapped after spurning an offer to portray Saddam in a porn video. Bishr’s adult sons told the al-Ahram newspaper in Alexandria […]

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For the birds “My ultimate dream is to be buried in a deep ocean close to where penguins live,” explained the former Alfred David, 79, otherwise known in his native Belgium as “Monsieur Pingouin” (Mr. Penguin), so named because a 1968 auto accident left him with a waddle in his walk that he decided to […]

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GOT WHAT?! London Fashion Week usually brings forth a shock or two from cutting-edge designers, but a September creation by Rachel Freire might have raised the bar: a floor-length dress made from 3,000 cow nipples (designed to resemble roses). Initial disgust for the garment centered on implied animal abuse, but Freire deflected that issue by […]

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Bureaucrat’s Delight An update of the official index for classifying medical conditions (for research and quality control, and for insurance claims) was released recently, to take effect in October 2013, and replaced the current 18,000 codes with 140,000 much more specific ones. A September Wall Street Journal report noted, for example, 72 different codes for […]

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Euthanasia Roller Coaster An option for suicide “with elegance and euphoria” is how Lithuanian-born Ph.D. candidate Julijonas Urbonas (London’s Royal College of Art) described his “Euthanasia (Roller) Coaster,” currently on the drawing board. Urbonas’ model of “gravitational aesthetics” would be a third-mile-long, 1,600-foot-high thrill ride engineered to supply 10 Gs of centrifugal force (a spin […]

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Fat for Sale Risky Business Models: (1) Orlando-area cosmetic surgeon Jeffrey Hartog inaugurated Liquid Gold, a storehouse for patients’ frozen liposuctioned fat, charging $900 to safekeep a coffee-cup-sized portion and $200 per year storage (in case the fat is needed later, as for smoothing facial wrinkles). A Massachusetts General Hospital physician shook his head, telling […]