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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.

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holidays
Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
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iStock

Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

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Nom & Malc, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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Food
Cheese Wheel Wedding Cakes Are a Funky Twist on an Old Tradition
Nom & Malc, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Nom & Malc, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If there’s ever a time you have permission to be cheesy, it’s on your wedding day. What better way to do so than with a pungent wedding cake made of actual wheels of cheese? According to Elite Daily, cheese wedding cakes are a real option for couples who share an affinity for dairy products.

One of the trailblazers behind the sharp trend is Bath, England-based cheese supplier The Fine Cheese Co. The company offers clients a choice of one of dozens of wedding cake designs. There are bold show-stoppers like the Beatrice cake, which features five tiers of cheese and is priced at $400. For customers looking for something more delicate, there’s the Clara centerpiece, which replaces miniature wedding cakes with mounds of goat cheese. Whether your loved one likes funky Stilton or mellow brie, there’s a cheese cake to satisfy every palate. Flowers are incorporated into each display to make them just as pretty as conventional wedding cakes.

Since The Fine Cheese Co. arranged their first wedding cake in 2002, other cheese suppliers have entered the game. The Cheese Shed in Newton Abbot, England; I.J. Ellis Cheesemongers in Scotland; and Murray’s Cheese in New York will provide cheese wheel towers for weddings or any other special occasion. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from clearing out the local fromagerie and assembling a cheese cake at home.

[h/t Elite Daily]

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