"And the stars are projectors, yeah, projecting our lives down to this planet Earth." - Modest Mouse


High Weirdness 

Highlights from humanity's ongoing pursuit for meaning in an increasingly shallow civilization:

Blaze in Egypt starts "balls of fire" rumors
CAIRO (Reuters) - A series of fires in the southern Egyptian province of Sohag has destroyed some 160 houses, giving rise to rumours that spirits are at work or mysterious balls of fire are falling from the sky, a local official SAYS.

But the causes are mundane -- kerosene stoves, cigarette butts and electrical short circuits, Brigadier Ezzat Aboul Kassem told Reuters on Sunday. Flaming pigeons, their feathers set alight in the blazes, may explain talk of balls of fire, he added.

"Investigations have shown that there are burnt pigeons on top of some of the burnt houses and it's probable that they fell there after catching fire at other houses," he said. "Maybe that explains the rumours of balls of fire falling from the sky."

Kids dangle from meat hooks for fun
MIAMI (Reuters) - Law enforcement officials in the Florida Keys are mystified by a bizarre new pastime -- young people dangling themselves from meat hooks on a popular sandbar.

They found that five young people had erected a bamboo tripod and hung meat hooks from it. A young woman, her feet brushing the surface of the shallow water, dangled from the frame, hooks embedded firmly in her shoulders.

Lieutenant Tom Brazil of the Coast Guard told the Key West Citizen newspaper that a young man, who also had hooks embedded in his heavily pierced and tattooed skin, assured him the group was "just enjoying the afternoon."

A Coast Guard spokeswoman in Miami said the group had clearly done this before and intended to post photos of themselves on a Web site dedicated to "body modification" -- the ritualistic piercing of the body.

"It looked like a daily routine for them," she said, adding that the hooks had been inserted in the skin in a professional manner and had drawn very little blood."

Tattooed cops scaring public
AS Americans go crazy for tattoos, police chiefs in one California city have ordered overly embellished officers to cover up excessive body art to avoid further scaring crime victims.

Under the new rules, uniformed police must ensure that their dress blues hide any tattoos, brands or "scarifications" that are "excessive," or visible over more than 30 percent of their biceps, forearms or hands.

The rules also outlaw most inked skin renderings above the officer's collarbone, at a time when body art has become big business across the country.

The crackdown came after members of the public complained of excessively decorated police at community meetings and also after a few emergency calls.

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