A milkman in this County Durham town in northeastern England was arrested—twice—on his pre-dawn delivery rounds after police deemed his behavior (“driving around so early in the morning”) suspicious. The unnamed milkman’s workday first began to curdle when officers, investigating a break-in at a local shop, followed his van and pulled him over. According to The Times of London, the driver explained that he was delivering milk, and opened the vehicle’s doors to prove it. He was allowed to resume his rounds, but a quarter of an hour later he was again pulled over and ordered out of the van for further questioning.
He showed them his work ID and delivery sheet and reiterated that he was delivering milk. A likely story! The police hauled him down to the precinct “on suspicion of attempted burglary and obstructing a police officer.” There, eventually satisfied that they’d gotten to the bottom of the mystery, they released him without charges.
Incidents of anti-Semitism rose by 49 percent in the U.K. during the first half of this year, according to the Community Security Trust. The Jewish charity tallied 1,308 reports, said The Times of London, and its chief executive told the newspaper that British Jews had in 2021 “suffered levels of hatred that were worse than anything seen in recent decades.” The C.S.T. said the increase reflected a response to the violence in Israel and Gaza, and “included 13 so-called ‘Zoombombings’, in which videoconferencing events were hijacked with antisemitic material,” reported The Times. Additionally, there were “41 incidents in which the antisemitic rhetoric referenced the coronavirus pandemic, including conspiracy theories about Jewish involvement in creating and spreading Covid-19,” and 130 anti-Jewish hate incidents “involving schools, pupils and teachers.”
The Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, long a person of interest to international human-rights organizations, was chosen by a local youth group in this town—a couple of thousand miles away in Bosnia and Herzegovina—as the face of their recent charity music festival. Despite the event’s name, Chechnya Fest, neither it nor Bosnia and Herzegovina had any evident connection to Kadyrov, Chechnya, or Russia. And Kadyrov’s selection as “the face of Balkan music” had nothing to do with his regime, which, as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty noted, has been “marked by alleged political assassinations, kidnappings, and other systematic persecution.”
So … why, exactly? According to R.F.E./R.L., an organizer for the Jezerina Youth Group said that Kadyrov’s mug was chosen because of the way “Bileca’s other residents used to tease the ‘once-naughty young men from Jezerina’ by calling them ‘Chechens.’” From there, it was but a short, logical leap to choosing as a mascot for your Balkan Woodstock a kind of bearded Geico Gecko in military dress.
As if the dinner scene in Tom Jones weren’t proof enough back in 1963, food and sex appear to be linked. In a study that used mock dating–Web site profiles and descriptions of prospective dates’ ordering habits in restaurants, researchers at Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania concluded that if you’re adventurous when it comes to menus, you’re likely to be perceived as adventurous when it comes to sex. According to The Times of London, “the participants were asked to rate the person’s ‘sociosexual orientation’ — defined as their willingness and tendency to engage in short-term, uncommitted sexual relationships — and their openness to new experiences. Scores for both were higher for those willing to try unusual dishes.” But the fussy-eater flip side can be useful as well. As the study’s leader told the newspaper, while “being unwilling to try new food may make one seem less sexually desirable and more prudish,” this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. “If you’re on a date with someone you’re not that into, you could order something boring.”
A new, 20-episode reality TV show will address rural depopulation—in this case, Spain’s, though the steady exodus from villages is a problem many countries have long faced. On Ruralmind, 40 contestants will compete to launch and develop a business, but they must do it from one of three Spanish towns with populations of fewer than 5,000. “We see villages as places for rural tourism or agriculture, but we never see them for what they are in the 21st century, places where you can launch any kind of startup,” Patricia García Gómez, a co-creator of the show, told The Guardian. Winners will not be obligated to remain in the villages, but Alejandro Hernández, the show’s other co-creator, said, “The hope is that they’ll be won over by their experience of rural living.” Ruralmind premieres in October on Twitch and YouTube.
For more than 30 years, Mauro Morandi lived alone as a caretaker on the tiny Italian island of Budelli, happily removed from the consumerism, noise, and bustle of civilization, spending his downtime reading, sleeping, and (once) offering coffee to Naomi Campbell, one of the daytime-only visitors allowed by the island’s owners. But Budelli eventually became public land, and after squabbles with the Italian government, Morandi was evicted in April. Now 82, he lives a very different life in a one-bedroom apartment on nearby La Maddalena.
Well, not entirely different. “He had expected the public’s fascination in his life to wane after his departure; instead, it has grown more fervent,” reported The Guardian. The authorities want to turn the island, now guarded by CCTV cameras, into a hub for environmental education, he told the newspaper, but when Morandi went back to retrieve some belongings, he found it “a disaster. According to Morandi, the beaches were trampled on. I knew this would happen. There is nobody there any more to educate the tourists.”
Speaking of reclusive octogenarians recently evicted from the isolated, remote homes they’d been living in alone for three decades, the New Hampshire hermit known as “River Dave” appears to be re-entering civilization. David Lidstone, 81, was facing eviction and attending a court hearing when his cabin in the woods burned down last week—most likely an accident, according to an investigator. (Incidentally, the landowner who reportedly wanted him off the property is 86. Who says life gets duller as you age?) “I don’t see how I can go back to being a hermit because society is not going to allow it,” Lidstone told the Associated Press. “I would have people coming every weekend, so I just can’t get out of society anymore.” Besides, he added, “maybe the things I’ve been trying to avoid are the things that I really need in life.”
George Kalogerakis is a Writer at Large for Air Mail