Vatican City, Vatican

The Catholic Church: forever associated with peace and good judgment. Well, that’s if you ignore the Northern crusades and the conversion of Africa. In any case, in honour of World Youth Day in Sydney this WTF Place is Vatican City.

Located somewhere in Rome, Vatican City is a country unto itself. It has its own flag, passport, laws and even military and police. It has only been an autonomous region since 1929 when the Lateran Treaty was agreed upon by the Italian government and the Holy See. There have been few major disputes between the Italian State and Vatican City. The most major was when Italy prohibited Italians from marrying Jews and the Holy See felt that this was a job that belonged solely to the Catholic Church. The Vatican didn’t oppose the policy, they just wanted to enforce it.

The pope. Oh hi.

The pope. Oh hi.

When you think of cities with high crime rates you immediately think of Johannesburg, Sao Paulo, New York and Darwin. If I told you the Vatican has a crime rate much higher than all of those, you’d laugh at me.

“Catholics committing a crime? Lol!” You’d say.
Then I’d say, “No. It’s true!”

That fact is, a simple Google search reveals that Vatican has a crime rate higher than all of the aforementioned cities. In 1992, civil offenses were at 87.2% whereas penal offenses were at 134% according to a BBC report titled Vatican Crime Rate Soars (2003). Compare this with Johannesburg which has a comparatively low crime rate of 24% (93 – 97 Victims Survey). WTF!?

A typical scene from Vatican City.

Most of these crimes, however, are petty theft and pickpocketing and not murders, rapes and Insane Clown Posse performances (zing!). But it must be noted that this is also the case for the number given for Johannesburg above (Joburg has a serious crime rate of around 15%). The Holy See used to threaten anyone who committed one of the former crimes with execution. WTF!? Fortunately this was never exercised and the Holy See relieved its dusty guillotine of duty in 1969.

ICP

Insane Clown Posse: a serious crime.

There is a fact widely bandied around that the national language of the Vatican is Latin. This is blatantly false. In fact, the Vatican does not have any national language: official business is conducted in Italian, military and police commands are given in German (has nothing to do with Ratzinger) and residents take oaths in their own native languages.

The tables have turned, Mr. Pope.

The tables have turned, Mr. Pope.

But that’s not all, folks. The Vatican has a few further surprises up its sleeves that one discovers when removing his trouser. Because the Virgin Mary was, well, a virgin, she didn’t get a lot of action. And her holy nature, I’m guessing, also prohibited her from taking a look-see when the chance arose. To reward her for her life of abstinence (and bearing Jesus), she has been embodied in Vatican City’s urinals where she can forever look at what she was deprived of in life. Vatican urinals are cast as statues of Mary with a downward gaze angled at the general genital region. If this doesn’t award Vatican City a further WTF!? then I don’t know what does.

The Virgin Mary: virgin in life, peeping Jane in death.

Vatican City. I’d like to go there someday. Actually, no I wouldn’t. I’d get robbed.

WTF count: 3 (warm)

For more info on Vatican crime:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2639777.stm

* This author recognises that the high crime rates for Vatican City arise because of the sheer number of visitors who commit crimes. But that doesn’t make for interesting writing, does it?

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Bad baby shampoo

This is a body wash/shampoo meant for babies spotted in Vienna, Austria. I guess it’d be OK to use, unless the child’s been baptised.

I hear it\'s good..

I hear it is good..

Taken any lulz-worthy images? Post the link as a comment.

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Tanna, Vanuatu

Well, it’s a secluded, tropical island and Prince Philip is a god there. WTF!? That’s right. Somebody cares about that old, pale guy who follows old Lizzy around. Philip is thought to be related to their primary deity, John Frum, an American fighter pilot prophesied to bring untold wealth to the tiny Micronesian island. Nobody is quite sure how John Frum became some kind of god or even if ol Frummy was a real person. It is thought to have something to do with debris from American fighter planes deposited on the island during WWII. But how did Phil get messed up in all this? Word has it that some Tanna residents once saw a pasty, white guy hanging off the arm of a powerful woman (Queen Lizzy II). And because colonial officials forced them to revere this creepy couple, the Tanna concluded that Philip must be related to John Frum.

Prince Philip

God

Tanna itself is an island in the south of the archipelago of Vanuatu. It covers about 550 square kilometres and has about 20,000 residents. Its people lead lives without the hassles of modern technologies, some communities banning them all together. Bob Marley is a huge star there. If that old joke about Prince Philip and the blind girl doesn’t go down so well, try asking about Marley’s latest release or humming the melody from ‘Bad Cop’.

A fungus called Common Stinkhorn (scientific name, Phallus impudicus) grows in abundance across Tanna. Not only is it hilariously named, but it’s also hilariously shaped. This is the only mushroom in the world shaped like a phallus (as suggested by its Latin name)  Like the phallus, Stinkhorn, despite its smell, is not poisonous and is often consumed by local people. WTF!? This blogger wishes it would grow where he lives for reasons not only humorous.

Stinkhorn

Stinkhorn. Lol.

We may laugh at the local worship of Prince Philip and John Frum but this religion has its advantages. It means the struggling backpacker could hawk gossip magazines as bibles and Norman Mailer novels as scripture when the funds dwindle. In sum, there would be no end to the chuckles as I frolic through Stinkhorn-laden groves and at least Prince Philip isn’t a vengeful god.

Tanna. I’d like to go their someday. Strange religion and stinkhorn. What more could you want?

WTF count: 2 (mild)

Wants U!

Tanna wants you!

For more information on this place go to:

http://www.positiveearth.org/bungalows/TAFEA/tanna.htm

http://www.pacificislandtravel.com/vanuatu/about_destin/tanna.asp

Images borrowed from

http://www.worldisround.com/articles/280957/index.html

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