Thursday, August 06, 2009

Hey! I Wasn't Done with News of the Weird Yet!

Yesterday, I "wrote" this post from Yahoo's News of the Weird as a one shot, but the were a few other notable stories from both News of the Weird and Yahoo Odd News that I thought I'd bring to your attention for, paradoxically enough, jaw-dropping-ness and discussion, simultaneously.

First, how about this one:

The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Prayer order in La Crosse, Wis., is now in its 131st consecutive year of around-the-clock prayer, in shifts, at its Adoration Chapel. The Sisters' ritual is based on an 1865 promise by the order's superior that if God graced their ministries with success, they would build a chapel and pray non-stop. [Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee), 5-6-09]

I have to say, I think that's pretty remarkable. Let's put this achievement another way. If we just use 130 years, the Franciscan Sisters have been praying straight for 1,139,580 hours (including the extra days for Leap Years). If I make it five minutes in prayer to my Lord without distracted thoughts -- and that rarely happens -- I consider that an achievement.


Here's another write-up, this one about Scientology leaders that "screw up", whatever that means:

LEAD STORY: Former Scientology officials describe a violent training program that's not quite Marine boot camp but nothing like a cloistered monastery.

Scientology trains its leaders a good deal more aggressively than other religions do, judging by the revelations by four former church officials to the St. Petersburg Times in June. In an exercise concocted by founder L. Ron Hubbard, leaders who screw up are taken out to sea and forced off a gangplank with the admonition, "We commit your sins and errors to the deep and trust you will rise a better Thetan (immortal spiritual being)." The rituals can also take place in a cold swimming pool, with the transgressors in business suits. Also, to test leaders' commitment, the head Scientologist, with a boombox, conducts games of musical chairs to reward the last man sitting (using the music of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody": "Is this the real life? / Is this just fantasy? / Caught in a landslide / No escape from reality"). [St. Petersburg Times, 6-23-09]

I'm not a Scientologist, and really, I don't have much to say about how religions discipline their leadership. It just seemed strange enough to have made the paper, and I wondered if other people knew about rituals like this. Is the paper correct?


In the least competent criminals section, I caught this one that I thought was funny:

WCBS-TV (New York City) reported (illustrated with the store's surveillance video) the unsuccessful robbery of Mohammed Sohail's deli in Shirley, N.Y., in June, in which Sohail surprised the perp with a shotgun. Suddenly, as Sohail recounted, the robber dropped to his knees, crying and begging. When the robber spontaneously even offered to convert to Islam on the spot, Sohail tossed $40 at him and sent him on his way. [WCBS-TV (New York City), 6-4-09]

I'd rather just give an infidel like you $40 than have you convert to my religion. Take it and go.


Lastly, file this one in the I didn't know it was this easy category. Here's a snippet from the linked article:

Russian soccer fans have been told to drink whisky on their trip to Wales for next month's World Cup qualifier to ward off the H1N1 swine flu virus, the head of the country's supporter association (VOB) said Monday.

"We urge our fans to drink a lot of Welsh whisky as a form of disinfection," VOB head Alexander Shprygin told Reuters.

"That should cure all symptoms of the disease."

If Welsh whiskey cures the swine flu, let's theorize on what other miracles upon which it might be used? One wonders what horrors a shot of Jack or a teaspoon of some Jim Beam might remedy. Bad personalities, hopefully, but more than that? Perhaps not liver disease, but to think that the cures for athlete's foot, warts, cold sores, and heart disease could all be found at the bottom of a whiskey bottle or at the local still... We never knew.

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