THE ROYAL TREATMENT
The Yaohnanen tribe on the South Pacific island of Tanna believe their true ancestral god is Britain’s Prince Philip (based on photographs of him with the Queen during a 1974 visit to Tanna’s mother nation of Vanuatu) and believe he promised he would return for good on his 89th birthday (June 10, 2010). Although the prince has kept in touch, he failed to show up for the grand celebration, but fortunately, Scottish university student Marc Rayner was on the island, working as a volunteer teacher, and stepped in for the prince, which meant that he and not the duke of Edinburgh got to wear the “formal” ceremonial penis sheath appropriate for such special events.
MORE CUSHION FOR THE PUSHIN’
Iconic female beauty in Mauritania (and in a few other African societies, as News of the Weird has reported) regards “rolling layers of fat” as the height of sexiness, according to a July dispatch by Marie Claire magazine, and professional force-feeders earn the equivalent of about $200 each from parents for bulking up their young daughters in boot camps that sometimes serve animal fat as drinks and apply the cattle-thickening drug Oradexon. “The stomach flab should cascade; the thighs should overlap; and the neck should have thick ripples,” said Aminetou Mint Elhacen, the feeding drill sergeant. Some girls rebel, but others embrace their new bodies. Said one, “When I realized the power I had over men, I started to enjoy being fat.”
PARTY HARD, INDEED
“It’s springtime in Japan, and that means [two] things,” wrote GlobalPost.com in March: penis festivals and vagina festivals. Held annually in several locations (for the last 1,500 years, some say), with the best-known taking place at Komaki City’s Tagata shrine in March, they were initially spiritual, serving as prayers for procreation and crop fertility. However, they have grown into carnivals for tourists and children of all ages. Most Western visitors hardly believe what they’re seeing: huge, parade-float-sized phalluses heavy-lifted through the street and giggling children brandishing toy penises and vaginas (to make offerings of them at local temples).
TO THE DOG
Gail Posner (the widow of legendary hostile-takeover executive Victor Posner) died in March in south Florida but left a will that endowed her beloved Chihuahua Conchita (and two other, less-loved dogs) a $3 million trust fund plus the run of her $8.3 million mansion for their remaining dog years. (After all, Conchita has a style to maintain, including a four-season wardrobe, diamond jewelry and full-time staff.) Mrs. Posner’s only living child, Bret Carr, who admits he had issues with his mother, is challenging her $26 million-plus will (that left him $1 million), mostly because, he said, Mrs. Posner’s staff and bodyguards suspiciously wound up with the bulk of the riches on the pretense that they would be caring for Conchita.
In May, the Daily Mail profiled the Houghtons of Crawley, West Sussex (Lee and Jane and their five youngest children), who live in free government housing and draw monthly benefits of the equivalent of about $1,600, without doing a bit of work because Lee has a “personality disorder” and daughter Chelsea, 16, has attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and needs a caretaker to help with her baby. The Houghtons admit that they spoil their kids at Christmas with lavish gifts, and the reporter noted the presence of four TVs, two Xboxes, three DVD players, mobile phones for everyone, and a computer and laptop. Lee is unpopular with his neighbors, who call the police on him frequently because of his drinking. Said Lee, “If people want to work, good for them. I would if I could.”
AT LEAST THEY WEREN’T TALKING ON CELL PHONES
Driver Bryan Parslow, 19, injured himself and three passengers when he crashed into a tree near Wheatland, New York, in May. He was playing “hold your breath” with the others and passed out. And in July, Lora Hunt, 49, was sentenced to 18 months in jail in the crash that killed a woman on a motorcycle in Lake County, Illinois, in 2009. Hunt was so preoccupied painting her nails (polish was splashed all over the car’s interior) that she never even moved to apply the brakes before the collision.
BUYING THE FARM
Americans continue to agonize over government “giveaways,” but as News of the Weird has noted several times, somehow federal farm subsidies continue unabated—even though much of the money no longer goes to cuddly “family farms” but to rich urban industrialists who hardly know a plow from a sow. In the latest accounting from Environmental Working Group records, the weekly New York Press revealed such “agrarian” handout-seekers as Manhattan billionaires Leonard Lauder and David Rockefeller and Rockefeller’s son Mark. For 10 years now, the federal government has handed Mark $54,500 a year not to grow anything on his 5,000 acres in Idaho. According to the Press, Mark never intended to, in that he only bought the land because it was adjacent to the upscale, socialite-hangout South Fork fly-fishing lodge he runs next door.