Not only has professional fishing grown so spectacularly that last year’s leading money winner earned $547,000, but popular “fantasy fishing” leagues, resembling fantasy baseball and football, employ elaborate statistical breakdowns of fishing tournaments to help players pick winners, according to a July Wall Street Journal report. “Average weight per fish [caught] over careers,” “margin of victory [in pounds]” and other data points are plotted by players, along with weather reports, depth and temperature of tournament lakes, as well as intangibles like “home-lake curse.” The organization FLW Outdoors estimates there are 40,000 fantasy players, many of whom have never actually fished.
Despite education campaigns by women’s groups, about one-fourth of girls in Cameroon still undergo ritual “breast-ironing” at puberty as their families attempt to squash their developing bosoms to make them sexually unattractive to boys and reduce their temptation to marry. The most popular “ironing” instrument is a heated wooden pestle, mashed painfully against the chest. Some girls are supportive, however, like the one who told BBC News in June that she just “wanted to [stay in] school like other girls who had no breasts.”
The streets of the town of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia feature large stone coins (up to 12 feet in diameter) that historically have served as money, even though they are rarely moved around. Yap is a former U.S. territory that, according to a June Los Angeles Times dispatch, has been very slow to modernize, retaining a caste system, various discriminations against women and certain society-wide, no-shirt rules for men and women. U.S. currency is used for smaller transactions, but several thousand stationary coins (some worth thousands of dollars) are still in use.
LATEST RELIGIOUS MESSAGE
In June, after the roof of the just-built Cedar Grove Methodist Church near Thorsby, Ala., collapsed (with no one inside), church officials revealed that they had never sought building permits, based on Pastor Jeff Carroll’s assumption that “separation of church and state” meant that his church was none of the government’s business. Carroll, whose day job is as a homebuilder, said volunteers designed and then built the church, but agreed to get a permit for the re-building.
SHOW YOUR TATS!
The tattoo-removal business is booming, according to a May Fox News report that highlights dissatisfaction with formerly trendy Chinese-language tats that were often either mistranslated as nonsense (“blood and guts” translated as “blood and intestines”) or were actually jokes pulled on people too cool for their own good (such as Chinese words for “gullible white boy”). A removal service in Beverly Hills, Calif., said it takes off at least seven Asian tattoos a week.
On July 18—five days after Israel began its retaliatory assault on Hezbollah—swimmer Hilary Bramwill, 30, was picked up by rescuers a mile off a New York beach, despite her insistence that she needed to get to Israel. And a veteran Scotland Yard anti-terror detective was arrested in Trafalgar Square in London in July, where he said he was videotaping al-Qaida suspects, but according to police, he was merely shooting “upskirt” video of women. MTW