Mildred's Temple Kitchen, a restaurant in Toronto, has an unusual idea for celebrating Valentines Day. The owner/chef, Donna Dooher, suggests a nice dinner at the restaurant followed by a romantic interlude in one of their 4 unisex bathrooms. Dooher claims trysts have taken place in their restrooms before, but now she's encouraging people to do it. In fact the restaurant will be employing a maid to keep things tidy during the Valentine weekend, February 12-15.
President Obama’s recent fall in approval rating may have an unusual cause, he may possibly be too thin. In a recent study by Elizabeth Miller of the University of Missouri, voters prefer their male politicians to be portly, while women representatives should be more wasp-waisted. In an experiment involving 120 volunteers, people were asked to assess fictitious male and female candidates from a brief bio and a picture, crucially two pictures of each candidate were used, a natural one and one manipulated to portray the person as overweight. People shown the heavier male scored him an average 10% higher for reliability, honesty, dependability and inspiration than his thinner doppelganger, but this relationship was reversed in the woman candidate. In the journal Obesity, Miller puts this down to societal expectation and stereotyping (Telegraph).
Social pressure also crops up in explaining another finding this week, this one by Meridith Young of McMaster University in Ontario, that what single women eat depends a lot on whom they are eating with. After covertly monitoring the canteen behaviour of 470 undergraduates, Young found that women significantly lowered their calorie intake when sat with men compared with all women groups. Moreover, the more men a woman sat with, the less on average she consumed. In the journal Appetite, she puts the discrepancy down to women unconsciously advertising themselves to men, adding "the salad leaves are meant to say, I'm pretty, I'm attractive, I take care of myself" (Guardian).
Of course, we all know what men really like in a woman; that she not appear too powerful. Or so says a study by Brian Meier and Sarah Dionne of Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. In the study, eighty 19 year-olds were asked to rate the attractiveness of a number of images presented in random order, some of which would be repeated. In fact the subjects saw each image twice, once near the top of the screen and once low down. The researchers found that men rated women 1.8% more attractive when observed near the bottom, and women found men 1.5% better looking when higher up. They suggest that their findings might explain why men are taller than their women partners more frequently than would be expected by chance (Times of India).
As to what women really like in men, perhaps not being British should be somewhere on the list. After champagne controversially lost out to an English wine earlier this week, French scientists have hit back at British research that concluded that the mythical “G-spot” did not exist. “Of course it exists,” say French gynaecologists, “you just can’t find it!” The original study by King’s College in London looked at over 900 pairs of identical or non-identical twins in the expectation that the identical siblings should both report having a G-spot more frequently than the others, they did not. The French however claim their cross-channel colleagues have got the wrong end of the speculum, “It is not a question of genetics but of use," said one (Telegraph).
Each year the BBC broadcasts the Richard Dimbleby Lecture, a 50 minute speech by a well-known figure on a topical subject they feel strongly about. Previous speakers include Richard Dawkins, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Bill Clinton and the Prince of Wales; this year the lecture was by author Sir Terry Pratchett, and read for him by actor Tony Robinson. Read for him because Pratchett has a rare form of Alzheimer’s disease called PCA, and is facing a future where his mental faculties will desert him piece by piece until all language, memory and reason are gone. Ranged against that ending is Pratchett’s own wish, to die in a chair in his garden, with a brandy in one hand and Thomas Tallis playing on his iPod. Hence his lecture is a frank, powerful and impassioned call that he and others in similar situations be allowed to die their way, and that those who assist them to do so not be prosecuted for their cooperation.
For those not able to sit through all 6 parts, an edited transcript is available here.
Holly Crawford, 35, from Pennsylvania, is set to go on trial today for cruelty to animals because she was trying to sell Gothic Kittens online. It's not the act of selling the kittens that has Holly in trouble, however. It is the fact that the kittens were pierced (as pictured). When humane officers searched her home in December, they found three kittens with ear, neck and tail piercings. Holly's attorney has posed the question “Why is it a crime to pierce a cat’s ears?” and she claims that she had no cruel intentions. Reader comments on the article (which you can read here) range from "punish the freak" to "if you punish this woman you should also punish people who declaw cats". What's your opinion?
A 62 year old Pontiac, Michigan man received second degree burns to 18% of his body when his homemade sledding rocket pack exploded. The rocket pack was made from a motorcycle muffler that was filled with gasoline and gun powder. After strapping it on he lit the fuse and began sledding down a hill in his back yard. Unfortunately, instead of propelling him, as I assume he expected, the thing blew up. The man throws yearly sledding parties in which he does crazy stuff, just not quite this crazy. I wonder how he will top it next year.
"In the picture-postcard community of North Vancouver, local bottle pickers have created a thriving subculture of shopping-cart racing. Murray Siple, a former snowboarder and sport film director injured in a serious car accident ten years ago, captures the thrill of a high-speed race of one of the men and compares it to extreme sports."
News of the Weird/Pro Edition
February 1, 2010 Exceptionally Inexplicable Dispatches from Last Week
(datelines January 23-January 30) (links correct as of February 1)
Proudly Insipid Meat, Plus Teen Taxidermist, Porn That Kills, and Aryan Hyperprocreation
One benefit of the "mad cow" panic of the 1990s is that the federal government banned the Scottish face-scrunching, taste-bud-numbing delicacy haggis from our shores. It's a boiled bag of sheep innards, oatmeal, suet, and pepper, and substituting beef innards just didn't work out for expatriate Scots. The Department of Agriculture announced that it would soon lift the ban. The Guardian (London)
Pastor Fred Munger Armfield, 60, of Greenwood, S.C., was arrested just after an encounter with a prostitute, and according to police, confessed. Six days later, he changed his mind and denied that any such "transaction" took place. His legal analysis is that "cash" can't be used to prove a violation of law, citing a court case that he says invalidates "Federal Reserve Notes." (Bonus: The "cash" involved in this transaction was apparently five one-dollar bills.) More from Armfield's petition: "[I am a] descendant of the original Moro-Pithecus Disoch, Kenyapithecus and Afro Pithecus, whose ancestors roamed from that point throughout the world. A living flesh and blood being with sovereign status. A femme couteur [CORRECTION: couleur] libre." (Second Bonus: The party of the second part, Melinda Robinson, is known around town as "Truck Stop.") The Index-Journal (Greenwood)
Another American original is Wolfie Blackheart, 18, of San Antonio, Tex., a self-described tail-wagging werewolf. She has Tourette's syndrome (which causes her to yip). She wears a harness and collar (because she "belongs" to someone). She happens to be an expert animal decapitator, on a career path to taxidermy. That means, though, that she's a perennial suspect any time neighborhood pets go missing. (She swears she only does roadkill.) Express-News (San Antonio)
(Update) April Gaede, the super-white mother whose teen spawn (Lynx and Lamb) made the news four years ago as the duo "Prussian Blue," singing neo-Nazi numbers [NOTW 930, 12-4-2005], is on to a new project. a no-fee matchmaking service for fertile Aryans, to increase their numbers. April said her one regret in life is "the many years that I lost in which I could have produced four to six more children with that ideal eugenic quality that [Lynx and Lamb] possess." The daughters, by the way, have apparently soured of life on the road with Mom. Southern Poverty Law Center blog
(Update) Great Moments in Schadenfreude: The U.S. Supreme Court turned down Paul Powell's death-sentence appeal in a case so legally complicated that it clearly got the best of him. Virginia prosecutors thought it was enough to qualify Powell for the needle if they proved he killed a woman and
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.
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.
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