The Living Stump is the remnant of a tree whose roots became symbiotically intertwined with a neighboring tree. So that when one tree was cut down, the partner tree continued to nourish the stump, which did not decay as any other chopped-down tree might be expected to.
Have you ever noticed that some people, when their picture is taken, tilt their head to the side? The behavior is called head canting. I never knew this until I stumbled upon an article titled "Head Canting In Paintings: An Historical Study" in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior (Spring 2001).
Some factoids about head canting:
• Researchers speculate that it's a submissive gesture. The sociologist Erving Goffman described it as "a form of ingratiation or appeasement achieved by reducing one's overall height."
• The authors of the "Head Canting in Paintings" article examined 1498 figures in the works of 11 painters from the 14th to the 20th centuries. They concluded that, throughout history, head canting has been associated with submissiveness:
religious and mythological figures exhibited much more head canting than commissioned portraits. This finding supports the idea that head canting is strongly connected with the expression of submission, appeasement, ingratiation, and request for protection... In contrast, in paintings portraying nobles, professionals, and artists, head canting was minimal or absent.
Some googling about the subject also uncovered a bit of trivia:
Head-tilting was a signature cue of method actor James Dean. Dean's head-tilts seemed to say, as East of Eden director, Elia Kazan put it, "Pity me, I'm too sensitive for the world."
4”x5” camera made from Aluminium, Titanium, Brass, Silver, Gem Stones and a 150 year old skull of a 13 year old girl. Light and time enters at the third eye, exposing the film in the middle of the skull.
Charles Tripp, the "Armless Wonder," performed with Barnum's circus. He could do just about anything with his feet, including shaving and carving wood. Eli Bowen was known as the "Legless Acrobat." He also toured with the Barnum and Bailey Circus. It was when the two of them paired up together that they achieved the peak of their popularity. This photo apparently happened spontaneously. From thehumanmarvels.com:
While the pair posed for promotional photographs one of them spotted a tandem bicycle. In no time at all the two gents not only mounted the bicycle-built-for-two, but rode off together laughing as boys would. The photographer quickly snapped the pair mid-ride and the resulting surreal photograph still draws perplexed smiles.
"Best Yearbook Photo Ever"
I don't know that this photo ever actually appeared in a yearbook, but it's circulated all around the web with this caption. It could be an engagement photo, but it's more fun to imagine it in a yearbook. [Accordion Guy]
The 2005 Boynton Beach High Yearbook included this shot of Robert Richards being held on a leash by his girlfriend, Melissa Finley. The fact that he's black and she's white didn't sit well with some people, including Richards' mother, who demanded that all copies of the yearbook be recalled. [Palm Beach Post]
Patrick Agin wanted this photo in his Portsmouth High School yearbook, but the school refused, citing its zero-tolerance weapons policy. Critics of the decision noted that the school mascot was a Revolutionary War soldier carrying a rifle. [NY Times]
Too Pale, Not Smiling
11-year-old Asheana Maiheapt was sick the day class photos were taken, so the school used a picture of her taken by a school photographer. But Asheana's mother hated the photo, arguing that her daughter looked too pale in it and wasn't even smiling. She demanded the school recall all copies of the yearbook. She must have felt much better when the New York Post plastered the photo on its front page. [ABC News]
Here at WU Central, the proprietors believe in training up the next generation to be observant and appreciative of all things weird. Hence the photo you see here.
This image was taken by my tweener niece, Becky Fuller, at the farm my brother Frank and his wife Beverly own in Medford, Oregon. It depicts a curious beast Becky calls "the curly horse."
Becky is enrolled in 4-H, and they've plainly been conducting secret experiments to hybridize sheep and horses. How else to explain the odd woolly fur of this anomalous quadruped, its mullet-like mane, or the unnaturally symmetrical appearance of its brown "stockings"?
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.