Quick Links: The Apostles of O’Neill, etc.

The Apostles of O'Neill
A group of college kids living in a Washington DC house were informed that they were violating zoning laws that allowed only six people to live in one house. But they did some homework and discovered that 15 people are allowed per house, if it's a residence for a "religious community." Therefore, they've filed paperwork incorporating themselves as a nonprofit religious organization. They call themselves the Apostles of O'Neill.

Nessie could not have been a plesiosaur
Leslie Noe of the Sedgwick Museum has figured out that Nessie cannot be a plesiosaur. Why? Because plesiosaurs couldn't hold their necks above water: "Calculating the articulation of the neck bones, he concluded the neck was flexible and could move easily when pointing down. He explained how the neck was like a feeding tube, to collect soft-bodied prey: The small skulls of plesiosaurs couldn't cope with hard-shelled prey. However, the osteology of the neck makes it absolutely certain that the plesiosaur could not lift its head out of the water - as most alleged pictures of Nessie show."

Fake John Paul II Cloth Relics
The relic trade is alive and well. Souvenir shops near the Vatican are selling "medallions enclosing a tiny shred of cloth and labelled 'relics of John Paul II.'" No word on if they cure any ailments.

"There's a tick on you" as pick-up line
Here's the latest desperate pick-up strategy some guy has dreamed up. He tells women there's a tick on them and then starts pulling their clothes off. The strategy doesn't seem to be working.

Another Message in a Bottle found
Thirty years ago Marie Myatt threw a message in a bottle into the ocean. Recently it was found, just a few kilometres away from where she threw it. Sounds plausible enough. I'm inclined to think this isn't a hoax. (Thanks, Robert)

Cryptozoology Exploration/Travel Religion Sex/Romance

Posted on Mon Nov 13, 2006


The ire of the neighbors in Georgetown/DC was quite interesting to read about.
Posted by cvirtue  on  Mon Nov 13, 2006  at  04:04 AM
My favorite line from the "Apostles" article is ""This shameless proposal makes a mockery of the Zoning Ordinance (not to mention religion) and could have potentially devastating effect on the quality of life in our neighborhood," Georgetown architect Outerbridge Horsey"

Oh no! 9 people in a 6 person home is going to destroy the neighborhood! The best part is his name though -- Outerbridge Horsey -- Shame on any parent who would name their child Outerbridge
Posted by Razela  on  Mon Nov 13, 2006  at  11:36 AM
Residents are quite right to be concerned about the exploitable precedent this sets, especially given the problematic safety record in Georgetown student residences referred to. The most obvious solution seems to be evading everyone, though. Abolish the exception for religions!
Posted by outeast  on  Tue Nov 14, 2006  at  07:03 AM
The current fracas might be grandfathered even if they get rid of the Sainted Clause in the law.
Posted by cvirtue  on  Tue Nov 14, 2006  at  06:06 PM
How many rooms in that house? Or is it an absolute limit? And if so, what about someone with lots of kids? In Tucson, the limit is 2 people pre bedroom plus one other person. Thus a three bedroom could have seven people living in it. However, also in Tucson, if you are a colege student and throw too many parties (and too loud ones) you can get fined. Doesn't apply to anyone else. Hasn't been challenged, even though it would obviously be overturned, because (I'm guessing) no one has the money.
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Fri Nov 17, 2006  at  06:07 PM
CC, usually the rules are different if everyone is related by blood or marriage.
Posted by cvirtue  on  Sat Nov 18, 2006  at  01:26 PM
cvirtue, In Tucson the limit applies regardless. Granted it's been 15 years or so since I read the ordinance, but I didn't see any exception to the limit. And granted, the laws can be different in different cities. However, most cities, I am told, tend to follow the same pattern and have very similar laws concerning similar situations.
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Sat Nov 18, 2006  at  02:15 PM
In Dallas, the ordinance only controls how many unrelated people can live in the same house. I guess if you were all cousins, a hundred of you could shack up in a one-bedroom.
As far as I know, though, the city never bothers to enforce the limit unless someone complains. Nosy neighbors being what they are though, you can never count on being left alone, even if you don't make a lot of noise or leave trash on the front lawn.
I once talked to someone from the city Code Enforcement office who said most of their time is taken up responding to complaints from people who have petty beefs with their neighbors, as opposed to dealing with actual health or safety hazards.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Sun Nov 19, 2006  at  12:39 PM
Chris Cole, I'm pretty sure you are still spot on about the number of people allowed per house in Tucson. As to the parties, it's a red-tag system. If you get caught throwing a rucous party (regardless of whether there was a complaint) you get issued a $250 fine and a red tag that gets put on your window for a certain amount of time (I think 9 months or something similar). During the period that you have a red-tag, you aren't allowed more than 5 people in the house at any one time unless they live there. In other words, if you already have a 5 person home and you decide to invite your mother for dinner with all your roomates, you could technically be fined $500. Comletely ridiculous if you ask me.
Posted by Razela  on  Sun Nov 19, 2006  at  11:27 PM
That "red tag" system sounds like a blatant violation of the First Amendment (the right of the people to assemble peaceably).
If somebody's disturbing the peace, hit that person with big fines, for sure, but people have a inalienable right to gather peacefully, and the law can't legitimately intervene, in my view, until that particular assembly ceases to be peaceful.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Mon Nov 20, 2006  at  11:58 AM
Googling Red Tags and Tucson, it appears the tags don't actually prevent gatherings.

The ordinance seems to state (I couldn't find the actual written ordinance, but I didn't spend too much time on it) that, in the case of an unruly residence assembly - i.e. a loud party - the officials must (mandatory) fine the attendees $100 and issue a red tag that must be prominantly diplayed for a period of 180 days.

Further gatherings are allowed during this time, but any that turn unruly or otherwise unlawful allow for greater and greater fines.

A pretty good summary can be found at http://www.union.arizona.edu/csil/csa/housingguide/redtag.php
Posted by Charybdis  on  Mon Nov 20, 2006  at  12:30 PM
Razela, you may be right on the description, but it is only around the University that it applies to. If you live, say, out by Willmont and Speedway, it does not apply. Just in the area where students probably live. Which may be another reason why it hasn't been challenged, the students aren't here long enough.
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Mon Nov 20, 2006  at  02:17 PM
They may not necessarily be "fake" relics. There are multiple classes of relics- 1st, 2nd, and 3d class. I'm not sure. Bits of cloth touched to the body or posessions of a saint are considered 3d class relics. The bits of cloth may, in fact, be "relics" of a kind.

Of course, the current Code of Canon Law actually forbids the selling of relics, so I wonder just what kind of operation they're running here.

There's a good discussion here on whether or not it would be permissible for someone who bought a car from a priest (or anyone else) to sell that car later if the priest became a saint:

Posted by Dano  on  Mon Nov 20, 2006  at  05:07 PM
CC, you're right on about that. My friends and I have moved our parties up north or east to avoid the red-tag rules.

Charybdis, that link is spot on. So i guess I was a little wrong, but the real issue is that "disruptive gathering" is not defined. So, for example, my friends and I had a party where we spoke to all the neighbors ahead of time and they were fine with it. There were no complaints, but as it was the sat night before halloween, a police helicopter was flying overhead looking for "unruly gatherings." They saw a bunch of people in our backyard and set 4 police cars to clear it up. They issued a red-tag for the party when there were NO complaints. If no one minds the party, then why is it not allowed? It's just unfair in my opinion.

Uhh...this is all hypothetical, Of Course!
Posted by Razela  on  Mon Nov 20, 2006  at  08:26 PM
In a town here, the law was recently changed to no more than two unrelated people living in the same housing unit (house, apartment, whatever). So even if it's a six-bedroom, eight bathroom house, you can't have three friends living together there.

The reason given for this law was something to do with public safety. The actual reason, though, is that there are a number of universities around here, and the only one of them that even bothers with providing dormitories doesn't have anywhere near enough. And so most students have to rent a place to live. And the town government is composed entirely of landlords who own the local real-estate companies. This way more of their property gets rented out, and they can continue to charge the hugely inflated rents.

As for the fake tick story, I was walking through a college campus when a large scarab flew by, hit the back of a girl walking along ahead of me, and somehow managed to fall within the waistband of her trousers. I ended up having to help her retrieve the poor beetle, which was a rather interesting experience. I've also covertly removed a black widow spider from a girl's d
Posted by Accipiter  on  Wed Nov 22, 2006  at  05:13 PM
... somehow managed to fall within the waistband of her trousers. I ended up having to help her retrieve the poor beetle ...

Where do you buy these beetles?
Posted by Big Gary  on  Thu Nov 23, 2006  at  01:07 PM
Finally, conclusive proof that nessie is not in existence!

Also, Alex it might be a cosideration to make a category for messages in bottles.
Posted by J  on  Sun Nov 26, 2006  at  11:44 AM
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