Friday, August 31, 2007

Ballerina Inspired Hockey Star

The Canadian Press
30 Aug 2007

Did ballerina's visit choreograph Team Canada's 1972 comeback?

OTTAWA (CP) - Phil Esposito's triumphant performance in the final period of the 1972 Summit Series may have been inspired by more than just a burning desire to beat the Russkies.

At least that's what a tantalizing tale from the Moscow rumour mill would have us believe. Declassified records from Canada's national archives suggest a dressing room visit from a beguiling ballerina helped lift Espo's game to unparalleled heights. [...]

Stray Dogs Fed to Lions and Tigers at Zoo

People's Daily Online [China]
31 August 2007

Stray dogs on increase in Zhengzhou

[...] Police take away unlicensed dogs and send them to the zoo. If no one claims them within a week, rumor has it "they are fed to the lions and tigers".

"This may not be true, but the police have never made public how they deal with the dogs," Ye said. [...]

Speeding Ticket Rally

Cape May County Herald [NJ]
31 August 2007

Don't Believe the 'Legend'

By Al Campbell

RIO GRANDE - An e-mail "urban legend" is still circulating in county after two years regarding state troopers issuing tickets "every 10 to 20 a speeding ticket rally." N.J. State Police Lt. Gerald Lewis told the Herald on Friday, "There is no truth to it at all." [...]

Pennies From Heaven

Dear Abby [syndicated advice column]
30 August 2007

DEAR ABBY: I read one of your "pennies from heaven" columns more than a year ago. I thought the idea was quaint, but didn't pay it much mind because I've always felt that when someone's life ends -- that's it! I never believed in an afterlife. Well, I do now. [...]
[A likely incomplete list of other Dear Abby columns about people attaching spiritual significance to a penny they've found. -- bc]
Dear Abby
3 May 2001
Dear Abby
6 June 2001
Dear Abby
25 July 2001
Dear Abby
25 Dec 2001
Dear Abby
13 April 2003
Dear Abby
25 April 2004


Dear Abby
1 March 2009
[Pennies, nickels]
Dear Abby
6 April 2010
[Italian lira]

Dear Abby
24 October 2010

New Yorker

3 Jan 2011

Talk of the Town
LegaciesFour Hundred Dresses
By Gay Talese

[...] [Diane Becker, Elaine Kaufman's business partner, recalled that the recently deceased owner of Elaine's restaurant] "had a longtime habit -- something she picked up as a kid born at the start of the Depression to Russian Jewish parents who emigrated to the Bronx. Whenever she passed a public phone, she'd stick her fingers into the coin return, fishing around for change. At the restaurant in the afternoon, she'd often sit near the two phones and absent-mindedly check for change. I'd say to her, `Elaine, since people started using cell phones, you haven't gotten change out of those phones in years.' She'd check anyway. And she never got any change.

"A few days after she died, I was at the restaurant, telling Richie, our awning cleaner, that story," Becker continued. "For effect, I stuck my hand into one of the coin returns and, to my surprise, I pulled out a quarter. When I put my hand into the other phone, I pulled out another quarter. Only this one was accompanied by a penny. That was Elaine getting the last laugh and wishing me luck."

Woman's World , 26 March 2012, p. 38.

My Guardian Angel

Dimes from Dad
Angels don't just send pennies from Heaven -- any coin can be a sign! as Woman's World reader Lyndal Knight of Carmichael, California, discovered. She writes:

Even as my dad's illness made his world smaller and smaller, the twinkle in his eye never faded. And, cracking jokes and pulling pranks, he could always make me laugh.

One day I found him with such a serious look on his face, I kissed the top of his head. "A penny for your thoughts, Dad," I said.

"I think they're worth at least a dime," he quipped.

Soon after, Dad could no longer speak, though he could still show his feelings with his eyes. And when I brought the wonderful man I was dating, Ron, to visit him, Dad winked, signaling his approval.

They, all too soon, Dad slipped away. We knew it was his time; that, blessedly, he was no longer in pain. But knowing that didn't make it any easier on our hearts. It didn't help us miss him any less.

Aching with grief, I often found myself talking to Dad as the months passed.

"Oh, Dad," I'd sigh, my eyes welling with tears. "I wish you could've stuck around to get to know Ron -- you really would've liked him. I wish you were here cracking jokes the way you always did. I just miss you so much..."

Just then, I happened to look down -- and beside my slipper was a dime, heads up and twinkling.

And what's that? I wondered. Because inexplicably stuck to my slipper was a sticker -- and when I pulled it off, I gasped. Printed on the sticker was an angel's wing and the word Knight, our last name!

Blinking with amazement, I smiled as Dad's message dawned on me loud and clear: Dad would always "stick around" me.

But that was only the beginning. Over the next few years, my mom, sister and I began finding dimes everywhere -- always coinciding with when we were really missing Dad.

Then, last year, I had a bad fall, breaking my wrist. As I awaited surgery, everyone told me how risky it was, with the shattered bone fragments very close to an artery.

Dad, I found myself praying, please guide the doctors...

After the procedure, I was in recovery when, as two nurses were helping me roll onto my side, one commented, "There's a coin on her back!"

Even through the fog of the fading anesthesia, I felt a surge of love. "Is it a dime?" I murmured, knowing already that it was.

"Yes!" the nurse said. "But how on Earth did it get there?"

"It's from my Dad," I said.

"But that's against regulations. Everything has to be sterile..."

Smiling, I explained about Dad's sense of humor and signs, adding: "I bet he wanted me to know he's got my back."

Amazed, the nurses taped Dad's dime over my heart where it stayed, twinkling up at me as I healed completely -- thanks, I knew, to my dad, my angel.

Dear Abby
30 July 2012

Dear Abby
23 August 2012
Dear Abby
5 October 2012

Dear Abby
12 February 2013

Dear Abby
9 June 2014

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thai Roommate's Death

Jim Algie, "Oral Hex." Fortean Times 227 (October 2007), pp. 28-29.

[...] Hosted by Kapol "Pong" Thongplub from the witching hour until 3am every Saturday and Sunday, [Shock Radio, a Thai radio show,] mostly consists of callers telling tales of the supernatural which they've either experienced personally or heard from friends and family members. [...]

One of the most repeated tales has become something of an urban legend around the country's universities. "Two students are roommates, and one of them goes out at night to buy some food," shock-jock Pong tells me when I visit the radio station. "He ends up getting cut in half by some psychopath; but his ghost feels guilty about not bringing back the food, so he makes his way home. The ghost's roommate answers the door and sees his now-dead friend's upper torso floating there holding out a bag of noodles for him."

Such tales, far-fetched as they seem, say a lot about the Thai sense of friendship, love of food, and especially their faith in the spirit realm. [...]

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Subliminal Political Ad

The Leader Post [Regina, Saskatchewan]
29 August 2007

Porn meets politics

James Wood, Saskatchewan News Network

An NDP advertisement accusing the Saskatchewan Party of a hidden agenda has a dirty subliminal message of its own, the Opposition charged Tuesday.

The TV ad consists of a series of written phrases where some words fade away letter by letter.

Saskatchewan Party MLA Nancy Heppner said the phrase "The Sask Party stood for privatization of the Crowns" dissolves for a split second and can be read as "The Sask Party stood for porn" before the words fade out completely. [...]

Exploding Birds

Sydney Morning Herald
30 Aug 2007

Column 8

"All this talk of flatulent sparrows reminds me of a tall tale I heard whilst residing in London," relates a sceptical David Strong, of Rozelle. "It concerns the pigeons familiar to visitors to Trafalgar Square, and a means of controlling their number by feeding them breadcrumbs laced with baking powder. Urban legend has it that, having eaten the breadcrumb and baking powder mixture, a vigorous reaction occurs within the birds' digestive tracts, causing them to explode. I confess to not having verified this, perhaps other readers have?"

Sydney Morning Herald
1 Sept 2007

Column 8

[...] Ashfield's Matt Sheumack has invented a fine term, "pyroornithology", in response to Thursday's item on exploding pigeons, but has bad news (unless, of course, you're a pigeon): "In response to David Strong's pyro-ornithological query: No, baking powder will not make a pigeon explode; nor will rice, nor Alka-Seltzer. Birds, despite the myths, are able to burp excessive gas. If you want an explosion, try feeding them calcium carbide near a naked flame (produces acetylene gas in stomach acid) or magnesium silicide (releases silane, which reacts explosively with oxygen).

R.G. Orr, of Ramsgate, suggests another possibility. "I have been told that a seagull in a chip feeding frenzy eating a small piece of a mothball will also explode," he writes. "I've never had a mothball with me at the beach to check if it is true." [...]

Deaths Linked to Eclipse of Moon,22049,22327913-5006009,00.html

Daily Telegraph [Australia]
29 August 2007

Deaths linked to eclipse of the moon

AT least three people in NSW are believed to have killed themselves last night - sparking speculation their behaviour was influenced by the lunar eclipse. [...]

Foxes in Tasmania?

New Zealand Herald
30 Aug 2007

Elusive fox the new Tasmanian devil

By Nick Squires

A campaign to prevent an ecological catastrophe by exterminating foxes introduced in Tasmania has become clouded in a mist of slander, intrigue and conspiracy theories. [...]

But the alleged foxes have proved maddeningly elusive and the Apple Isle is divided as to whether they exist at all. [...]

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tuition Paid for Students Hit by Bus

The O'Collegian [Oklahoma State University]
28 August 2007

The Informer

By Sean Harkin

I have always heard that if an OSU Bus hits me while I am in a crosswalk, I will get my tuition paid for. Is that true? [...]

Blizzard Baby Boom

KMGH [Denver, CO]
27 Aug 2007

Denver Expecting Blizzard Baby Boom
Local Doctors Say The Number of Delivery's Are Up

Lisa Hidalgo, 7NEWS Meteorologist

DENVER -- Thanks to a persistent Mother Nature, local doctors say Denver's going to see a baby boom, just nine months after the blizzards of 2006. [...]

Monday, August 27, 2007

Jay Scott's Jump

Edinburgh Evening News
27 August 2007

Wild Porage Oats man who made a splash


[...] Jay [Scott] enjoyed worldwide fame in the 1950s and 1960s as a Highland Games heavyweight champion, but modern audiences will know him best as the kilted shot-putter on the boxes of Scott's Porage Oats. [...]

[His son Rob] recounts a story he heard about his father's athleticism. "He apparently turned up at the Braemar games late for his jump event and they wouldn't let him join. But after the winner had been proclaimed, my father jumped right over the winning height, wearing a mac and a kilt and with two suitcases in his hands." [...]

Keith Urban Hates Canadians

The Minot Daily News [ND]
27 August 2007

Urban legend still making rounds

By DAN FELDNER, Staff Writer

[...] Hougestol, a 71-year-old resident of Red Deer, Alberta, was more than a little upset when she received an e-mail from a friend Aug. 15 concerning country singer Keith Urban. The e-mail stated matter of factly that while Urban was playing at the North Dakota State Fair on July 21, 2006, he had asked all the Canadians in the audience to stand up and walk out before he would perform. The rumor claims that Urban was upset with Canada for not doing more to aid the United States in its military campaign in Iraq, and that he refused to play for Canadians as a result. [...]

Deliveries at Rear

New Scientist [UK]
25 Aug 2007, p. 80.

Feedback [column]

[...] FINALLY, we asked you a couple of weeks ago if it is true that there is a sign at a hospital in Southampton, UK, that says: "Maternity Department - Deliveries at Rear" (4 August). Thanks to the many of you who responded and sent photographs to prove your point. You all agreed that such a sign does exist, but you all also noted that it is located in the grounds of the University of Southampton, not the hospital, and that the actual wording of the sign is: "University of Southampton School of Nursing and Midwifery. Deliveries at rear of building." [...]
New Scientist [UK]
30 June 2007
New Scientist [UK]
4 Aug 2007

Nigel Rees, Foot in Mouth (London: Unwin Paperbacks, 1982, p. 136.

[Drawing of a sign supposedly seen at Barnstable Health Centre: "FAMILY PLANNING. PLEASE USE REAR ENTRANCE".]

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Black Cats Killed in Italy

Sunday Telegraph [UK]
26 August 2007

Bad luck for black cats in Italy

By Carmiola Ionescu, Sunday Telegraph

A leading animal rights group has estimated that 60,000 black cats are killed every year by Italians who believe that they bring bad luck.

The Italian Association for the Protection of Animals and the Environment claims that some are also killed as part of black magic rituals. [...]

710 Cap = OIL Cap,1,346396.column?coll=la-news-a_section&ctrack=1&cset=true

Los Angeles Times
26 August 2007

She looks at things differently, that's all

Steve Harvey

A friend of a friend told me a story about a fashionably dressed female motorist who walked into a local car parts shop and asked for a "seven 10 cap."

"What's a seven 10 cap?" asked one of the workers.

"You know, it's right on the engine," she said. "Mine got lost somehow and I need a new one."

"What does it do?" she was asked.

She said she didn't know.

Finally the workers had her draw a picture of it. She drew a circle and wrote "710" in the circle.

The guys behind the counter, looking at it upside down as she wrote it, realized she wanted an "OIL" cap. [...]

Friday, August 24, 2007

Eviction Notice

The Chronicle Herald [Halifax, NS, Canada]
24 August 2007

Woman’s threatening note a hoax


"Please be advised that your home will be ransacked, doused in gasoline and torched to the ground as of 9 p.m. tonight," the Department of Housing notice read. [...]

The Chronicle Herald [Halifax, NS, Canada] 25 August 2007

Mock eviction idea cancelled


A mock eviction notice that terrified a Korean-speaking woman into thinking her Halifax-area home would be burned down turned out to be part of a UN-sponsored campaign highlighting the plight of refugees throughout the world. [...]

UNHCR Canada - Current Appeals


Thursday, August 23, 2007

College Application Question

Aug 20-27, 2007, p. 59.

The Search for Authenticity

By Bruce Poch

A tale circulating among my colleagues at other colleges tells of a student's taking a rather iteral approach to these application instructions: "Ask yourself a question and give us the answer." The student wrote: "Do you play the tuba?" The answer: "No." In the anecdote, some of the admissions officers were irritated by the cryptic reply; others praised it as uniquely revealing. It certainly meshed with teacher recommendations, which described the student as a bright risk-taker who didn't worship at the altar of grades.

Colleagues who hear the story and who think the student's essay was smart, sassy and fun aren't surprised to learn he was accepted at a top school. [...]

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cursed Carving; Killer SMS Scare

22 August 2007

Paging Mr. Indiana Jones

CAIRO (Reuters) - A German has handed in a package containing part of a Pharaonic carving to Egypt's embassy in Berlin, with a note saying his stepfather had suffered a "curse of the pharaohs" for stealing it, Egypt said Wednesday. [...]
Daily Telegraph [UK]
25 Aug 2007
Egyptian tomb raider dies from 'curse'
By Harry de Quetteville in Berlin
Times of India
23 August 2007

Killer SMS hoax doing rounds

MUMBAI: On Wednesday, an SMS started doing the rounds of cellphones. It urged people not to accept calls from a few numbers listed in the message.

If a call originated from any of these numbers, the message said, it would show up on their cellphone screens in red. On taking the call, the message added, a high-frequency sound would emanate.

It could cause the brain to haemorrhage and even kill. "27 persons died just on receiving these calls from these numbers," it added for good measure. [...]

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

AIDS Toothpicks; Legend Trip Shooting

People's Daily [China]
21 August 2007

East China police detain 60 people for spreading rumors, threats

[...] On July 11, a text message began circulating in Jiangsu, claiming victims of full-blown AIDS were spreading the disease by using toothpicks at local restaurants and returning them to the containers on tables. The message warned recipients against using toothpicks in Jiangsu. [...]


New York Times
21 August 2007

'Spooky House' Case Splits Ohio Suburb

WORTHINGTON, Ohio (AP) -- It has come to be known as the Spooky House Incident: A group of teenagers in this quaint older suburb who tried to scare themselves on a ''ghost hunt'' and a recluse who responded with gunfire, leaving two lives wrecked.

A pretty blonde high school cheerleader, Rachel Barezinsky, is crippled for life. Allen S. Davis, roused from an eccentric but otherwise unoffending existence, was sentenced last month to 19 years in prison for what he describes as defending his home. [...]

Monday, August 20, 2007

Government Moles

The Christian Science Monitor
20 August 2007

750 million rodents devouring crops in Spain

Voles have caused 30 million Euros' worth of damage to crops.

By Lisa Abend and Geoff Pingree Correspondents of The Christian
Science Monitor

[...] Among locals, rumors of more insidious origins are spreading. "These aren't normal moles – they're not blind, for one thing," charges Rufino Reyerto, who lives in Reseno. "They're hybrids that have been produced in a lab." In neighboring Vilbanez, vegetable farmer Ponferro harbors deeper suspicions. "The government created this new mole so that birds of prey would have food. It's the environmentalists' fault." [...]

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Campus Tunnels,0,6361989.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california

Los Angeles Times
19 August 2007

Shocking tales of the underground

At campuses across the nation, undergrads insist on making rumors about utility tunnels into the stuff of legend.

By Tony Barboza [...]

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Weekly World News

New York Times
18 August 2007

In Praise of Scoops on Heaven, Hell and, Yes, God


The next time laments are heard and verdicts rendered about the media’s lack of attention to religion, will someone please remember Weekly World News? [...]
25 Aug 2007

Farewell, Bat Boy

For three years, I "reported" on Elvis and aliens for the Weekly World News. Now it's published its last issue. The checkout aisle -- and my career -- will never be the same.

By Stan Sinberg,9171,1653638,00.html

Time magazine
16 Aug 2007

Requiem for Bat Boy

By JOEL STEIN,1,5015566.story

Los Angeles Times
8 Aug 2007

Weekly World News meets God!

A WWN writer on the death of the tabloid that made check-out aisles interesting.

By Mark Miller

Washington Post
7 August 2007

All the News That Seemed Unfit to Print

By Peter Carlson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 7, 2007; Page C01

Somewhere in Kalamazoo, Elvis weeps: The Weekly World News is folding. [...]

Friday, August 17, 2007

Man-eating Catfish; Sleeping Gas Gang

Shanghaiist [Blog]
August 11, 2007

Giant man-eating catfish found in Guangdong reservoir?

By Kenneth Tan

We found the following email in our mailbox the other day. Apparently it's been making the rounds on the Chinese-language internet: [...]


Swindon Advertiser [UK]
15 Aug 2007

Holiday couple gassed and robbed

By Sarah Hilley

THIEVES gassed a couple on holiday in France and stole all their valuable belongings while they slept in their camper van.

Pensioners Diane Bezer and Geoff Sillito woke up to find £1,200 missing, as well as their passports, bank-cards, mobile phones, and satellite navigation system. [...]

Daily Telegraph [UK]
17 August 2007

Beware sleeping gas gang, caravanners told

By Martin Beckford

The Foreign Office is advising caravanners to instal alarms after a string of tourists in France were gassed and robbed as they slept.

It is also suggested that they stay only on official campsites after Britons who had parked overnight at roadside rest areas had valuables stolen, apparently after gas was pumped into their vans to render them helpless. [...]

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dog Senses Death; Devil Bites Breasts

Inside Edition [Syndicated American TV news show]
14 Aug 2007

The Dog Who Can Sense Death


Scamp is the live-in pet at an Ohio nursing home, but the Schnauzer doesn't just bring companionship to the lonely. He has an eerie gift that also allows him to bring comfort to the dying.

Scamp can somehow sense when the end is near for one of the old folks. He then waits loyally by their bedside in the final hours. [...]


Baltimore Examiner
15 Aug 2007

Is all that we have seen of 'Poe Toaster' but a dream?


BALTIMORE - The legend was almost too good to be true.

For decades, a mysterious figure dressed in black, his features cloaked by a wide-brimmed hat and scarf, crept into a churchyard to lay three roses and a bottle of cognac at the grave of Edgar Allan Poe.

Now, a 92-year-old man who led the fight to preserve the historic site says the visitor was his creation.

"We did it, myself and my tour guides," said Sam Porpora. "It was a promotional idea. We made it up, never dreaming it would go worldwide." [...]

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dog Poo Stolen; UF Lore

Ananova [UK]
15 August 2007

Robbers snatch dog poo

A Chinese woman has told how robbers snatched a parcel of dog poo wrapped in newspaper out of her hand outside a bank.

Mrs Chen, of Laohekou city, was waiting in the bank to withdraw money when nature suddenly called for her dog.

"While I was waiting in the queue, my dog had to poo. So I asked for several pieces of newspaper to wrap the poo," she said.

After wrapping it, Chen left the bank, and was waiting to cross the street to throw the parcel into a rubbish bin when the robber struck.

"A motorcycle stopped swiftly before me, the man on the rear seat seized the package from me, and they sped away," she said.

Police are investigating the case while "laughing at the stupidity of the robbers", according to Chutian City Papers.


The Independent Florida Alligator [University of Florida]
15 August 2007

Myths, legends and UF
The truth behind the rumors

Alligator Writer

College is a mysterious place. Among all the strange faces, unfamiliar buildings and abrupt new freedom, you'll hear some tall tales and false folklore. [...]


Boston Globe
15 August 2007

Man pleads guilty in glass-eating scheme

By Erin Conroy, Associated Press Writer

BOSTON --A man admitted to his role Wednesday in an elaborate multi-state insurance fraud scheme, in which he and his wife collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments after intentionally eating glass in restaurants, hotels and grocery stores.

Ronald Evano, 49, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to 20 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, identity theft, making false statements on health care matters and Social Security fraud. Prosecutors dropped four counts of identity fraud and health care fraud in the plea agreement. [...]