Bacha Posh – The Cross-Dressing Girls of Afghanistan

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Cross-dressing in most societies is something that most people aren’t comfortable with. But then there are places where the practice is accepted as a way for families to raise their social standing. One such place is Afghanistan, where women live such highly restricted lives that they resort to dressing like men. The cross-dressing is mainly reserved for little girls, whose parents dress them up like boys before sending them out into the world. They are called bacha posh (“dressed like a boy”).

‘Bacha posh’ is the name given to girls who don a boy’s costume. So a family could have daughters, sons and also bacha poshes. A bacha posh is accepted and enjoys all the freedom of a real boyin Afghan society. They have the right to go to school, to travel, to play sports and even to get a job. Inside the home and outside, the bacha posh would be treated like any other male would, even while being referred to in the third person. Among a group of boys, many would not even be aware of the presence of a bacha posh. Should the true gender of the child be discovered somehow, it would be ignored and the pretence would continue as before. Parents who have no sons prefer to convert one of their daughters into a bacha posh to raise their social standing. In a society where having a male child is of utmost importance and a matter of pride, bacha poshes fill in the son’s shoes perfectly.

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English Students Pay University Loans by Renting Out Their Faces

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Renting out body parts seems to be a trend that’s catching on fast. We first heard of it when it was used by this New Zealand woman on her backside, and then there was a German man who tried to rent out his face for tattooed ads.  The latest to join the bandwagon are a couple of British 22-year-olds, Ross Harper and Ed Moyse. Unlike the others however, they aren’t using tattoos. Their concept, called Buy My Face, is to sell their faces to a different ad campaign every day, which are painted on using face paint. The boys are trying to raise enough money to pay off their student debts, which amount to £50,000 ($80,000).  So far, they’ve managed to make £30,000 ($47,000).

The goal of Buy My Face isn’t only to get people to look at the advertisements that are printed on their faces. The advertising extends onto their website, which works by directing online traffic to the advertiser’s web page. Harper and Moyse paint ads on their faces and then photograph or film themselves doing funny things. Advertisers can pay for them to do several stunts, such as skydiving or plunging into cold waters. All this is put up on the website, along with the name of the day’s advertiser. When the duo started off on October 1st, their first ad went for exactly £1. But they’ve managed to sell their faces every single day since then, and today the rates have moved up to £400 a day.

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Controversial Guidebook Advises Muslim Men to Abuse Women

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Wife beating in Islam is a widely discussed subject. In fact, it is the topic of several debates around the world, with people within the religion itself differing in their opinions. Some Muslims say it’s alright for a wife to be controlled through minor beatings, and others disagree. What the religion truly proposes is not exactly clear, but looks like people aren’t ready to change their minds about wife beatings anytime soon. Not with books being written that provide men with tips on how exactly to beat their wives. That’s right, there actually is a book called A Gift for the Muslim Couple that encourages wife beating as a method of control. News reports suggest that it was available for sale at a Toronto bookstore, but was ‘sold out’ pretty soon. It isn’t stocked anywhere online anymore, either.

The 160-page book, written by Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, and released in Canada, is reported to carry this in its opening pages: “It might be necessary to restrain her with strength or even to threaten her.” I’m supposing it won’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what the rest of the book is going to be like. On page 45, which apparently lists the rights of a husband, it says a wife cannot leave the house without his permission; she must fulfill his desires and not allow herself to be untidy. She must also beautify herself for him. I don’t really mean to disrespect the personal opinion of the writer, but doesn’t this just sound twisted? It doesn’t get any better after that. There’s more advice for men on how to carry out physical punishment. The book says that a man may scold his wife, beat her by hand or stick, withhold money from her or pull her by the ears. Oh, and there’s a disclaimer in place, that the husband should “refrain from beating her excessively.” Sounds like it might have been put there to avoid lawsuits in the future. Hazrat also has a very bizarre way of advising Muslim men to also be kind to their wives, saying that “the husband should treat the wife with kindness and love, even if she tends to be stupid and slow sometimes.”

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India Introduces Stylish Stilettos for Men

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Sleek stilettos, often considered the ultimate, or ‘queen’ heel, are all it takes to make a woman go weak in the knees. There’s nothing that lends a woman power and confidence than to be seen strutting down the street in a great pair of heels. The attraction that the perfect pair holds over a woman is normal, and quite understandable. But apparently now men want it too… According to The Times Of India, stilettos for men have recently been introduced in fashion circles around India. That is just weird!

I hope this is not men’s answer to women who have been borrowing from their wardrobe all these years. I mean, it’s nice to see a woman wearing pants or shorts, but a man in stilettos? But believe it or not, heels are indeed becoming the latest fad in men’s fashion. But we’re not talking about the common Indian man here. I can confidently say that if I went out on the streets of India and asked about a 100 men if they would like to be seen in a pair of stilettos, they would ‘flatly’ refuse. Some might even ask what stilettos are, others would just run away, but most would probably punch me right in the kisser. But that’s not how things stand with the men of India’s high society.

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Las Vegas Gun Store Offers Real Shotgun Weddings

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Las Vegas is known for its bizarre wedding ceremonies, but Shotgun Weddings really do take the cake (pun intended). Generally, a shotgun wedding would refer to a ceremony that has been put together on a spur-of-the moment whim. But now the term has taken on a literal meaning, with the ‘Gun Store on Tropicana’ in Las Vegas actually offering wedding services with a shotgun based theme.

The Shotgun wedding ceremony is certainly unique – instead of the Wedding March, it’s just gunfire in the background as the couple walks down the aisle and exchanges vows. The maid of honor is conveniently substituted by a zombie poster hanging over the bride. There are very few guests, and the reception that follows  is celebrated on the shooting range with more gunfire (the couple goes crazy firing a few rounds at targets). Reactions to the shotgun wedding idea are quite varied. Some people call it different, some are actually jealous that they didn’t get to do it themselves. The concept is the brainchild of the store’s marketing director Emily Miller, who just walked into her boss’s office one day and said, “Let’s do weddings!”

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Indian Man Single-Handedly Plants a Whole Forest

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It’s truly amazing when we get to cover news of people who single-handedly create something truly significant. Churches on a mountain side, for instance. Or in this case, an entire forest. Jadav Payeng, a man in his mid-fifties, has been instrumental in converting a sand bar in the middle of the river Brahmaputra in Assam, India, into a huge forest. His work of the past 30 years is being recognized by tourists and film-makers, the world over.

Mulai, as Jadav is known among locals, started work on the land in 1980. A scheme was launched at that time by the social forestry division of the district, involving the planting of trees on only 200 hectares. The project was completed after 5 years and all the laborers left, except Mulai. Dedicated to the forest, he stayed on and single-handedly looked after the trees, continuing to plant more of them. Eventually, the forest expanded to 550 hectares. According to Assistant Conservator of Forest, Gunin Saikia, this is perhaps the world’s biggest forest in the middle of a river. Mulai says there’s potential to extend this even further to 1000 hectares. Inspired, the department has planned to launch another plantation program this year.

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Buy a Pair of Shoes for a Chance to Find Your Sole Mate

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Cinderella and Prince Charming re-uniting over a glass slipper has always been a popular fairy tale, the stuff that fantasies are made of. But now it might actually happen for real. Playing God-Mother here are Kuala Lumpur’s shoe retailer, Shoes, Shoes, Shoes and a dating company called Lunch Actually. “Buy a pair of shoes and get a free man!” is their slogan.

The scheme goes something like this – bachelors who sign up choose about 20 shoes they like from the Shoes, Shoes, Shoes collection. When a woman picks up a shoe labeled “Date Included” at the store, they get to go on a free date with the man who chose it too. So basically, you know you have one thing in common with your date – your taste in shoes. Of course, it’s understandable if the woman wants just the shoes and nothing to do with the date, so she can refuse. But there’s another incentive waiting for her on the date. The man will carry a Shoes, Shoes, Shoes discount cash voucher that he paid for himself, for the shoes that the woman bought. This could be anywhere between 10% to 100% of the total price. Some women might not want to miss out on that, in exchange for one date! Also, there’s no limit on the number of shoes a woman can purchase under this scheme.

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Meet Stanley Thornton, the 31-Year-Old Adult Baby

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It’s often said that in order to de-stress, you need to keep the inner child alive. But what if there was a person who kept it alive all day, every day? Sounds a little creepy, I know, but that’s exactly what 31-year-old Stanley Thornton does. He lives a double-life – as an adult outside the house and a baby inside. Some see it as a psychological condition, and others call it a fetish, but Thornton says it’s only his method of letting go of stress.

Thornton’s typical day goes something like this: Every night he goes to sleep in his giant crib, dressed in a playsuit, with colorful mobiles hanging from the ceiling. In the morning, his mommy wakes him up and feeds him with a bottle or a spoon. He then changes into adult clothes when he goes outside. But he’s back home in the evening and into his baby clothes again. It’s play time and he’s occupied with Legos, stuffed animals and a giant high-chair. Thornton was 13 years old when he was abused and started wetting the bed at night, so he started wearing diapers. He then gradually began to realize that he liked and wanted all the comforts of babyhood. At age 20, he started day wetting and wearing a diaper full time. The strangest part here is that the woman caring for him is not really his mother. Sandra Diaz is Thornton’s roommate, and voluntarily cares for him as a mother would for her child. “I love him like he is my favorite nephew,” she says. “He is like my family member who lost his mother, and I’m like the aunt stepping in and saying I’m still here for you.”

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Hotheads Pay to Let Out Their Aggressions in Dallas Anger Room

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Have you ever been so angry that you just wanted to hurl that laptop right across the room, but restrained yourself in the interest of ‘proper conduct’? I know I have. Anger is a common emotion experienced by everybody at some point. Some manage it, some don’t. But it gets the better of even the best of us at times. However, an emotional outburst is never appreciated by the people around you, even if you had a very valid reason for it.

That’s why, now there’s the Anger Room. It’s a place where it’s absolutely okay to be angry and break things. They even give you the tools and set it up so that you can vent out all the anger from years and years of holding it all in. The founder of the room is a Dallas businesswoman, Donna Alexander. The smash sessions at the Anger Room can last for 5, 15 or 25 minutes and the place can be set up according to your liking. It could be an office, a kitchen or a living room. Cheap furniture, TV sets, balloons, inflatable punching bags and headless mannequins are provided, along with a golf club to break it all. For protection, participants are allowed a hard hat, gardening gloves, goggles and a face mask. They also require you to break things in the direction of the graffiti-filled wall, for the safety of the camera crew on the opposite side.

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Chinese Village Gives Every Villager Gold and Silver Bars

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To celebrate the 40th anniversary of a village-owned business, Changjiang Village, in China’s Jinagsu Province, has given every one f its 3,000 villagers 100-gram bars of gold and silver.

It’s no secret that China has the world’s fastest growing major economy, but some of its residents like to flaunt their riches anyway. Take Changjiang village, for example. This little settlement happens to own the Jiangsu Xin Chang Jiang Group, one of the top 20 private enterprise in China. It is involved in eight different industries, including electricity, chemicals and metals, and it’s apparently very successful in all of them. At least that’s the signal they’re sending through their latest gesture of generosity. Following a promise made back in 2009, the village’s party leader recently ordered over 600 kilograms of gold and silver, and  handed it to every villager in 100-gram bars.

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Man Single Handedly Carves Orthodox Churches in the Side of Mountain

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It’s the stuff that ancient legends are made of, but I guess you could call the story of Aba Defar a modern-day miracle. How else would you explain an old man carving four churches on a mountain side of the Ethiopian highlands, all on his own?

Aba Defar is a man driven by his faith in religion. At one point in life he was a family man and a weaver by profession. But all that changed with a simple dream he had in 1959. The Holy Spirit appeared in his dream, showing him a mountain church carved out of sheer rock. The dream kept repeating itself over the next 30 years, but he never knew what to make of it. It was when he had a vision that he finally understood that his life’s mission was awaiting him.

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Carrot-Obsessed Woman Covers Her Body with Tattoos of the Vegetable

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A while ago we did a story about a boy who turned orange after eating carrots. Now that I’ve come to know about carrot-obsessed Zizi Howell, I think she’d do anything to trade places with the boy. Unfortunately, she can’t really change skin colors, but she’s settled for tattooing carrots all over her body. She has 35 carrot tattoos in all, including a 24-carrot arm band (no, it’s not made of Gold), four on her other arm, 6 on her back and a huge one on her stomach. Her only mission in life is to have “the most carrots in the world.”

But it’s not just the tattoos, carrots flood almost every part of her life. Every item in the Californian woman’s house is modeled after the root vegetable. Fridge magnets, tea-pots, storage boxes, dressers, soft toys, they’re all themed after carrots. She even has carrot paper-towel-holders and carrot slippers. Her home has over 1000 pieces of carrot memorabilia, and she spends five hours a day organizing them. And at night, she’d rather use carrots as curlers for her hair. The only music Zizi listens to is by Carrot Top, a punk metal musician. At concerts, she wears belts that strap about 600 carrots to her chest.

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Woman Postpones Wedding to Pay for Pet Lizard’s Chemotherapy

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Lizards creep me out big-time. That’s why it’s a little hard for me to understand what 25-year-old Lizzie Griffiths, a lizard-loving school teacher from London did for her little dragon. She loves her pet lizard George so much that she wakes up at 5.30 am every day to snuggle with him for a while. She’s even postponed her wedding to be able to afford his treatment.

Lizzie and George first met at a rescue center a year ago. One look at the bearded dragon lizard, and she was in love with the way he burrowed into her neck. She took him home and cared for him, even nursing him back to health from a chest infection. Soon, the scaly creature developed a tumor on his face that wouldn’t go away after two surgeries. Fearing the loss of her favorite pet, Lizzie decided to empty her entire savings on George’s treatment. Chemotherapy for animals is a pioneering treatment and she spent over £3,000 on it at the Animal Health Trust in Suffolk. The chemo was apparently successful.

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Zombie Shopping Mall – A Real-Life “Dawn of the Dead” Experience

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If you’ve always wondered it must be like to actually experience a zombie apocalypse, then Zombie Shopping Mall is just the thing for you. You’ll be briefed and armed by a special police unit and pitted against a horde of zombies in a creepy condemned mall. Sounds awesome, yes?

Remember the Zombie Boot Camp we featured a while ago? It was a very popular event organized by the guys at Wish.co.uk, an English website offering people the chance to fulfill their wildest dreams. The unusual training course allowed zombie fans to acquire all the necessary skills to survive a living-dead epidemic and test them in a specially designed environment, located in Droitwich, Britain. Following the success of the Zombie Boot Camp, the people at Wish have taken things one step further and created the Zombie Shopping Mall, a bone-chilling experience that takes place in a condemned mall filled with brain-eating zombies.

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Man Says He’s Been to Heaven Four Times, Draws Map

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No offence to 64-year-old Sibusiso Mthembu, but hearing his story just made me laugh out loud. Of course, the South African from KwaZulu-Natal tells it in all seriousness. And who knows, he may even be telling the truth about having visited heaven four times, so far. The first time was in 1998, and subsequent visits were made in 2004, 2006 and 2008. It all started in 1993, when a white man (an angel, apparently) paid him a visit and told him he was needed in heaven. And now, after several visits, he’s drawing a map to make sure the rest of us ‘unlucky’ ones get what he’s talking about.

But it’s not the fact that he took a few vacations to heaven or even that he’s drawing a map that amuses me. It’s more to do with the stuff he says he’s seen and done there. According to Mthembu, there are 11 heavens in all, and he was taken to the fifth one, Crista, first. It was there, in a city called Sharmoy, that he claims to have met Jesus. The main heaven is Salem, he says, where God’s temple is located. God is apparently in his youth, and of a Grayish complexion. Jesus is white. He saw God for the first time during his second trip, on a planet called Jadalem that’s mostly covered in water and ice.

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