This is our Mishmash, a collection of the three weirdest stories the global press had to offer this week. The highlight reel: an Egyptian court demands a belly-dancing channel shut down for airing erotic commercials, a Malaysian fisherman is impaled by a jumping swordfish and the 153-year-old “ape woman” is returned from Oslo to her native Mexico. Who needs fiction?
And you thought the Super Bowl commercials were fun…
Forget Zumba and P90X — get in shape by flipping over to Egypt’s 24-hour belly-dancing channel. Originated in Egypt, now available in the U.S. and Canada, and soon to be available in Switzerland and YouTube, al-Tet became a reality after the 2011 uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak from power in Egpyt.
OK, it’s not a work-out channel. Just video loops of belly dancers for the whole family’s viewing pleasure. But according to an Egyptian court, the belly-dancing is tame compared with the erotica sold during commercial breaks.
As Al Arabiya reports, “The channel was also accused of airing advertisements that ‘arouse viewers,’ sell sexual-enhancement products and promote matchmaking, according to the court’s statement.” The court also claims al-Tet is operating without a license.
The channel’s director, Baleegh Hamdy, denies all the claims and saying the dance will go on:
Like channels dedicated to sports and movies only, Hamdy wonders why some Egyptians find it a problem to have a channel dedicated to belly dancing. ‘All that I did was to collect these clips and air them on a channel especially for belly dancing.’
‘When you watch a movie and a dancing scene comes on, you are forced to watch it to continue the movie,’ he said.
‘But people have remote controls and are free to choose to watch what they want.’
The YouTube channel is coming soon, as well as “a bouquet of channels dedicated to all kinds of dancing, including ballet and tango.” If you can’t wait, here’s the channel’s 13-minute promo:
I wasn’t totally surprised to learn that the channel’s owner is an American.
Fish catches fisherman
A little farther afield in Malaysia, a fisherman survived a harrowing experience recently when a swordfish jump through the air and stabbed him in the gut with its bill.
Singapore’s AsiaOne News reports on the freak accident, in which two fishermen returning to harbor at 3AM were surprised to see a swordfish flying through the air towards them. Abu Bakar Bachik, known by friends as “Pak Abu,” gives a first-hand account:
I saw blood gushing out from my T-shirt and realised what had happened…. I will never forget the sight of the fish flying towards me before impaling me in the stomach right next to my navel.
Be sure to click over to the original story to see Pak Abu’s scarred belly, exposed after lifting up his “I’M JUST HERE FOR RECESS” t-shirt.
Pak Abu was rushed to a hospital, where he underwent a six-hour surgery to repair his damaged intestines. He plans to be back out at sea soon.
153-year-old “ape woman” returned from Oslo to native Mexico
Julia Pastrana was four feet, five inches tall. She was a dancer and a singer. She had a heavy brow, ape-like facial features and a very thick, long beard.
Born in Mexico in 1860, Pastrana was a global oddity over the course of her short life. She appeared at markets and circuses throughout Europe as the “Ape Woman,” “Bear Woman” and “the ugliest woman in the world.” Norway’s The Local reports that even Charles Darwin got to meet Pastrana, describing her has “a remarkably fine woman.”
At the age of 26, Pastrana died of the disease that caused her ape-like appearance — congenital generalized hypertrichosis terminalis, or CGHT. She passed away in Moscow while on tour. Her widower, circus director Theodore Lent, had his wife mummified by Moscow University so she could “complete” the tour.
The ape woman’s mummified remains have made the rounds since 1886. They were moved to Norway in 1921, and were close to a U.S. tour in the 1950s until a public outcry shut the tour down. They were then stolen in 1979, then recovered and displayed at the University of Oslo.
But after some diplomatic wrangling, Julia Pastrana is now home in Mexico. Mercifully, her body will not longer be a public spectacle: she will be laid to rest in her home state of Sinaloa.