90 Miles From Tyranny : 10 Offbeat Stories You Might Have Missed This Week (2/9/19)

Saturday, February 9, 2019

10 Offbeat Stories You Might Have Missed This Week (2/9/19)

Let’s start the weekend with a look at some of the strangest things that have occurred over the last few days. We can also help you catch up on the important goings-on in the world by clicking here.

This week is a blast from the past as we explore several mysteries that were considered dead and buried. They include the infamous Dyatlov Pass incident and the suspicious circumstances surrounding James Brown’s death. We also appreciate the efforts of the British Library to bring historical erotica to the masses.

There are also a few criminal capers to talk about: a successful diamond heist in Belgium and a not-so-successful robbery attempt in Canada which was foiled by bananas.

10Beware Of Dragon

Photo credit: BBC

North Wales Police are warning motorists traveling on the A5 motorway near Tregarth, Gwynedd, to pay attention to the road and not the dragon sitting beside it.

Okay, so the dragon is not real but rather a 7.6-meter-long (25 ft) carving called Y Ddraig Derw (“the Oak Dragon”). Using a chainsaw, Simon O’Rourke sculpted the dragon from a fallen oak tree. The carving sits on private property facing the road.

As you might expect, the impressive dragon is something of an eye-grabber which isn’t ideal for road safety. Drivers keep slowing down suddenly to look at it. The sculpture has been in place for about a month and has led to one accident and numerous near misses.[1]

Although Welsh police say they “love the oak dragon,” they urge drivers to keep their full concentration on the road and to park somewhere safely if they want to take a good look at it. So far, the owner of the carving hasn’t announced any plans to move it somewhere out of view.

9Super Bowl Scandal

Super Bowl LIII is in the history books. There was one juicy bit of controversy to come out of it, but it had nothing to do with the actual game. Gamblers are arguing over the exact duration of Gladys Knight’s rendition of the national anthem.

Americans wagered around $6 billion on the match. However, not all the bets were placed on the outcome or the score. So-called “prop bets” are getting increasingly popular, and they can be placed on all kinds of things—from the half-time show to the color of the Gatorade that will be poured on the winning coach.

One prop bet concerned the duration of the anthem. This year, the “Empress of Soul” Gladys Knight did the honors and most betting sites had the over/under line at 1 minute and 50 seconds.

This meant that people could bet on the song lasting for more or less than 1:50. It sounded like Knight finished singing “home of the brave” at 1:49, meaning that under won. However, she then repeated the words “the brave,” thus clocking in at around two minutes and giving the bet to over.

This is the controversy: Does the anthem end when the official lyrics end or when the performer stops singing altogether? There was a lot of debate given that the decision determined who gets paid and who does not. One sportsbook avoided unhappy customers by paying out on both sides of the line, while most others concluded that the clock stops after the original “brave.”[2]

8Banana Attack Makes Robber Split

A 69-year-old store owner was able to fend off a would-be robber by hitting him repeatedly with a bunch of bananas.

Seungae Kim operates a convenience store with her husband in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. On Saturday night, she was at the till eating a banana when a masked man walked inside and demanded that she open the cash register. When she refused, the robber tried to jump over the counter.[3]

That’s when Seungae started to fight back. She grabbed the first thing she could get her hands on and started hitting the thief in the face. Her weapon of choice was a bunch of bananas, but it did the trick. After a few smacks, the masked criminal turned around and walked toward the exit. As the security footage showed, Seungae wasn’t finished and threw the bananas after him.

In a later interview, the store owner said that she was more concerned with protecting her husband than she was with the money in the till.

It’s Not Smutty If It’s Historical

Photo credit: The Guardian

If you’ve ever had an interest in historical erotica, your day is about to get a lot better. The British Library has digitized and will soon publish online its “Private Case”—a collection of 2,500 erotic and pornographic volumes from the 17th century onward.

Included in the collection is the Merryland series. First published in the mid-18th century, it is a group of erotic books which metaphorically refer to the study of the female body as new land that needs to be explored and “ploughed.” They have been written by multiple authors, many anonymous, and feature a narrator named Roger Pheuquewell.

Also in the collection are the works of the Marquis de Sade and dozens of copies of Fanny Hill or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure. Written in 1748 by John Cleland, it is considered to be the first original pornographic novel in the English language. The oldest volume in the “Private Case” is a book called Rare Verities: the Cabinet of Venus Unlocked and Her Secrets Laid Open from 1658.

Some volumes are more practical than others. For example, Harris’s Lists of Covent-Garden Ladies is an 18th-century directory of female prostitutes in London. Entries contain names, addresses, and small descriptions. Miss Spencer from No. 35, Newman Street, for example, “is never so good a companion as when a little enlivened with the juice of the grape.”[4]

6USB Drive Sealed Away

Photo credit: doc.govt.nz

Scientists from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) in New Zealand have been studying seal poop to monitor the health and diet of seal populations. They made an interesting discovery inside one scat sample—a USB stick full of holiday photos.

The sample in question had been collected from...

Read More HERE

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