She wasn't drinking silver, which would have been an easy solution to the mystery. Instead, the doctors offered this explanation:
The physical examination was notable for jaundice, hepatomegaly, and a diffusely tender abdomen. The rectal examination showed silver-colored stool (Panel A)... The appearance of silver stool results from a combination of white stool associated with obstructive jaundice and black stool of melena. After a discussion of treatment options with the patient, a decision was made to focus on her comfort. She was discharged home with hospice care.
In light of this case, the website PoopColors.com should be updated to include silver.
An 'Ex-Lax Movie' doesn't sound like something I'd want to watch. Actually, it's something I'd actively avoid. And I can't imagine the phrase sounded much better back in 1939 and '40 when Ex-Lax ran these ads in magazines such as Life and Woman's Home Companion.
"The girl who punished herself"
Betty: I don't know which is worse... constipation or the remedy! Sally: You're silly to punish yourself that way. Why don't you try Ex-Lax?
Betty: Ex-Lax? You expect that to work for me... a little chocolate tablet? Sally: Don't let its pleasant taste deceive you. Ex-Lax is a dependable laxative—thorough and effective!
LATER Betty: No more strong, bad-tasting laxatives for me! That Ex-Lax was just the thing. It fixed me up fine! Sally: What did I tell you! We've used Ex-Lax in our family for over 30 years.
The Awakening of "Mr. A."
Mr. A: Whew! I hate the very thought of having to take a cathartic. Mr. B: You wouldn't if you'd try Ex-Lax. It tastes swell—just like chocolate.
Mr. A: Ex-Lax? That's what we give the youngsters. What I need is dynamite! Mr. B: Don't kid yourself! Ex-Lax is plenty effective, if that's what's worrying you!
LATER Mr. A: Boy, I feel like a million this morning! That Ex-Lax sure is great stuff! Mr. B: You said it, pal! We've been using Ex-Lax in our family for more than thirty years!
"Mr. Wright found out he was wrong!"
Mr. Wright: Gee, Honey, this stuff is awful! Why do all laxatives taste so bad? Mrs. Wright: All of them don't. Ex-Lax tastes like delicious chocolate.
Mr. Wright: Ex-Lax! That's all right for you and Junior, but I need something stronger! Mrs. Wright: No you don't! Ex-Lax is as effective as any bad-tasting cathartic.
LATER Mr. Wright: I sure am glad I took your advice. It's Ex-Lax for me from now on. Mrs. Wright: Yes, with Ex-Lax in the medicine chest we don't need any other laxative!
The website for Indlovu Gin describes it, somewhat euphemistically, as "The only gin designed by the African elephant from foraged botanicals." Put in plainer language, it's gin made with elephant dung. As the AP reports:
The creators of Indlovu Gin, Les and Paula Ansley, stumbled across the idea a year ago after learning that elephants eat a variety of fruits and flowers and yet digest less than a third of it. “As a consequence, in the elephant dung, you get the most amazing variety of these botanicals,” Les Ansley said during a recent visit to their operations. “Why don’t we let the elephants do the hard work of collecting all these botanicals and we will make gin from it?” he recalled his wife suggesting.
During World War II, the OSS (precursor to the CIA) hatched a plan to defeat General Rommel's Afrika Korps by using synthetic goat poop. The idea was to drop huge amounts of pathogen-laced pseudo-poop over African towns. Local insects would be attracted to the stuff and would then carry the pathogens to Rommel's troops. However, before the plan could be carried out, Rommel's troops were withdrawn from the area and sent to Russia.
In February 1942, General Rommel's Afrika Korps pummeled U.S. forces in North Africa, and the Americans became worried that their defeat would encourage fascist Spain to join the Axis alliance. Moreover, the Germans were amassing troops in Morocco, in preparation for cutting off the railroad from Casablance to Algiers — the sole supply line for Allied forces. A covert operation was needed to debilitate the German troops, break the momentum of the Axis, and save the Allied lifeline... This called for flies.
The plan was to weaken the enemy forces by using flies to spread a witch's brew of pathogens. Given the agency's inability to rear an army of flies, [OSS Research Director] Lovell decided to conscript the local vectors...
Lovell was a chemist, but he'd been out of the laboratory often enough to know that flies love dung. And with a bit of research, he discovered a key demographic fact: There were more goats than people in Morocco — and goat are prolific producers of poop. Lovell now had the secret formula: microbes + feces + flies = sick Germans. Now all he needed was a few tons of goat droppings as a carrier for laboratory-cultured pathogens.
The OSS collaborated closely with the Canadian entomological warfare experts to launch one of the more preposterous innovations in the history of clandestine weaponry: synthetic goat dung. Of course flies are no fools; they won't be taken in by any old brown lump. So the OSS team added a chemical attractant. The nature of this lure is not clear, but a bit of sleuthing provides some clues.
Allied scientists might have crafted a chemical dinner bell by collecting and concentrating the stinky chemicals that we associate with human feces (indole and the appropriately named skatole). While these extracts would have worked, the more likely attractant was a blend of organic acids, some of which had been known for 150 years. Two of the smelliest of these are caproic and caprylic acids, which, by no coincidence, derive their names from caprinus, meaning "goat." Etymologically as well as entomologically astute, Lovell named the operation Project Capricious. So with a scent to entice the flies, Lovell's team then coated the rubbery pellets in bacteria to complete the lures.
All the Americans had to do was drop loads of pathogenic pseudo-poop over towns and villages where the Germans were garrisoned, and millions of local flies would be drawn to the bait, pick up a dose of microbes, and then dutifully deliver the bacteria to the enemy. Lovell worried about keeping the operation clandestine. The Moroccans had to be persuaded that finding goat droppings on their roofs the morning after Allied aircraft flew over was a sheer coincidence. Presumably a good disinformation campaign can dispel almost any suspicion, or, as Lovell intimated, if the plan succeeded there would be very few people in any condition to raise annoying questions about fecal pellets on rooftops...
In the end, however, Lovell didn't have to worry about getting caught by either friends or foes, as the secret weapon was never deployed. Just as the OSS was gearing up to launch the sneak attack, the German troops were withdrawn from Spanish Morocco. They might well have preferred to take their chances with pathogen-laden flies, given that Hitler was sending them to the bloody siege of Stalingrad.
It doesn’t exactly look like the most sophisticated game. So why are copies of Poop Slinger selling for close to $3000 on eBay? Because it’s the rarest PlayStation 4 game in existence. Only 84 copies were ever sold, making it a collector’s item.
Thirteen-year-old Noah De La Paz of California has invented a device to stop dogs from pooping on the lawn of his family’s house. It uses a camera and image-detection software. When a dog is identified, his device emits a high-pitched sound to encourage the dog to move on. Although still in the prototype stage, Noah hopes to eventually bring his invention to market.
I can see some potential problems with his invention. Such as that it doesn't seem to differentiate between pooping and non-pooping dogs. But even so, it sure would beat the currently most popular method of preventing unwanted poopers, which is to put up angry, threatening signs on your lawn.
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.