All we need to know about American vs. Japanese cuisines
The Associated Press lauds California candymaker Joseph Marini III's chocolate-covered bacon in Santa Cruz (and actually, he's not the first one to the market with it in the U.S.), while the captivating flavor at last week's Yokohama Ice Cream Expo (175 flavors) was, er, "beef tongue" (beating out cheese ice cream, octopus ice cream, and a garlic flavored "Dracula Premium Ice"). Associated Press via MSNBC//Daily Telegraph (London) Comments 'chocolate_bacon'
A Nigerian man has 86 wives, and apparently they're all happier about that than he is
Muhammed Bello Abubaker, 84, is basically a healer (and, he says, confidant of the Prophet Muhammad!), and women flock to him for cures and protection. As for himself, he's ambivalent about the marriage thing. (Maximum 4 wives in Islam? He says the Quran doesn't specify punishment for more than 4.) The astonishing issue is how in the world can he feed his 86 wives and 170 children? Being buds with the Prophet Muhammad must come in handy. BBC News Comments '86_wives'
Another example of gov't's thinking a little bit about a problem, but not a lot
Californians were worried about sexual predators committing new crimes after they had served their time for the old ones, and so a 2006 law requires almost all convicted sex offenders to get psych screenings, and pronto. Well, any idea how many convicted perverts there are in California? And to get the work done promptly, state officials set generous contract terms for shrinks. Results so far: $24m spent on evaluations, resulting in probably no one's being re-committed who wouldn't have been re-committed under the previous law that targeted only the serious predators. Los Angeles Times Comments 'california_perverts'
The dog-cloning woman admits she was the 1970s kidnap-scandal ex-beauty queen
This drama played out last week when reporters noticed that the woman who had her deceased pit bull cloned, to great fanfare, by that South Korean lab looked a lot like a larger-than-life scandal figure from the 1970s. Persuasive evidence was gathered. She denied it. Now, she has come clean. Though the dog-cloning aspect has its moments (it involves the lab associated with the researcher who falsified human-cloning data), it is the 1970s backstory that drives it. A beauty queen obsessed herself with a gorgeous Mormon guy, who was (very wisely) advised to drop her, so she kidnaped him in Britain, and they had all kinds of sex (consensual? depends on who's answering), and she finally did some time for it, yet continued for a while to obsess over having his kids (keywords in the backstory: mink handcuffs, Mormon chastity belt). She moved on, to B-list and C-list kinda activities, until recent years when she realized that it was that pit bull of hers, Booger, who was her salvation. Hence, the cloning. Daily Mail (London) (backstory) //Daily Mail (admission) Comments 'dog_cloner'
Here's someone else who lives at the airport: Bettina, 48, a well-to-do German who hasn't left the terminal in Mallorca for 10 yrs, even though she could. She's clean, educated, uses the ATM, just likes terminal life! (And here's the latest sighting of the rare bloom from the large, ultra-putrid, phallic-shaped flower that never fails to provoke astonished editors and reporters to treat it as something that's never happened before.) The Guardian (London) //Reuters via MSNBC Comments 'bettina_flower'
Updates from last week: the claw-hammer-and-motor-oil guy, and the bondage-game death
WANE-TV wrote he was naked and "conducting a lewd act with a claw hammer, plastic big, and motor oil," puzzling a few Weird Universe readers. Let The Smoking Gun help you out! And on the bondage death, Chuck's emphasis was on how the victim seemed to be begging for it, but on reflection, the money fact was that the first thing she did to try to revive him was to put bulldog clips on his nipples. (Didn't work.) TheSmokingGun.com//The Australian Comments 'clawhammer_bondage'
Your Daily Loser
He remains at large, so he's not yet a loser, but, still . . why would Silbestre Menera, 32, decide to escape from California's Stanislaus County Inmate Honor Farm on the day before his scheduled release? KCRA-TV (Sacramento) Comments 'silbestre_menera'
People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Sourcing is not up to Chuck's standards, but the accompanying video looks good enough so we're going with it: "Xing" (or "Xian"), 41, called police in Hong Kong last week from Lan Tian park to request assistance in getting his manhood unstuck from one of the holes in a steel bench (on which he, lacking a partner that night for sex, had mounted). WeirdAsiaNews.com reported this, based on Chinese-media video and news //Video Comments 'bench_sex'
Your Daily Jury Duty (Bonus doubleheader!) [no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only] (1) Stanley Tippett, Peterborough, Ontario, points out that he's a married man with five children and so how could he be guilty of abducting and assaulting a 12-yr-old girl? National Post (2) Robert Craft, Salt Lake City, might have gotten mad at various family members and threatened them with his chainsaw and his Weedeater. Salt Lake Tribune Comments 'tippett_andcraft'
More Things to Worry About on Monday
Arrested in South Windsor, Conn., for drug-dealing: Mr. Almighty Supremebeing Allah . . . . . Angela Tuttle is the new, self-elected constable of Hancock County, Tenn. (no candidates on the ballot; she wrote her name in; she wins, 1-0) . . . . . The downscale airline easyJet finally settled up with the vacationers stranded in the Canary Islands when the pilot's license expired before he could get the return trip airborne . . . . . Immigration and Customs Enforcement's new self-deportation program (if illegals give themselves up, we'll deport them gently), targeted to 457,000, already has, er, 3 sign-ups. Comments 'worry_080811'
As I advised last week, August is historically slow on weird news (though rich this year on trivia, like, y'know, war in Georgia, and the Presidential campaign, and the contests for worldwide athletic domination), and thus Chuck's Hand-Picked Overnights will not appear on Tuesday. See ya Wednesday. Today's Newsrangers: Emory Kimbrough, Joe Littrell, Paul Music, Kathryn Wood, Ian Pert, James Wicht, Kevin Staggers, Karl Olson, Bob Pert, Larry Ellis Reed, Eric Appellof
I just read this breezy yet well-researched pop-sci book to write it up for THE BARNES & NOBLE REVIEW, and my essay will appear there soon. But for now, I can heartily recommend it to WU readers interested in the many unexplained weirdnesses lurking beneath the tidy coverlets of science.
I imagine that many dog owners have noticed that dogs can "catch" yawns from humans, and vice versa (I think). So was an experiment to verify this really necessary? The animal behaviorists at the University of London evidently thought so. In their defense, I'd argue that just because something seems obvious, it still might yield interesting results when examined under controlled conditions in a laboratory setting. From the Aug 2008 issue of Biology Letters:
This study is the first to demonstrate that human yawns are possibly contagious to domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). Twenty-nine dogs observed a human yawning or making control mouth movements. Twenty-one dogs yawned when they observed a human yawning, but control mouth movements did not elicit yawning from any of them. The presence of contagious yawning in dogs suggests that this phenomenon is not specific to primate species and may indicate that dogs possess the capacity for a rudimentary form of empathy. Since yawning is known to modulate the levels of arousal, yawn contagion may help coordinate dog–human interaction and communication. Understanding the mechanism as well as the function of contagious yawning between humans and dogs requires more detailed investigation.
The BBC has a video of a yawning dog -- making me sleepy! (Thanks, Sandy!)
Discovering traces of a forgotten surrealist/pop artist is always nice and weird. That's why I'm happy to present here some data on Eugênio Hirsch--a name I believe will be little-known to English-speaking art-lovers.
Eugênio Hirsch (Vienna, 1923 - Rio de Janeiro, September 23 2001) was a visual artist of Austrian origin, considered one of the pioneers of Brazilian graphic design.
Eugênio Hirsch was born in Vienna, Austria in 1923. Given the imminence of World War II his family emigrated in 1938 to Argentina, where Hirsch was highlighted as a graphic artist. During his stay in Argentina, he lived in Buenos Aires where he worked for the Encyclopedia Codex. In 1947 he met Monteiro Lobato, who illustrated texts mentioned in the editorial. He also lived in San Miguel de Tucuman where he worked with Lino Spilimbergo Enea.
In 1955 he emigrated to Brazil. Beginning in 1960 he was hired by the publisher "Civilização Brasileira" and in a short time revolutionized the concept and design of book covers, becoming one of the biggest names in this specialty. In 1960 he won the Jabuti Award (highest distinction in the field Brazilian literary and artistic). He was considered a pioneer of graphic design with decisive influence on subsequent generations. One of his favorite quote was "Uma feita layer is to attack, did not to please" ( "A cap is used to attack, not to please"). In 1965 he traveled to the United States where he collaborated with Playboy magazine and then to Europe, but then returned to his adoptive country, Brazil.
Among his most famous works include the illustration done for the novel Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. He was also recalled for his eccentric personality.
Eugênio Hirsch died in Rio de Janeiro on September 23, 2001.
You can see some of his book covers on this Flickr page. But my favorite is this one he did for the novel Flesh by the great Philip Jose Farmer.
How did I chance upon Hirsch's work? Through this pictorial in Playboy for December 1965. The mildly NSFW totality of the feature is to be found after the jump.
Tired of the constant struggle every morning trying to get your goatee to look perfect? GoateeSaver revolutionizes the way you shave and trim your goatee. GoateeSaver can be customized to your face in seconds, with three easy adjustments. Just slide it over your mouth and shave to get the perfect look that women will admire and men will respect.
Plus it can also double as a Hannibal Lecter costume for Halloween.
Those of us who thought that soporific New Age music began and subsequently passed out of fashion with Windham Hill have not been keeping abreast of trends. According to this recent article in The Los Angeles Times, "spa music" is still big business, as various artists seek to create the most snooze-inducing tracks they can.
For a sample, listen to "Magic Forest" by David Arkenstone. He's got tons of stuff on YouTube if you're in need of a nap.
[This image is from The Saturday Evening Post for May 5, 1945. As you can tell from the slightly mismatched borders, it's two separate scans, upper and lower, with the division just above the punchline caption. Excuse my impoverished Photoshop skills.]
Once upon a time, hillbillies were a powerful iconic staple of American life. But alas, no longer. Perhaps The Beverly Hillbillies was their dying gasp. Since then, PC guidelines no longer allow for such stereotypes, as the Abercrombie & Fitch folks found out a few years back, when they tried to market this T-shirt. And so our national mythology is a little drabber and duller.
Unlike most bloggers, I don't have much worthwhile to say; what I bring to the table is my obsessiveness in scanning hundreds of news stories a day and picking some good ones for you. So when my hotshot, 15mbps cable connection is out, I lose my mojo. (No dial-up; no setting up shop at Starbucks; I'm not quite that obsessive.) My cable was out at 3 a.m. when I awoke. I went back to bed. It just came back on (8:45 a.m.). Not quite that obsessive. I'm done 'til Monday morning. Well . . . except for this one, left over from yesterday: Comments 'editors_080809'
Your Daily Jury Duty [no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Ronald Barche, 47, who (despite his suave appearance) has been charged with trying to seduce an underage girl. Sarasota Herald-Tribune Comments 'ronald_barche'