News of the Weird: Jerusalem Orthodox Community Selling Glasses That Blur Out Scantily-Clad Women

Unclear on the Concept (and the Image): The Associated Press, reporting in August from Jerusalem, noted that the ultra-Orthodox community's "modesty patrols" were selling eyeglasses with "special blur-inducing stickers" that fuzz up distant images so that offended men will not inadvertently spot immodestly dressed women. (The stickers apparently simulate nearsightedness, in that vision is clear in the near-field.) The "modesty patrols" have long tried to shame women dressed in anything other than closed-neck, long-sleeved blouses and long skirts, but may be losing that fight. A columnist for the Tel Aviv daily Haaretz praised the eyeglasses for shifting the responsibility to men for their priggishness.

Recurring Themes

-Periodically, News of the Weird reports on foreigners' cuisines that most Americans find "undelectable." A June Wall Street Journal story featured a hardy, fun-loving group of New Yorkers (the "Innard Circle") who dine monthly at out-of-the-way ethnic restaurants in order to sample such dishes as camel's eyeball ("way different from a goat's eyeball," said one member) and "crispy colorectal," and had recently learned, from a non-English-speaking waitress, that they had just consumed bull's diaphragm. Another member admitted "an element of showing off" to the exercise, and acknowledged that not all rookie members return for a second meal. The one body part that no one seems to recall having tried yet: uterus.

-The way it usually happens is Mom and Dad start a road trip with their children, but after a rest stop, they fail to notice that one of the kids is not on board, and they may be well down the road before they turn around. However, in June, the family member left behind at a Memphis, Tenn., rest stop was Dad, and for 100 miles, no one grasped that he was missing. The family was traveling in a van, and everyone presumed Dad was in the back. He was still at the gas station, calling his own phone (which was in the back of the van). Dad finally reached Mom in the van by posting to Facebook.

-Attendance is still strong in tiny Shingo, Japan, where villagers are certain that Jesus Christ is buried. About 500 tourists joined the celebration on June 3 (an event first held in 1964), in honor of Jesus' relocation there (presumably a voluntary journey from Calvary after the crucifixion). According to legend, he lived out his life in Shingo uneventfully, and a festival with dancing girls marks the anniversary.


-In July a 29-year-old man was taken into custody in Brunswick, Maine, after police found him in the bottom of a portable toilet on a golf course. Police did not release his name, but he is not the same man who was charged in Portland, Maine, in 2009 after being found inside a pit toilet. That man was much older (49 at the time) and admitted to having an "outhouse problem."