Religiously strict Saudi Arabia can’t have traditional Western-style beauty contests, but there was a pageant in April in remote Guwei‘iya, about 75 miles from Riyadh: a beauty contest for camels. More than 250 owners brought more than 1,500 camels to be judged by such standards, said one organizer (according to a Reuters dispatch), as “the nose should be long and droop down” and “the ears should stand back, and the neck should be long” and “the hump should be high, but slightly to the back.” Prizes included more than 70 SUVs.
YOUR GOVERNMENT IN ACTION
Among the long-term disabilities that have been drawing compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (at a time when the returning wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan are meeting bureaucratic delays in getting their own disabilities properly compensated): 124,000 veterans receiving monthly checks because of hemorrhoids (according to a March Scripps Howard News Service report) and “thousands” of veterans since 1972 having received regular monthly checks to cover venereal diseases that they contracted on their own time while on active duty, including those treated for depression at having caught the disease (according to an investigation by the same reporter, published in May).
KUSA-TV reported in March that a Transportation Security Administration undercover team was able to sneak simulated liquid explosives past screeners at Denver International Airport about 90 percent of the time during a three-day test in February, in nearly every case because, though machines detected the explosives, the undercover agents talked the screeners out of personally searching them.
SIGN OF THE TIMES
The University of Minnesota campus newspaper reported in February that some students are combining trips to the blood bank to make donations with quick trips to local bars for a drink or two, because they report a quicker and more powerful “high” immediately after blood loss. Said one, “As soon as the needle’s out of my arm, I’m out the door [headed for a bar]. The rest of the night’s a good one.”
FAN IS SHORT FOR FANATIC
New York Mets baseball fan Frank Martinez, 40, was ejected and then arrested at Shea Stadium in April after he allegedly shone a high-beam flashlight into the eyes of Atlanta Braves player Edgar Renteria during a game. A former neighbor, interviewed by the New York Post, said Martinez was once evicted from his apartment because he would commandeer the hallway after a Mets victory, and into the middle of the night, screaming “M! E! T! S!” as he paraded from one end to the other.
ILLEGAL GOAT LOVE UPDATE!
Last year, a BBC News correspondent in Sudan reported that village elders in the Upper Nile state had punished Charles Tombe, who had been caught being amorous with a goat, by requiring him to pay a dowry to the goat’s owner, to endure a “wedding” to the goat, and to treat the goat as his “wife” to embarrass him. The dispatch ran worldwide and was the most popular story on the BBC News’ Web site for 2006. BBC News reported in May 2007 that the goat, “Rose,” which had given birth to one kid in the interim (clearly, not fathered by Tombe), had recently passed away after choking on a plastic bag. MTW