The Weird Week in Review
Miss Holocaust Survivor Pageant
Hava Hershkovitz was crowned Miss Holocaust Survivor in the first pageant of its kind last night in Haifa, Israel. The 79-year-old bested 13 other finalists for the title. A representative of Israel's leading survivors group called the pageant "totally macabre." Critics say the idea is disrespectful of the memory of the Holocaust and that judging elderly women on their beauty is inappropriate and offensive. Organizers of the event say that beauty is a very small part of the competition, and that the contestants' stories carried more weight. Nearly 300 women registered to compete in the pageant.
Burglar Foiled by Burglar-trapping Door
John Rodriguez arrived at the Rent-a-Center he managed in Brockton, Massachusetts, Tuesday and found 53-year-old Manuel Fernandes pinned to the floor under the metal door at the rear of the building. His first instinct was, of course, to whip out his phone and start recording.
On the video, the Fernandes claims he was just “trying to fix the door,” then claims he confused Rent-A-Center with another address, then finally pleads with Rodriguez to let him go, saying that he hasn’t taken anything. The man said he had been under the door since midnight.
Police freed Fernandes and took him to a hospital to be checked out. They plan to charge him with breaking and entering.
Dive-bombing Seagulls Halt Mail
Carriers in Elgin, Moray, Scotland cannot deliver mail to a neighborhood of 30 homes along Muirfield Road. A mail carrier reported that she had been the victim of persistent attacks by seagulls in the area. Royal Mail officials visited the route and concluded it was too dangerous for carriers to deliver mail to homes, so residents will have to retrieve their mail from the post office. Seagulls in Moray are known for attacking people, and feeding the gulls is prohibited. Otherwise, there isn't much anyone can do because the gulls are a protected species.
Firefighters Rescue Dog From Tree
The old trope of firefighters rescuing cats from trees was stood on its head last week in Atherton, California. A dog named Guinness chased a raccoon 30 feet up a tree! Then Guiness realized what he had done and was too terrified to come back down. Emergency dispatchers at first didn't believe the caller, but sent the Menlo Park Fire Department to assist. Firefighter Tony Eggimann used a 36-foot ladder, a harness, and dog treats to bring Guinness down. The family has since put a fence around the tree.
Playboy Playmate Wins Genius Visa
US immigration offers H1B visas for those who have skills the country needs. They also offer special visas, O-1s and EB-1s, for those with "extraordinary ability." An example is given as someone who has won a Nobel Prize. Canadian Shera Bechard, former girlfriend of Hugh Hefner and Playboy magazine's Miss November 2010, was awarded one of these special visas. Bechard's accomplishments include originating the Twitter meme known as Frisky Friday. The "genius visas" are known in legal circles as a way for celebrities and entrepreneurs to move to the United States to work when they don't technically qualify for the more popular H1B visa.
Law Against Lying Struck Down
Since 1989, Rhode Island has had a law on the books that said lying on the internet is a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of up to $500 and up to a year in prison. It was initially meant to prosecute scam artists, but was worded very broadly.
"This law made virtually the entire population of Rhode Island a criminal," said Steven Brown, executive director of the Rhode Island American Civil Liberties Union. "When this bill was enacted nobody had any idea what its ramifications were. Telling fibs may be wrong, but it shouldn't be criminal activity."
General consensus is that telling someone you are six feet tall when you are not shouldn't be illegal. In fact, the law may have stepped on the right of free speech. Rhode Island's General Assembly has now voted to repeal the law.