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Archive for January, 2013

DON’T BE A VICTIM

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CARTOON OF THE WEEK

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Demarco Thomas, 30, was arrested in Tucson, Ariz., in November, as a drug courier for what the Arizona Daily Star called a “local cartel,” after Thomas himself had called police the day before. Thomas feared being whacked by the cartel because he had come up $20,000 short in the latest delivery. According to police, Thomas brought money in suitcases from North Carolina to his Tucson contact — except for a little bit that he had somehow “misplaced.” A police search of Thomas revealed almost exactly $20,000 on his person, and Thomas, about to be arrested, allegedly asked officers if they would please write a note to the cartel informing them that police had merely seized the $20,000 — and not that Thomas had tried to steal it. They declined.

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SAVE THE BUZZARDS

Almost-extinct vultures may be making a comeback within the Parsi community of Mumbai, India, after a pain reliever (diclofenac) nearly wiped it out. Parsis’ Zoroastrian religion requires “natural” body disposals (no cremation or burial) of humans and cattle, and bodies have always been ritually laid out for the hungry birds, but the community has also come to rely on diclopfenac in hospitals and for cattle. When News of the Weird last mentioned the problems (in 2001), vultures were dying out from kidney damage caused by the drug, and bodies were piling up. (Parsis were exploring using solar panels to burn the corpses.) However, according to a November New York Times dispatch, clerics are reporting modest success in weaning Parsis off of diclofenac, and the vultures appear more plentiful.

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TOTALLY ILLOGICAL

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GINZUED GOOBER DEPT.

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Einar Mogens Wegener / Lili Elbe

Denmark/France/Germany

In 1930-1 Einar Mogens Wegener, a successful artist, became the first identified recipient of male to female sex reassignment surgery. Probably intersexual, he identified as male for most of his life, but had a feminine body and facial features, and when in public as a man was often taken for a young woman in trousers masquerading as a man. He married a fellow painter, Gerda Gottlieb. Posing as a (female) model for Gerda, he discovered a propensity towards female dress, and Gerda’s paintings of him (as a woman) gained some acclaim. He began to identify as female and present publicly as a woman, renaming himself “Lili Elbe”.

In 1930 she went to Germany for surgery, which was only in an experimental state at the time. Five operations were carried out over two years. The first surgery, removal of the testicles, was made under the supervision of sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld in Berlin. The rest were carried out by Dr Warnekros at the Dresden Municipal Women’s Clinic. The second operation was to remove the penis, and to transplant ovaries, which were taken from a 26-year-old woman. These were soon removed in the third and fourth operations, due to rejection and other serious complications. The fifth operation was to transplant a uterus and was intended to allow Elbe, then nearing the age of 50, to become a mother, but complications set in and she died three months later.

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