Friday, 29 February 2008

Friday Grab Bag: Spare the Rod Edition

The tabloid press in Britain love nothing more than a good penis-severing tale--and, really, who doesn't?

Early stories this week on the Sun web site about Londoner Alan Reed said his penis had been removed by unknown assailants while Reed vacationed in the Dominican Republic. The Daily Mail on the other hand--claiming the first interview with Reed's fiancee--maintained that his penis had "only" been slashed. Facts are often hard to come by in the frenzied first hours of a major news event and no one wanted to be caught napping on this major manhood-related story.

The dust has now settled, though, and we can assess the damage. "Man's penis was 'attacked'" reads the headline in the Sun. "A British holidaymaker is recovering in hospital after strangers apparently attacked his penis, leaving him in agonising pain from two large gashes," reads the lede. Police chief Robert Contreras said: “We are investigating this as an assault but it’s a very strange one and something that’s not at all commonplace in our country.” (Good thing. That would be awful for tourism: Come to the Dominican Republic and leave your penis with us.)

Not so fast, says the Daily Mail in its story, headlined "British Bobbitt: 'I will soon be back in full working order.'" Apparently Reed may have fallen on or swum over "razor-sharp coral" and injured himself unknowingly.

What's clear is that Reed was drunk out his mind at the island resort and has no memory of what happened before waking up in his hotel room soaked in blood. "I've told the police what I can, but to be honest it's not a lot," said Reed. "The whole thing is just one big blank." Luckily, his groin isn't.

Reed may want to avoid vacationing in Italy, not because of knife-wielding assailants or razor-sharp coral but because of a ruling by that country's highest court. Men may no longer touch their genitals in public, a superstitious act that is meant to ward off bad luck. According to the Guardian: "The judges said such actions risked generating 'awkwardness, disgust and disapproval in the average man,' unexpectedly perhaps failing to mention the average woman."

Cocaine has been washing up in Cornwall. Bales of the drug may have been dumped from a boat chased by U.S. or U.K. drug enforcement agents and may have ridden the current all the way from the Caribbean. Some are marked with the word "Colombia" and have a street value of 1 million pounds. The cocaine makes an interesting change from the oil and trash that normally washes up in Cornwall.

Meet Cindy, a cavalier King Charles spaniel who, according to the BBC, can balance objects on all four paws while lying down. "Put the effort in, get your dog some intelligence, get it to understand [and] you will have yourself a better, more fun dog." said owner Ron Bucknell, 75. Having watched the video, I'm not convinced.

From stupid dog tricks to stupid police tricks: Two police officers in Wales were forced to resign after superiors learned they had been using their patrol car to drive to beach resorts. They were members of a group nicknamed the "Seaside Five" who competed to see who could drive furthest from the station. They were caught after their car broke down far from where they should have been. Their mobile phones were examined and found to contain beach photographs, including "a picture of the group riding a log flume." I just love that image. Can't you see all five of them stuffed in a log flume, their hands up in the air, their helmets on?

Wherever women's breasts may threaten public safety we will find the Daily Mail. British television hostess Susannah Constantine had a near-wardrobe malfunction while in New Zealand and the Mail was there to document it: "The 44-year-old's lacy bra appeared to be making a bid for freedom while her cleavage spilled over in all the wrong places," hissed the paper.

But wait, what's this? The Mail is fighting a two-front war. No longer content just to scrutinize women's bosoms it has identified a new threat: "Are backs the new cleavage?" asks the paper. Is no one safe? Vigilance, vigilance....

Gargoyle of the Week: When Pigs Fly

Well, boars actually. Knowing my affection for gargoyles, my daughter Gwyneth snapped this porcine example while in Barcelona with her Spanish class.

Explained Gwyneth: "It was taken in the Cathedral of Saint Eulalia where there is a courtyard where 13 white geese are kept because Eulalia was apparently 13 when she became a martyr during the Roman occupation under Diocletian. Not to be confused with the other Saint Eulalia from another part of Spain. One of them was killed by being rolled down a street stuck in a barrel with knives sticking into it, but sources vary on which one it was."

A barrel with knives sticking into it? Those Romans were nothing if not inventive.

Thanks for reading. Keep sending your cards and letters and have a great weekend.


SuburbanCorrespondent said...

What are the right places for cleavage to spill over into? (And that sentence has my prepositions spilling over into all the wrong places...)

Candadai Tirumalai said...

Tabloid Motto: Cleavage has Leverage.

Anonymous said...

Well, I for one am relieved to learn that it's only an "Italian" thing, this crotch grabing habit. Let's see now, penises, breasts escaping, and cleveages fore and aft. And now grown men who can't stop, well, you know. Something for everyone, I'd say!

Anonymous said...

Wondering if you felt the earthquake? Heard the epicenter was near Oxford.

John Kelly said...

No, I didn't feel it, though some of my fellow Fellows did. Several said they were awakened by it or happened to be up at the time and thought someone was moving furniture upstairs. The epicenter, er, epicentre, was further north, but Britain is such a small island I think it was possible to feel it pretty much everywhere.

Joyce said...

I was awake at 1am & didn't feel the quake. That's what happens when you sit down to write a paper with a bottle of good red.
Backs are so the new cleavage. Karen Millen's pretty English dresses (which are all taffeta & petticoats & buckles) often leave the area between the shoulder blades / nape of the neck exposed.
In Asia, backs were always the cleavage of choice before Western fashion invaded. It's the one spot the geisha leaves exposed, for ex. And, while HK / Japanese porn has the same big breasts as Western porn (though not quite as big), heaving cleavage is still totally a no-no -- not because Asians are prudes, but because it's considered low-class and tacky. In fact, if you're a local with an unnaturally big chest in HK & you walk into a high-fashion boutique, shopgirls will tell you you're fat.