Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Toe Cheese – It’s What’s For Dinner

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Nope. We know what you’re wishing and your hopes are wrong. That’s not an old rice cake that someone dropped under the couch six months ago. It’s not a urinal cake either…because even that wouldn’t be as bad.

It’s exactly what your brain is screaming that it wasn’t right now…

That’s a block of cheese grown from…hold on to your lunch and put down anything you might be eating right now, kids…

Human toe cheese.

Not only did Christina Agapakis and Sissel Tolaas, who’re a part of an exhibit in Dublin called Grow Your Own…Life After Nature that is full of projects like this, create cheese wheels made from toe cheese. No. They swung for the wall by creating cheese wheels grown from other yummy ingredients like armpit sweat and bellybutton debris.

By scraping the bacteria from places that make every single one of cringe, they cultured that bacteria into cheese wheels that no one should ever, ever, EVER eat for fear of being that person for the rest of their lives.

But then again…if you served it to someone and they didn’t know what it was? Would that be a bad thing if they liked it?

You can let your last meal come up now.

[Sploid (via Gizmodo)]

Latest Chinese Beach Fashion – The Facekini!

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

The bikini debuted in 1946. It’s gone through a lot of variations. There’s been a monokini, microkini, tankini, trikini, pubikini (yes…it’s a real thing) and the mankini. But only occasionally has the phrase ‘nightmare fuel’ ever been associated with the bikini…until now.

Because Chinese culture prefers white, porcelein-like skin to the tan-loving people of the west, women on beaches in China are now sporting what’s been dubbed the ‘facekini’.

It’s basically a fancy name for ski mask worn by anyone up to no good who’d rather have their face NOT show up on YouTube or the local news while getting their hooligan on or doing some burglaring.

Seeing people sporting these on the beach is a lot like David Lynch is shooting an episode of American Horror Story…with the exception that this is real.

Nothing quite like checking out a woman from behind on the beach only to have her turn around sporting one of these things on her face.

Cue the ‘stabby shower music’ from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho!

[Reuters]

Papa New Guinea Cannibal Cult Caught

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Almost 30 people have been arrested during a dawn raid on what’s believed to be a cannibal cult in Papua New Guinea.

Members range from a 13-year-old boy to a teacher in his 50s. Two men are still on the run.

The group has killed at least four men and three women since April according to local authorities.

“The group alleges that there were some deaths related to sorcery in the area.
“They were initiated into a cultural house and believe they could identify sorcerers. It has been an ongoing problem.”

Although sorcery is legally defined in Papua New Guinea, the government’s Law Reform Commission is trying to rid that particular outdated legalese because once a murder is claimed sorcery-related the prosecution process becomes murky.

In this case, however, facts, forensic evidence and statements made by the accused have led invesitgators to believe that parts of the victims were eaten.

[Herald Sun Australia]

Sorcery and Witchcraft Punishable By Beheading

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

At first this headline sounded like a joke. This kind of treatment doesn’t still happen ala the Salem witch trials, does it?

It apparently and disturbingly does.

Muree bin Ali Issa al-Asiri was executed several days ago in Saudi Arabia for possession of books and talismans associated with witchcraft.

Asiri wasn’t executed old-school before-the-gun-style either…he was beheaded.

Details on the incident are slowly leaking out at this point. Sebastian Usher, the BBC’s Arab Affairs Editor states that the country’s powerful conservative religious leaders strongly prohibit such practices. A few of them even calling for highest possible punishment for anyone caught practicing ‘sorcery’ which includes fortune tellers and faith healers.

The very real threat of losing your dome over practicing ‘sorcery’ isn’t stopping people from getting all ‘witchy-like’. While pressure from human rights groups saved a television host of a fortune-telling show in 2010, it didn’t save a Saudi woman last December or a Sudanese man last September even after Amnesty International called for their release on both occasions.

Travel tip? Don’t try to catch up on True Blood while you’re there.

[BBC News]

Castelling: The 19th Century’s Answer to Planking

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Over the last year or so we’ve seen a lot of news about people “planking”, “owling”, “horsemanning” and the less than stellar introduction of “snailing”. What most people aren’t aware is that things like the above mentioned fads have been around for a long time.

Which brings us to “castelling”.

The word “castell’ is actually Catalan for “castle”. The concept of “castelling” began sometime in the late 1800s in Valls, Spain.

So what is “castelling”? Much like “planking” and “owling” it’s pretty self-explanatory….castles…made with people.

From Wikipedia:

A castell is considered a success when stages of its assembling and disassembling, can be done in complete succession. The assembly is complete once all castellers have climbed into their designated places, and the enxaneta climbs into place at the top and raises one hand with four fingers erect, in a gesture said to symbolize the stripes of the Catalan flag. The enxaneta then climbs down the other side of the castell, after which the remaining levels of castellers descend in highest-to-lowest order until all have reached safety.

After watching some of these tenuous “castles” collapse in on themselves?

We’re pretty sure we’re going to try to make “snailing” happen.

[Wikipedia]

How Local Merchants Kept The Jersey Devil Alive

Friday, August 21st, 2009

skitched-20090821-085319.jpgFollowing a horrified statewide fascination with the Jersey Devil that peaked in 1909 with a week of non-stop sightings, general panic and even a statement from the Philadelphia Zoo theorizing that the devil was actually a kangaroo fitted with artificial wings, reports of the monster died down and New Jersey’s focus turned to the lawless, bandit-bred Pineys and, of course, World War I. The devil was sighted on and off throughout the 1920s and ‘30s without much regularity and certainly without the mass hysteria that had followed prior encounters.

As years passed, sightings began to dwindle; the legend itself seemed to be quietly nestling down into the annals of folklore, allowing a new generation of anthropomorphized paranoia, from biggie-sized irradiated wildlife to probe-happy telepathic saucer men, to terrify the nation. Eventually, in 1957, an unidentifiable animal carcass was discovered in a burned out section of the Pine Barrens by the Department of Conservation. The charred, mostly skeletal remains were declared to be those of the Jersey Devil, and slowly word spread that the monster was deceased.

In 1960, however, a story that had manifested out of fear, persisted out of the Piney’s cunning and quieted in the wake of modernity and the resultant demystification of America’s wilderness, was suddenly resurrected out of local pride. Recognizing that a bankable hallmark of New Jersey culture had flat-lined in the national consciousness, a group of merchants in Camden, NJ, offered a $10,000 reward for the devil’s capture and promised to construct a paddock for the creature to scream and clop and fly around in. Though the reward was never claimed, stories of the creature persisted, and by the end of 1990s, film, television, hockey and toys had all tipped their hats to the devil.

Even as the 20th century dragged its belly across New Jersey, leaving new highways and the virulent culs de sac of suburban sprawl in its wake, the Pine Barrens remained largely untouched. In 1978, they were declared the country’s first National Preserve and remain under the protection of the Federal government, as do the secrets they contain. With the forest intact and the story of the Jersey Devil laced into the byzantine braid of history, the immortality often ascribed to the creature has been made a reality, turning an agent of death into an icon of tradition through the inadvertent alchemy of fiction.

Spring Heeled Jack: A Fire-Breathing Terror For 19th-Century London

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Weird Things Culture Researcher Matt Finaly takes a weekly look into the social, political and cultural climates of a populace at the time it was affected by a legendary paranormal, extraterrestrial or cryptid phenomenon. It appears on Tuesdays…

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In 1837, something dark and quick began hunting women on the streets of London, pouncing upon them from the shadows and going to work on their clothes with razor talons and flaming breath, only to disappear seconds later, leaping silently over impossibly high hedges and rooftops, skitched-20090721-130406.jpgleaving behind only the shrill, hollow ghost of maniacal laughter and, of course, a panicked victim.

Descriptions of Spring Heeled Jack varied over the 65 years that he laid siege to London’s gas lit back alleys and dark urban bowers, but early witnesses (somewhat) consistently agree that he sported large pointed ears, an equally pointy nose, bulging eyes, sharp claws, the ability to breathe fire and a penchant for agile escapes via inhumanly powerful jumps (hence his media-coined moniker).

John Thomas Haines’ 1840 play, Spring-Heeled Jack, the Terror of London, marked the first official appearance of Jack in a popular entertainment (he had already become a staple of various Punch and Judy street puppet shows), which was followed by a rash of both sightings and corresponding sensationalized fictionalizations throughout the 1840s and ‘50s. In the name of both topicality and word economy, however, we aim to focus on the years prior to Jack’s assimilation into the everyday pop cultural dialogue of Victorian England.

Accepting, as many experts do, that the initial attacks between 1837 and 1838 were perpetrated by a still-anonymous (though one Henry de La Poer Beresford, dubbed “The Mad Marquess,” is a prime suspect) malicious, costumed prankster, and noting that the perpetrator’s image and misdeeds became the stuff of pop culture legend, the question must be posed: What overriding cultural factors contributed the specific physical attributes that the misogynistic hoaxer built into his monster? In short, why was a quick-footed, fire-breathing demon the obvious avatar for blind dread and mass hysteria in 19th century London?

(more…)

Could Deranged Lunatics, Martians, Communists Help Create The Flatwoods Monster?

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009
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Tear Up The Town is a weekly column investigating the social, political and cultural climates of a populace at the time it was affected by a legendary paranormal, extraterrestrial or cryptid phenomenon. It appears on Tuesdays…

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On September 12th, 1952, brothers Edward and Fred May, along with their friend Tommy Hyer, watched a flaming spacecraft streak across the West Virginia sky and crash into the nearby hills.

After running home to tell their mother what they had seen, the boys, along with Ms. May and three other local children, rushed out into the darkness to find the wreckage. After arriving at the top of a hill, the group saw a pulsating red light and, nearby, illuminated by a flashlight skitched-20090714-041711.jpgthey’d brought, a 10-foot tall creature with two bright glowing eyes and a head (or, possibly, cowl) shaped like the ace of spades. The creature made a hissing sound, hovered toward them, and then turned and fled. The group ran screaming from the site and back down the hill into their small town of Flatwoods.

The Flatwoods Monster has gone on to be featured in books, television shows and video games. The creature has been identified as everything from an extra-terrestrial visitor to a cousin of fellow WV-based cyptid, The Mothman, to a startled barn owl. The story has been thoroughly debunked by skeptics, who, along with the barn owl explanation, cite that residents across three states (West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland) reported meteor sightings that night, and say that the red light was almost certainly one of the many aircraft hazard beacons that dot the West Virginia countryside.

What the debunkers fail to address is why a group of seven people would mistake three separate common objects and occurrences for a spaceship crash and an enormous hissing monster. Could Hollywood’s commie-as-martian mania, a 19th century Thunderbird encounter, and the Trans-Allegheny Asylum for the Insane have something to do with it? Tear Up the Town says, “yeah, you know…it’s possible.”

(more…)

Weird Week: Dover Demon, David Berkowitz, Chatty Ghosts, Lonely Bigfoot Hunters

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Previously, this week, on Weird Things.

D555F7C5-E569-406C-B159-E9456C8BD1FA.jpg• A few tips for the novice Bigfoot hunter.

• Could the Son of Sam, a UFO investigating Air Force base and the birth of popular science fiction have helped create the Dover Demon?

• Michael Jackson may be dead, but his ghost is on a world tour.

• What happens, when myriad ghosts, have chosen to haunt a house, stop beings polite and start getting real? They say some really kooky stuff, that’s what.

Rhode Island has never had a Bigfoot sighting, but that might be about to change.

Enjoy the weekend, as always, send weird photos, stories, sounds and happenings to JustinRobertYoung@Gmail.

Call New Element Kryptonite!

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

wiseman
Super-heavy element 112 is now on the scene, more than ten years since it’s creation at the Center for Heavy Ion Research in Germany. And it needs a name. Internet sensation Professor Richard Wiseman believes it should be called Kryptonite, and has started a campaign on his blog to make it so.

If you ask us, it’s about damn time someone put kryptonite on the periodic table. To get on board with the campaign please post your support on his site, and together we can make our universe a little more like the Superman universe.

Note: This won’t change much for the majority of the population, who always thought that kryptonite was an element anyway.

Woman Forced to Hire Witch Doctor Over Curse

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

crystal-ball

Jennifer Madrigal in Ogden, Utah filed a complaint to local police claiming another woman had cursed her. Allegedly during a dispute about food stamps, the offending party cursed the Utah woman that she would be hit by a car. According to Madrigal, this forced her to seek out a witch doctor, who charged $800 to remove the curse with an egg ritual. But hey, it probably would have cost more to hire a lawyer to file a court order to get the curse lifted.

Bizarro version of Disneyland

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

dreamland
Exactly whose dream is Nara Dreamland in Japan? The now closed park has its own princess castle, Matterhorn ride, Jungle Cruise and many other eerily similar versions of famous Disney attractions. It’s also got a building covered in swastikas.
Two intrepid tourists visit it before it closed (or was it already closed!).
A brochure for the park (in Japanese).
Google maps satellite view.
narasatellite