Saturday, December 4, 2010


Portrait sitter 12/3/10 Kim, who is one of 3 bloggers who mind the store at the Death Reference Desk, told me about this show in Portland, Oregon (the show ended in October, but the site is worth a look). My friend Sue's son sent along this link about this show in New York (unfortunately also over).

Baby elephants in a bind 11/30/10 German engineers have developed a robotic elephant trunk.

Giverny 11/29/10 Italian scholar believes remains of model for Mona Lisa lie in a landfill.

Oogy 11/23/10 Canine hermaphrodite looking for a good home in England. Chihuahua joins Japanese police force.

Heads 11/21/10 Reader Charles follows the blog A Journey Around My Skull and notes that on this day, we both posted about heads. Loren was reminded of the book War Against War!, which I mentioned in an earlier post.

In Pompeii... 11/10/10 Dungeons where gladiators fought are opened to visitors at the Roman Colosseum. Retirement home for gladiators discovered in Turkey.

Peruvian pyramid 11/7/10 My friend Sue notes that Peruvian dogs are sometimes placed around the neck of an ill person because they are known for having a high body temperature. My Peruvian friend Barbara adds that in her country, the dogs mentioned in this post are widely called "Perro Chino" (Chinese Dog), not because they were from China, but because the conquering Spaniards misheard the Peruvian natives call them "Perro Chimu" (Chimu being the name of one of the Pre-Inca tribes)!

"Tassie" treasures 11/6/10 Englishman tracking thylacine sightings.

Buttons! 11/3/10 My friend Val let me know about the Pearly Kings and Queens of London.

"La Llorona" deconstructed 10/30/10 Priscilla pointed out our synchronicity: she had just posted about "La Llorona"!

Specimen swallowed 10/29/10 Charlie, the smoking South African chimp, dies at 52. Malaysian baby kidnapped from her home and killed by a macaque. Town in Thailand holds annual feast for monkeys.

Dim sum 10/27/10 Follower Kent shared a memory:
"The first time I ate dim sum was at a large Chinese restaurant in San Francisco. My date and I were the only two Caucasians out of many dozens of people. I thought I was ordering a dish of tiny spare ribs. But when I picked one up it fanned out into a webbed duck's foot. The restaurant owner came at sat at our table. He said, 'Not very many Caucasians order ducks feet.' I said, 'Oh, I love them,' as I ate the webbing from between the toes. He said, 'We have a hard time getting enough duck's feet.' I thought, 'How can that be?' But now I realize that there are more Chinese in the world than there are Americans. And only two little feet per duck."
Tarra 10/13/10 Here is a petition to allow Carol to visit Tarra, if you care to add your name.

A sampling of diaries 10/7/10 Journal of a medic who survived the Holocaust.

Lost languages 10/6/10 Reader Cynthia notes that she arranged for an author to speak on this very subject, and recommends his book. Chase quite likes pidgin (dictionary here) and remarks, "Esperanto wishes it could be so cool!"

Drunk animals 10/4/10 Pygmy goats on magic mushrooms in England. Follower Asa shares the following story:
"Your post about drunk animals prompted me to send you this note. You see, during prohibition my family were bootleggers in the California Bay Area (Novato, to be precise). They had a rather excellent little arrangement worked out. A local judge happened to also be a frequent customer, and he would call them whenever the law was headed their way. I should clarify that they actually made the alcohol in question, as well. They lived on a small farm and had all the equipment and resources necessary to turn corn mash into an intoxicating beverage. This worked fine until one day my great-grandfather wasn't home. The judge called with the news that a raid was imminent within the hour, and my poor great-grandmother freaked out. They had buckets of fermenting corn mash to hide, and she had no idea what to do. So, being a resourceful individual, she fed it to the farm animals, who proceeded to get completely staggering black-out drunk. The way she told the story, the horses were stumbling around while the cows were making a tremendous noise (before they laid down to sleep it off), and even the birds that managed to grab some of the mash were unable to fly. You can imagine the scene that greeted my great-grandfather on his arrival. And the best part? The cops never showed up." Asa's Mom adds that a big snake lived on the creek that ran next to the pig pen, and after it had crawled down in the trough to get at the mash, they found it laying stiff as a board (presumably how snakes look when they get drunk). Also, the hens stopped laying eggs!
Double take 10/3/10 In response to this post, Chase sent the following joke:
Salesman stops at a farm for a rest and a drink of water and happens to spot a pig with two wooden legs. He asks the farmer,"What's the story with the pig there?" Farmer answers,"Glad you asked! That there is the most remarkable pig you will ever see in your life! One day I was out in the field and a rabid fox snuck up behind me. It was just about to bite when that there pig ran up and chased him away!" "Wow," said the salesman,"That's really something!" "You ain't heard the half of it," said the farmer, "One day I was plowing the north forty when the tractor tipped over and pinned me underneath it. I started to go into shock but that pig gave me mouth to mouth resuscitation then he ran to the house and brought back help." "Holy cow!!!!!," said the salesman, "What can't that pig do?" "Did I tell you that he picked out the winning numbers in the state lottery. Made me a rich man," the farmer told him. "Gosh," answered the salesman. "That IS the most remarkable pig I've ever seen but, what happened to him? Why is he missing his legs?" "A pig that special," said the farmer, "you don't eat him all at once."
A generous helping of vegetables 9/23/10 A Chinese farmer grows world's largest cucumber.

Recent history repeats itself 9/22/10 The new owner of a foreclosed Florida home finds a skeletonized body in a car in the garage.

Shaman burials 9/4/10 Paleontologists in Peru find tobacco 2.5 million years old. An international team finds that coca leaves were 1st chewed 8,000 years ago. A Neolithic tomb discovered in England. Cross-dressed mummy found in Egypt. U.S. repatriating 19 items found in King Tut's tomb. Superstition prompts reburial of Korean mummy.

Dalian 8/12/10 German anatomist Gunther von Hagens has launched on-line sales of plastinated bodies and body parts.

Credit where credit is due
8/10/10 Chase forwarded this link about a new book of photomicrography.

Fatal lightning 7/12/10 Giraffe killed on the set of a TV drama being filmed in South Africa.

Discovered documents 6/12/10 Sketches of medieval king's skull found in England. Missouri library receives donation of 18th c. Shakespeare volumes.

Accidental crittercam! 6/11/10 Photos taken by diver while lost at sea.

Antique chocolates 6/10/10 New chocolate box based on 1920s design.

Great molasses flood 5/15/10 Ohio silo collapse releases a "sea of corn."

Crafty bees 5/14/10 Bees nesting in the wing of a Florida jet. Florida man's home invaded by 2 warring colonies of bees. The walls of a bee-infested house in California are dripping with honey.

Plum Island 5/7/10 American inventor Dean Kamen has his own private island in Long Island Sound.

Xenoglossia 4/17/10 Croatian girl comes out of a coma speaking fluent German.

Corpses in strange places 4/6/10 California police have identified the body of a woman whose corpse mummified after 10 months in the passenger seat of an illegally parked car. Irish man evades customs with the body of his mother.

Dwarfs on display 3/26/10 Darling Dagmar reenters the wrestling ring. Nepalese teenager officially named world's shortest man.

Treasure trove 3/1/10 British boy of 3 finds $4 million medieval pendant.

Temple Grandin 2/26/10 New Jersey man is 1st autistic presidential appointee.

Ironic deaths 2/4/10 Twin Australian sisters shot in Colorado, but which one was killed and why?

Fractals 1/28/10 Benoît B. Mandelbrot, the mathematician who developed the field of fractal geometry, died in October.

Sinkholes 1/12/10 Sinkhole opens up overnight in Germany.

Secret rooms 12/25/09 Secret chamber discovered in India's National Library. Roman temple dedicated to Diana found in Italy.

Child heroes 12/23/09 Ohio toddler saves dad.

Alligator urban legends 11/14/09 A Florida gator gobbled up a 50lb dog. A Florida man is killed by driver swerving to avoid an alligator. New fossil crocodile found in Thailand.

Circus animals on the lam 11/13/09 The snakes that turned up in a Toronto couple's washing machine belonged to this man. A circus lion attacks its trainer in Ukraine. A kangaroo in Germany was hit by a car and had to be euthanized. A Georgia man had a buffalo in his swimming pool. A Florida animal sanctuary allows visitors to swim with a tiger. (By the way, when you cross a lion and a tiger you get a most gigantic beast.) A jaguar that escaped during a hurricane killed a man in Belize. A man showering in a national park in Zimbabwe was mauled to death by lions. Ohio man finds serval in his garage. Koala walks into Australian bar. German man arrested for smuggling tarantulas through the mail.

Scrimshaw 10/29/09 Russians are mining woolly mammoth tusks to meet the demand for ethical ivory.

Docking cow tails 10/27/09 A "unicorn cow" in China. North Dakota cows are flown in to help rebuild Kazakhstan's beef industry. German cattle adopt a wild boar.

Message in a bottle 10/4/09 Roxanne sent along the link to this story.

Oarfish 9/25/09 Rare oarfish washes up on Malibu beach.

Victor Noir 8/10/09 Part of a Manhattan sculpture has achieved a shine.

Adventurers Club 8/9/09 Treehouse stands in Manhattan.

Jaws in 1916 8/8/09 Shark snatches underwater camera of photographer in the Bahamas. A man saves a woman being bitten by a shark in Australia by grabbing its tail.

Creative cremains 7/24/09 Illinois funeral director sentenced to prison for mix-up of ashes. Grandma's cremated remains accidentally sold at garage sale.

Rapid prototyping 7/1/09 British fetus with a big grin.

Frogs, deformed and fanciful 6/26/09 Frog deformities in New Mexico caused by a parasite.

Birthing and hoarding bunnies 6/18/09 A Florida woman has been barred from owning horses when she failed to care for the 34 she had. California family hoarded 1,000 rats, which are now up for adoption. Canadian man hoarded 60 pigeons and lots of junk.

"Seven Pounds" 6/14/09 Swedish scientists are grinding up jellyfish as a source of solar power.

Elusive animals 6/4/09 Red foxes rediscovered in Nevada. New carnivorous mammal found in Madagascar. New species of bat discovered in Ecuador. Long-whiskered owl seen in Peru for the 1st time in 26 years.

Green eggs and ham 5/11/09 Dozens of pigs were killed or had to be rounded up when the tractor-trailer transporting them in Canada flipped over.

Accidental fossil discoveries 5/5/09 Dinosaur skull found in marble of an Italian church. Dinosaur track found at New Jersey construction site. Human fossil shows that our ancient ancestors had compassion. Fossil eggs found in South Africa in 1976 turn out to have earliest dinosaur embryos known. Ancient engraving may indicate that mammoths lived in Florida. More than 1,000 fossils found at California construction site.

Ouroboros 4/27/09 Longest snake in captivity dies. British golfer bitten by snake during tournament in China.

Bears in the news 4/24/09 Dead bear left on the doorstep of a California meat market. Michigan teenager bags a big black bear. Washington man survives bear attack. A koala survives being shot 15 times in a cruel attack in Australia. Bears in Russia have been snacking in the cemeteries. Dramatic photos of a bison being chased by a bear in Yellowstone. Gourmet food festival in Italy features bear meat goulash.

Centenarians - and then some 3/25/10 Mexican woman granted U.S. citizenship at age 101. Reminiscences of 105-year-old Oklahoma woman. World's oldest woman dies at 114 in the West Indies.

Preserved in amber 2/24/09 Ancient amber contains 700 new species of insects.

Edward Gorey 2/20/09 Petunias now available in black.

Disturbingly young parents 2/14/09 Girls of 10 gave birth in Romania and Spain.

Disturbing decapitations 1/23/09 An Australian man was decapitated while cleaning equipment in a poultry plant. A gardener in Florida was decapitated when he was accidentally pulled into a woodchipper. New York actor kills his mother with a 3' sword.

Sword swallower 12/18/10 Performer downs century-old serrated saw in Connecticut.

Big book, little book 12/16/10 A 6' x 9' atlas has been released by an Australian publisher.

Albinos 11/18/08 Tanzanians elect 1st albino to office.

Amputation 10/19/08 A Chinese girl's amputated hand was grafted onto her leg before reattachment (pictured).

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