According to a recent article in the SF Chronicle: "The belief that touch is essential — a biological and social need — but often difficult to find without an intimate relationship is a guiding principle within the cuddling world, which in recent years has emerged as a major commercial industry. There are professional cuddlists who offer private cuddling sessions for as much as $100 per hour. Cuddling has pushed into the retail market with vigor."
A Washington Post article adds, "In the past four years storefront cuddle shops have opened in Portland and Los Angeles, and one-on-one cuddle providers are proliferating across the nation."
The cuddling industry doesn't involve only person-to-person cuddling. There's also person-to-cow cuddling. The BBC reports: "A farm in upstate New York is offering self-care seekers the chance to spend 90 minutes cosying up to cows. The Mountain Horse Farm explains that cows are 'sensitive, intuitive animals' who will 'pick up on what's going on inside and sense if you are happy, sad, feel lost, anxious or are excited, and they will respond to that without judgement'... The farm in New York charges $300 (approx. £225) for 90 minutes of snuggles. That’s roughly £2.50 per minute of cow time."
In 1902, a political and financial scandal rocked the French nation when it was discovered that Madame Thérèse Humbert (née Aurignac), daughter-in-law of the deceased Minister of Justice, had swindled nearly 100 million francs from the French government and its citizens over twenty years. How did this woman, who was not particularly beautiful, educated, or well born, manage to defraud scores of people, ranging from the brightest and sophisticated of French society to the simplest?
Thanksgiving used to be celebrated on the final Thursday in November until 1939, when President Roosevelt decided to move it back a week in order to help retailers by lengthening the pre-Christmas shopping season. Not everyone was happy with this decision. As wikipedia notes:
Republicans decried the change, calling it an affront to the memory of Lincoln. People began referring to November 30 as the "Republican Thanksgiving" and November 23 as the "Democratic Thanksgiving" or "Franksgiving". Regardless of the politics, many localities had made a tradition of celebrating on the last Thursday, and many football teams had a tradition of playing their final games of the season on Thanksgiving; with their schedules set well in advance, they could not change. Since a presidential declaration of Thanksgiving Day was not legally binding, Roosevelt's change was widely disregarded. Twenty-three states went along with Roosevelt's recommendation, 22 did not, and some, like Texas, could not decide and took both days as government holidays.
So Governor Lee O'Daniel declared that Texas would celebrate 2 official days of Thanksgiving, but some parts of the state weren't satisfied with that. The city of Monahans decided they were going to have 3 Thanksgivings: on the 16th, 23rd, and 30th. Then Harlingen, Texas upped the ante by declaring they were going to have a full 8 days of Thanksgiving. They designated every day from the 23rd to the 30th as an official day of Thanksgiving.
That sounds like a swell idea to me. A full week of gluttony!
The Brith Milah School, established at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital in 1968, was the world’s first-ever (and only?) school for circumcision training. It was a two-year program followed by a one-year internship. (Seems like a lot of training for a relatively simple operation. Though I guess it's important not to mess it up.)
The first class graduated in 1970, but by the 1980s the school evidently no longer existed. According to a 1989 story on JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) it “ran into problems when it could not get malpractice insurance for trainees who were not physicians.”
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Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
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