Police in Peru have arrested three men, charging them with kidnapping dozens of people, killing them, and draining the fat from the corpses to sell on the black market for use in making cosmetics. Two of the men were carrying bottles of liquid human fat when arrested, telling police it was worth $60,000 a gallon. This has prompted the FBI to warn Americans who participated in last week’s Thanksgiving gorge fest to be on the alert for copycats who need the money so they can pay outrageous prices for scalped Zhu Zhu Pets.
Archive for November 2009
The Silverdome football stadium in Pontiac, Michigan, which cost $55.7 million when it was built in 1975, has been sold at auction for $583,000, which is about 1% of its original cost and less than the median price of a home in San Francisco. It was bought by a group of real estate investors from Toronto who plan to move the stadium to Canada where more people are employed so they can afford to buy tickets to see sporting events.
Just as they have for the past 24 years, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group has released their annual list of dangerous toys just in time for Christmas shopping. The bad toy list includes the Stompers Triceratops from Playskool that they say is loud enough to cause hearing loss and Pretty Princess Puppy Purse from Claire’s that has “potentially toxic” chemicals. While not dangerous, they’re discouraging parents from purchasing Put Your Clothes Back On Elmo, Ethnic Cleansing Barbie, and the Zhu Zhu Pets Special Edition Richard Gere Gerbil.
Ninety-five years after he died, Galileo’s body was moved from a storage place to a tomb in Santa Croce Basilica in Florence. During the move people managed to remove three fingers, a vertebra, and a tooth. The spineless thieves were never fingered, though one of the digits was recovered and is in the Museum of the History of Science in Florence while the vertebra is at the University of Padua. The tooth and other two fingers were, well, missing. Recently an 18th-century glass vase was bought at an auction and—lo and behold!—the thumb, finger, and tooth inside turned out to be Galileo’s. They won’t be dropped off the Leaning Tower of Pisa, they’ll go on display at the Museum of the History of Science next spring. Galileo, Galileo, Galileo Figaro Magnifico-o-o-o-o!
In a new book, Vatican historian Barbara Frale says computer enhanced images of the Shroud of Turin show faintly written words in Greek, Latin, and Aramaic that prove it’s Jesus’ burial cloth, this in spite of the radiocarbon dating that found the shroud was made in the 13th or 14th century. Frale says the writing includes the name “Jesus Nazarene” in Greek, a partial word in Latin that reads “iber,” more Greek that can be translated as “removed at the ninth hour,” and the Aramaic phrase “Honk if you love the guy buried in this shroud.”
Having trouble cashing in your frequent flier miles because there are no seats left? Let them accrue and get a breast implant. Or a face lift. Or even hair replacement. You can do this with Finnair’s Plus Loyalty program. Breast augmentation surgery at Nordstroem Hospital in Helsinki—you didn’t think they were going to do this in-flight, did you?—will set you back 3.18 million points, which is 120 round-trip flights between Helsinki and New York. Pre-purchase consultation, warranty—seriously!—and in-flight headphones for the movie are extra.
Tired of the W? Looking for bigger and better hotel thrills? Head to Nantes, France, where you can sleep in the Hamster villa. Yes, for only 99 euros ($158) a night you can live like a hamster by having hamster chow for meals, running in a giant wheel, and sleeping in hay stacks. Why? According to owner Yann Falquerho, who dressed as a hamster for the interview with Reuters, “Often, the adults who come here have wanted or did have hamsters when they were small.” Or maybe they watched Hamsterdance a few too many times during their formative years.
Student chefs at a culinary school in Colombia have created a “love dessert” made with passion fruit—which got its name because Catholic missionaries thought parts of the fruit had religious connotations, not because of any aphrodisiac qualities—whipped cream, chocolate, and Viagra. Yes, you need a prescription to order it. No, they don’t make any promises. And no, they’re not planning on making another version as a banana split.
When 27-year-old Sergey Gavrilov’s mother refused to give him money for vodka, he did what any deranged Russian son would do—he hit her over the head with a brick, strangled her with an electric cord, put her body out on the balcony, and went on a two-day drinking and gambling binge. Soon after, he ran out of food so for the next month he made soup and pasta sauce using meat sliced from his mother’s frozen body. He confessed to the crime, but explained that “I did not like the meat very much. It was too fatty. But I was so hungry, I had to eat it.” He was given 14 years and three months in jail, slightly less than the 15 years the Russian criminal code dictates because, as the judge so sympathetically—or is that pathetically?—said, “He was not keen to eat the meat, he just was hungry.” Besides, the closest Safeway was too far to stagger to.
According to the dating website BeautifulPeople.com, which only lets “beautiful people” join, the British are just about the ugliest people in the world. You see, when someone applies to become a member, they post a recent photo and fill out a personal profile. Then existing members of the opposite sex vote on whether to accept them or not. Swedish men are at the top with 65% of them being accepted, while 76% of Norwegian women are allowed to join. Nearly 1.8 million people from 190 countries have been rejected, including seven out of eight British men and four out of five British women. Only Russian and Polish men have done worse. Apparently Photoshop doesn’t have a strong market penetration in Britain, Russia and Poland.
A professor of food chemistry at the University of Missouri-Columbia is trying to create ice cream that’s good for you by adding fiber, antioxidants and probiotics. Ingolf Gruen admits that it will be important for the ice cream to also taste good, but is convinced that Flax Heathbar Omega-3 Crunch could be a hit.
Researchers at the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine have discovered the Holy Rabbit Grail—they’ve managed to create artificial bunny penises. They did this by taking a small piece of rabbit penis tissue and using it to grow cells in a lab dish. Then they seeded the cells onto a scaffold made of rabbit penis cartilage, watered it, and six weeks later—voila!—they had a new, working rabbit penis. While they may not be as lucky as rabbit’s feet to us humans, they’re much luckier for the rabbits that donated their cartilage.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Reynolds American, the country’s second-largest cigarette manufacturer, is in talks to buy Niconovum, a Swedish company that makes products to help people stop smoking. It’s a concept. One akin to your local neighborhood heroin dealer opening a rehab clinic.
You might remember that a few years back Barbie dumped Ken after 43 fun years together, then took up with an Australian boogie boarder named Blaine. Well it didn’t work out —go figure—so they brought Ken back a year later. So what’s Ken up to these days? He’s a Palm Beach Sugar Daddy. Yes, that’s what Mattel is calling their new doll: “Palm Beach Sugar Daddy Ken.” He wears white pants and a patterned green blazer, has a George Hamilton tan and a coif that trumps Donald Trumps’, and walks a little white dog. Mattel says the $81.99 doll got its name because the dog is named Sugar and Ken is the dog’s “daddy.” Uh huh. Sure. Right. They also say the doll, which is due out next April, is intended for adults. Can the Apocalypse be far behind?
Suppose you already have the coolest American Girl dolls. You know, like the African-American doll, American Indian doll, Jewish doll, and even the one that “lived” during the Great Depression. Well now you can get one from the Great Recession. Mattel has released Gwen Thompson, the first homeless doll. According to the pamphlet that comes with it, Gwen’s father walked out on the family, her mother lost her job, and now she and Mom live in a car. Like most homeless people, she can be yours for only $95. Car, dirty clothes, and empty Starbucks cup to hold out to passersby are extra.
A professor at the University of Colorado claims magpies aren’t just aggressive predators, but much like the modern human male in movies, they also have a compassionate side. He studied four of the birds and noticed that they feel grief and hold funeral gatherings for their fallen friends, even laying grass “wreaths” beside their bodies. Heckle and Jeckle refused comment for the story because they were in mourning.
BridgeAnne d’Avignon, a seventh-grader in Watsonville, California, created a family tree with the help of her 80-year-old grandfather that shows the genealogical relationship between all the U.S. presidents. It turns out that President Barack Obama is related to every other U.S. president except Martin Van Buren, each being traced back to John “Lackland” Plantagenet, a king of England and signer of the Magna Carta. She also discovered that Obama is her 11th cousin, that everyone in the world is related because we all trace back to a single 3.8-billion-year-old organism, and that creationists don’t believe in evolution because they have yet to evolve.
A video is circulating of a Larry King CNN Special on Michael Jackson that many people think includes several scenes in which Michael’s ghostly spirit can be seen in the background. Even stranger, they say at least one of the scenes was cut out when the show was re-broadcast! Larry King and his crew say what people see is actually the shadow of a crew member. Others say it’s further proof that Paul is dead. Who knows? After all, if Larry King can host a show when he’s obviously been dead for years, anything is possible.