The News You May Have Missed

January 2008By Michael S. Rose

Michael S. Rose is Book Review Editor and Web Editor of New Oxford Review.

Pets Over Priests

People who are recently bereaved get more comfort from their pets than they do from their priest: A new study by Ireland's Beaumont Hospital in Dublin reveals that those who lose a loved one say their pet was more useful to them than any spiritual advisor (Belfast Telegraph, Nov. 25, 2007).

Down in the Alley

Fifty-year-old Paul A. Schum, the Principal of Bethlehem Catholic High School in Bardstown, Ky., received a citation from Louisville Metro Police on Halloween Eve after they spotted him wearing a black leather outfit with fishnet stockings and a pair of fake women's breasts in a downtown alley. Schum, who previously taught at Louis­ville's St. Xavier High School for 26 years, was cited for loitering with the purpose of prostitution (Louisville Courier-Journal, Oct. 31, 2007).

Disneyland: The Ultimate Destination

Disneyland employees were forced to close the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction after one of the ride's security cameras caught a woman dumping human ashes in the ride's waterways at the Anaheim, Calif., theme park. Disney watchers said park-goers tell them that people smuggling in the cremated remains of their loved ones and then sprinkling ashes on rides has been going on for a while. They said it started at the Haunted Mansion, but now the Pirates of the Caribbean ride is growing in popularity. Al Lutz, who runs, explained to local television station KABC that it is not unusual for people to scatter a loved one's remains at “the happiest place on earth" (Nov. 15, 2007).

Caving In

Russian Orthodox monks tried unsuccessfully to coax members of a doomsday cult from their underground hideout in snowy central Russia where they remain barricaded. Twenty-nine people retreated to the bunker near the village of Nikol­skoye, about 400 miles southeast of Moscow, this past November. The followers of self-proclaimed prophet Pyotyr Kuznetsov — reportedly mostly women — vowed to stay in the bunker until doomsday, claiming to have stockpiled 100 gallons of gasoline, with which they threatened to blow themselves up if officers on guard nearby attempt to force them out. Kuznetsov told his followers that in the afterlife they would be judging whether others deserved Heaven or Hell. Followers were not allowed to watch television, listen to the radio, or handle money, reports say (Associated Press, Nov. 18, 2007).

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