News » Curious Times

November 10, 2004



As bizarre as it seems that people actually fall for the Nigerian e-mail scam, authorities now estimate that the con bilks over $200 million from gullible saps each year in America alone. But at least one person has claimed a small victory for the other side. "Mike," a 42-year-old self-proclaimed "scambaiter," replied to one of the scammers pretending to be a priest from the Holy Church of the Order of the Red Breast. Claiming that he could only do business with other church members, Mike convinced the scammer to send him a photo with his breast painted red along with a membership form pledging allegiance to church guru Shiver Metimbers. The scammer then asked for $18,000 in order to set up a wing of the church in Nigeria, to which he could then "donate" $25 million. At that point, Mike asked for $80 in order to pay a clearance fee which the church required to pay out the $18,000. After receiving the money (couriered to the UK for a hefty $50 fee), Mike broke off the budding partnership by claiming to have lost the church's money on a business exporting snow to Siberia. (


Muslim clerics in India are considering whether to recognize a divorce delivered by e-mail. Rahat Iqbal, who came to the United States in 1998 and promised to return for his Indian wife after a few weeks, instead waited six years before sending her an e-mail with the Arabic words for "I divorce thee" written three times. The e-mail has sparked a debate among those clerics who believe that the e-mail divorce is perfectly legal, and others who believe slightly more effort needs to be made. One cleric declared that the "divorce should be handwritten and the wife should recognize the handwriting," while another simply said that Iqbal should at least telephone his wife and confirm that the e-mail is from him. (Hindustan Times)


A psychological profile of Adolf Hitler recently declassified by the CIA and obtained by London's Guardian newspaper reveals that during WWII the United States believed that the Nazi salute was copied from an American cheerleader routine. The report claims that Hitler "adored American football marches and college songs. The 'Seig Heil' used in all political rallies is a direct copy of the technique used by American football cheerleaders." The profile of Hitler also analyzed his sexuality, stating that the Nazi leader had a fondness for circuses, whips, and women who perform dangerous feats. "He does not care much for wild animal acts," concluded the study, "unless there is a woman in danger." (The Guardian)


A dog in Washington saved her owner's life by phoning 911 and unlocking the door when emergency personnel responded. "Faith" is a service dog who had been trained to use her sense of smell to detect changes in her owner's body in order to alert her of impending seizures. However, after the dog's owner's latest seizure, during which she hit her head on a kitchen counter and lay unconscious on the ground, Faith had to use some of her more human-like skills. First, she took the phone receiver off the hook and hit the 911 speed-dial with her nose. When the operator answered, she barked repeatedly until the operator decided to check out the scene. To complete her life-saving trick, Faith somehow managed to unlock the front door for the paramedics when they arrived. (ABC News)


A Taiwanese man who is taking his Christianity a bit too seriously escaped with only minor wounds after trying to convert two lions to his religion. According to the China Post, Chen Chung-ho, 46, jumped into the lions enclosure at the Taipei City Zoo and began shouting "Jesus will save you!" and "Come bite me!" Having been fed earlier in the day, the lion's first ignored the lunatic, but eventually the cats got annoyed and attacked him, repeatedly biting his arms and legs. After about 30 minutes zoo staff were able to get the lions off the man with water cannons. (China Post)


A high school student in Grand Rapids, Michigan walked away with the top prize at his school's Halloween party last week, plus a five-day suspension, for wearing what was deemed the scariest costume of the night--a full white-hooded Ku Klux Klan getup. (AP) :

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