A vein glorious position

Zulu traditionalists in KwaZulu Natal province, South Africa, who have routinely tested females for virginity, are trying to hire men to virginity-test other males by performing any of several unconventional procedures. According to a leader of the pro-testing movement, those hired will check their fellow men for spraying urine (vs. a straight stream), the lack of a visible penile vein, looseness of the light underside of the foreskin and darkness in a male's knees. All are said to be signs that a male is not a virgin.

Slip slidin' away

Among the newest nonlethal military weapons developed by San Antonio's Southwest Research Institute is a spray-on, whitish gel dubbed "banana peel in a can." It is super-slippery, and the Marine Corps believes it can be used to coat the ground to keep crowds from advancing on embassies or military bases. In tests, volunteers attempted in vain to walk across a lawn sprayed with the slime. In fact, researchers noted that, had the participants not been safety-harnessed during the tests, many of them would have broken bones.

Phantom operation

Richard McCaslin, 37, was arrested inside the Bohemian Grove retreat north of Santa Rosa, Calif., in January, heavily armed and dressed in body armor and combat fatigues. McCaslin said he had heard on an Austin, Texas, radio show that retreaters -- who, in the past, have included such luminaries as Henry Kissinger and former President George Bush and whose male-bonding exercises have drawn protests from women's groups -- were engaging in child abuse and human sacrifice. McCaslin said his intention was to put a stop to it once and for all. Authorities, who said they had no evidence of abuses at Bohemian Grove, reported that McCaslin had spent a year scoping out the area and amassing his weapons. He also had painted "Phantom Patriot" on his chest in preparation for the assault.

Headache hotel

Board-certified Kansas City, Mo., psychiatrist Dr. Donald Hinton told reporters in February that "Elvis Aron Presley, the entertainer (whom) everybody believes died in 1977," is alive and that Hinton has been treating him for migraine headaches, among other things, for the last five years. As proof, Hinton, 35, said he has several items from Presley containing his DNA. Hinton absolutely denied that his claim could have anything to do with the fact that he is listed as co-author, with Presley, of a slow-selling book of what purport to be letters from Elvis to his fans. An Elvis Presley Enterprises official was unfazed, insisting that Elvis is still "in the garden (at Graceland)."

Irrational pastimes

Afghanistan's national sport, "buzkashi," in which teams of horsemen battle over a goat carcass, attracted worldwide attention when it was restored in September after years of suppression by the Taliban. However, also attracting attention, according to a February Boston Globe story, is Colombia's indigenous national sport of "tejo," a horseshoes-type game in which a block of mud containing four small powdered charges comprises a target, and the players lob tejos (resembling large paperweights) to trigger explosions that eventually sink the target into the mud. Points are scored by the number of explosions and where the tejo lands. According to the Globe, the game's popularity stems largely from pre-game drinking.

Waste not

This past summer, Hindu nationalists in India began marketing "Gift of the Cow" bovine urine, touted as a cure for a wide range of human ailments from obesity to cancer. And the head of Thailand's energy-policy office announced in January that, following successes in turning pig dung into gas (a project that caught the attention of the Toshiba Corp., which plans to build the technology into construction projects in China), the office would begin also using human excrement from the country's prison population.

Raw and order

In January, Georgia state Rep. Dorothy Pelote said she would introduce legislation to protect pizza delivery people by making it illegal to answer the door while naked. ... Police in Fort Pierce, Fla., arrested Diana D. Hill and Bonnie Marie Roberts and charged them with shoplifting 18 cans of Spam Lite from a Winn-Dixie store. ... Also in January, hotels in Scotland announced that part of their big "Romantic Scotland" marketing campaign would include promoting "Hot 'n' Horny Devil Haggis" with chili and Cajun spices as a potential aphrodisiac. (As "News of the Weird" has previously reported, Haggis is one of the world's least appetizing foods, typically being a pudding of sheep organs, suet and oatmeal, boiled in a cow's stomach.)

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