‘ Tis strange – but true; for truth is always strange;
Stranger than fiction; if it could be told,
Don Juan, Lord Byron, 1823
From Pravda.ru, an online publication that appears to occupy the news space between The Onion and The National Enquirer, we get this headline:
Armenia will pay the victims of genocide, $ 68 monthly
I wonder where they buried the survivors?
James Taranto noted this bit of virtual sleight-of-hand in the 14 June edition of his blog/column:
“Just one day after the author behind a popular Syrian lesbian blog admitted to being a married American man named Tom MacMaster, the editor of the lesbian news site Lez Get Real acknowledged that he is also a man,” the Washington Post reports:
“Paula Brooks,” editor of Lez Get Real since its founding in 2008, is actually Bill Graber, 58, a retired Ohio construction worker who said he had adopted his wife’s identity online. Graber said his wife was unaware that he had been using her name on his site. . . .
In the guise of Paula Brooks, Graber corresponded online with Tom MacMaster, thinking he was writing to Amina Arraf. Amina often flirted with Brooks, neither of the men realizing the other was pretending to be a lesbian.
What’s In a Name?
The 6 June edition of the London Telegraph brought us this development:
When Mark Wilkinson took ownership of a cabin cruiser called Titanic II, perhaps he should have realised the omens were not good.
When he took his new 16ft boat out for its maiden voyage, it lived up to its namesake, and sank.
Mr Wilkinson was left floundering as the vessel sprang a leak and began taking on water before disappearing beneath the waves.
Holidaymakers looked on while Mr Wilkinson, from Birmingham, was pulled out of the sea by the local harbour master.
Titanic II was later towed out of West Bay harbour in Dorset.
Mr Wilkinson, aged in his 40s, said afterwards: “If it wasn’t for the harbour master I would have gone down with the Titanic.
“It’s all a bit embarrassing and I got pretty fed up with people asking me if I had hit an iceberg.”
He had recently taken ownership of the second hand boat and towed it from his home to the south coast for its first outing.
He enjoyed a successful fishing trip in Lyme Bay but as the boat entered the harbour a large hole opened up in the fibre-glass hull.
He tried to pump the water out but was forced to abandoned ship when the boat sunk stern first.
Margaret O’Callaghan, 63, was one of dozens of tourists on the quayside who witnessed the sinking.
She said: “The guy was in a small cruiser on his own. Someone said to me, ‘that boat is sinking.’
“There was a big guy desperately holding on to the wheel and the back of the boat was going down.
“I shouted at him to jump as the back of the boat went right down and the bow was sticking out of the water.
“He clung on to the nose and the tide took the boat in. Someone threw a rope and tied it up to the side.
“The harbourmaster came out in a RIB and managed to secure it and get it on to the slipway.
“The funny thing about it was that the name of the boat was Titanic II.
“The guy seemed fine. He got out and was standing on the side dripping wet.”
One eye-witness said: “It wasn’t a very big boat – I think an ice-cube could have sunk it!”
Harbour master James Radcliffe said: “The owner had put his bilge pumps on when he started taking on water but there was just too much of it.
“The stern of the boat was fully submerged in the water but there was an air pocket in the cabin which kept the front end afloat.
“The guy hadn’t had the boat for very long. It was an old repair job. The hole in the hull was about six inches square.”
It is thought the boat is worth about £1,000.