Service Of The Week (2)

You have got to hand it to the clergy, trying to grapple with social media to provide their flock with the spiritual guidance that they need.

Take Paolo Longo, the parish priest of the Church of San Pietro and San Benedetto di Polla in the Italian province of Salerno. He thought it would be a good idea to live stream a mass using Facebook and it was. Unfortunately, though, he left the platform’s AR filters active, resulting in him appearing with various animated accessories.

When Paolo realised that his enterprising efforts had gone viral, he saw the funny side, commenting “even a laugh is good”.

Take a look

Record Of The Week

The Coronavirus pandemic is forcing all of us to modify our behaviours and put on hold most of our plans and ambitions. It is particularly galling for those training for a special event or aiming to set a particular record.

Spare a thought for Jeff Reitz who had visited the Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim for 2,995 consecutive days until its enforced closure on March 13th. He had been attempting a Guinness World Record for the most consecutive visits.

Reitz was phlegmatic, saying, “on the negative side, I didn’t get to choose the end. But on the positive side, I didn’t have to choose the end”.

He plans to resume his visits when it reopens but, in the meantime, think of the money he will save.

Service Of The Week

I had always considered some elements of social media as a solution looking for a problem. The Coronavirus pandemic may be just that problem. It is prompting many reluctant silver surfers to embrace the technology in order to communicate with the outside world and to stay sane.

There are bound to be some teething problems as the 61-year-old vicar of St Budeaux Parish Church in Plymouth, Simon Beach, experienced when he decided to record his first virtual service via YouTube. Warming to the wisdom and beauty of his sermon, he leant forward and exclaimed “Oh dear, I’ve just caught fire”.

Being on fire for Jesus his sleeve had brushed against the flame of a candle, burning a hole in his pullover and sleeve, but not his skin.   

Better luck next time. Practice makes perfect.

Bender Of The Week (11)

With pubs, clubs and restaurants closed for the foreseeable, a bender is going to be a fond and distant memory. Still, it is good to hear that other members of the animal kingdom are picking up where we left off.

A herd of 14 hungry elephants broke into a village in the Yunan province of China which was in lockdown. As well as some tucker, they stumbled across 30kg of corn wine which they proceeded to demolish with some gusto.

A couple of the raiding party were pictured sleeping their excess off in the tea garden. Sore heads the next day, I guess.

Date Of The Week

Dating can be a stressful business.

Anthony Ciccarelli was dating a young woman at a Western New York steakhouse and all was going swimmingly until it was time to pay.

According to Cheektowaga police reports, Ciccarelli put his hand into his front pocket to extract his wallet, accidentally pulled the trigger of a stolen pistol he just happened to have there and it went off, shooting the poor girl in the upper right thigh area.

The couple left the restaurant and after driving a little way, the girl hopped out and summoned the police. Upon their arrival, the officers placed a tourniquet on the girl’s injured leg and arrested Ciccarelli on charges of reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon.

A date they will both remember for a long time.

Tooth Of The Week

Phawan Bhavsar, a 20-year-old engineering student from Madhya Pradesh in India visited his dentist, complaining of a constant jaw ache, swollen gums and blisters in his mouth. The root of the problem, Dr Saurabh Srivastava decided, was a couple of teeth which he decided to extract.

One, though, was a whopper, measuring 3.89 centimetres long, the average front tooth measures between 1.64 and 2.26 centimetres in length. It came out and this is thought to be the longest human tooth extracted, comfortably beating the Guinness World Record set by Dr Max Lucas in 2018 who removed a tooth 3.72 centimetres long from the mouth of Croatian, Mijo Vodopija.

This all happened on February 29th. I bet Phawan is glad it only comes around every four years. I wonder if he said “pull the other one” of “fangs”.

Disease Of The Week

No, not that one but urinary auto-brewery syndrome. I’m indebted to that wonderful organ, Annals of Internal Medicine, for this story.

I’ve always taken the view that when medics ask you how many units of alcohol you drink a week, honesty is not the best policy as they mentally double whatever figure they give you. If you claim that not a drop of drink has ever passed your lips and your urine is persistently showing positive for the presence of alcohol, your doctor is likely to think that you are in denial. Indeed, this is what happened to a 61-year-old woman, suffering from diabetes and liver cirrhosis and on a waiting list for a liver transplant. She was taken off the waiting list and referred for alcohol abuse treatment.  

What gave doctors at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre pause for thought is that blood tests for the presence of alcohol in her blood stream proved negative. Further digging showed that when she ingested sugar, a yeast, Candida glabrata, similar to brewer’s yeast, was accumulating in her bladder and converting her urine into alcohol.

Apparently, this is the first case in the world to be diagnosed. Worth bearing in mind, if your quack suggests you are drinking too much.

I wonder if the woman will be sponsored by a lager company!