Friday, September 29, 2006



It's a pretty safe bet that Australia invented kangaroo-boxing as a sport, but it's been officially banned here for decades.

Not so in China, where crowds apparently roar with delight when kangaroos are are turned loose on...clowns.

It's hardly a fair fight. The kangaroo's boxing gloves are tiny, plus he's been tethered in place.

But then, if the kangaroo was free he probably would have completely destroyed the clown. Anyone who has ever copped a double kick from even a small kangaroo knows just how strong, how powerful they really are.

From the Daily Mail :

An Australian kangaroo receives a fierce blow to the head by a man dressed in a clown suit in a shameful contest that will further fuel fears over China's barbaric attitude to animals.

The bizarre marsupial-versus-human bout happened during the so-called Animal Olympics in Shanghai.

Animal rights campaigners say the Chinese have an appalling poor record for animal rights protection and have no laws to protect them.

In the fight, the Australian kangaroo appears to reel backwards after receiving a right hook from its garishly attired opponent.

But the 'roo, which was wearing boxing gloves on its front paws, fought back, grappling with the clown who was forced back towards the ropes by its onslaught.

The kangaroo is just one of 300 'athletes' taking part in the annual event, now in its fourth year, at the Shanghai Wild Animal Park.

The event held in a large arena also involves an elephant carrying the Olympic torch and various animals including zebras and mountain goats put through a series of events such as hurdles and races.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


He may have been one hell (literally) of a dicator, but he was one extremely average painter.

These images show the handiwork of a young Adolf Hitler, when he still entertained the fantasy that he was, and would one day be recognised, as a great artist.

The history of these paintings appears to be sketchy, and they are being promoted as "believed to have been painted by Hitler". Presumably it's hard to authenticate the 'art' of one of history's greatest monsters.

Hitler is estimated to have completed some 3000 paintings before he turned to politics, and collecting his art has long been a controversial and extremely competitive business in the United States.

From the Daily Mail (UK) :

Few would give house room to the indifferent scenes of churches, cottages and woodland. Even the auctioneer concedes the amateurish paintings have little artistic merit and would perhaps raise £1 apiece if they went under the hammer.

But a closer look at the signature penned in the corner of the 21 watercolours and two rough drawings might explain why bidders from around the world descended on a quiet Cornish hotel yesterday.

....the pictures are signed AH or A Hitler and believed to be the work of the Nazi dictator, drawn while a young corporal billeted on the France/Belgium border in the First World War.

As a boy Adolf Hitler fantasised at becoming a painter but was twice turned down by Vienna's Academy of Fine Art for lack of talent.

Whatever the childhood artistic abilities, his notoriety pushed prices way above the estimates at the Hitler sale.

For 70 years the paintings sold yesterday had been tucked away in a suitcase gathering dust in a Belgian attic.

They are believed to have been painted between 1915 and 1918 on the borders of France and Belgium where Hitler was a corporal.

Much of the work spent authenticating the paintings was carried out in Belgium. The paper was found to be the right age and the style matches other Hitler works but because 100% authentication could not be guaranteed the auctioneers sold them as 'attributed to Hitler.'

Said one of the auctioneers : "I fully admit the paintings are amateurish and their value was purely down to the artist. If it wasn't for who painted them they would probably not be worthy of selling."

The 23 watercolours and sketches raised a total of more than $US160,000, with the most expensive painting going for around $US14,000.

The modified gas bread ovens used to exterminate millions of Russians, Poles and Germans during the 1940s could also be called "pieces of history", but you wouldn't expect them to go up for auction.

Some people will blow their money on any old piece of crap, as long as they determine it has "name value".

Soon to be auctioned, Stalin's pisspot and Mussolini's muddy old boots. Maybe.

UPDATE : Good Christ, I just found a serious appreciation of Hitler's watercolours and an examination of his "artistic style" :

Comfortable with classical European styles, Hitler apparently was unable and unwilling to accept modern developments in art after 1910. Because the new schools broke radically with comfortable tradition and increasingly with reality itself, he branded them as "degenerate."

....he disliked modern works.

Hitler's fascination with and preference for the realism of the 19th century remained unshakable. His typical landscapes, city scenes and still lifes all dearly indicate how completely he was captivated by conventional forms of expression.

Even though Vlenna was at the height of the art nouveau era during Hitler's years in the city (1907?1913), he was totally unaffected by the movement, and continued to paint conservative subjects in older styles.

Of course, one should not ignore the fact that such traditional themes and styles were the preferred taste of his customers from Vienna's lower middle class. As can be seen in numerous paintings in the catalogue, he frequently copied well-known city views, old engravings and popular paintings of an earlier era: they were undoubtedly easier to sell.

Hitler believed that the foremost requirement for an artist was the ability to reproduce details of life in realistic form. This attention to detail can be seen in his landscapes, city scenes and architectural designs.

Hitler believed that a "proper sensitivity for art," as he expressed it, governed the content of art as well as the techniques. Above all, the subject matter must be understandable for the masses.

"Healthy" art has a "healthy soul," he claimed. It should be "uplifting," "noble," and "idealistic."

He considered certain themes such as the family, everyday work, mythology, rural life and landscapes, the perfected human body, or the heroic soldier to be subjects worthy of art.

His insistence on what he considered "normal" and "healthy" attributes obviously conflicted with the emerging schools of modern art - Impressionism, Expressionism, Cubism, Dadaism, etc.

He claimed these "terrible aberrations" were produced by "scribblers, canvas scrawlers, mental defectives or cultural Neanderthals."

Cultural Neanderthals? Mental defectives?


Hitler didn't just do boring landscapes. He also painted and sketched buildings, nudes and...dogs.

Hanging A Hitler In Your Hallway - The Art Of Evil

Friday, September 22, 2006



Do you like gold with your marmalade? Would paying $US15 for one spoonful make you laugh, or would it make you nod eagerly?

British food giants now regularly turn out publicity grabbing dishes and delicacies to mark this anniversary or that billion dollar holiday or special day. Easter eggs worth tens of thousands of pounds or the $100 Wagyu beef and foi gras sandwich are just a couple of the recents.

Now comes the world's most expensive, ahh, marmalade :

Duerr's, a family-run Manchester firm....has broken its budget to make this superlative version of its signature spread ­ marmalade ­ to mark its 125th anniversary.

The commemorative marmalade costs £5,000 for a 1kg jar. According to the makers, that is the equivalent of £11 per mouthful and £76 per slice of toast ­ significantly beyond the reach of marmalade's most famous fan, Paddington Bear.

The £1,100 hand-crafted crystal jar contains £3,450 worth of 62-year-old Dalmore whisky, £348 worth of vintage Pol Roger champagne, and £120 of edible gold which gives the marmalade a glint when it catches a ray of sunlight.

The makers had the tricky task of ensuring the expensive alcohol did not evaporate during the cooking process, that the gold leaf did not become lumpy, and that great care was taken to cool the mixture, as it could have cracked the jar.

Marmalade arrived in Britain in 1945, from Portugal. For some two hundred years, it was the preserve of the upper classes, until a recipe was published in a cookbook.

Winston Churchill loved his marmalade, and liked to pair it up with some breakfast champagne. Apparently.



It's how he wanted his coffin to be. He was a local top-bloke legend, and he was reknowned for his devotion to restoring hot rods.

When he died, his mates were crushed, but his wife remembered his 16 year old dream of the ultimate coffin for a hot rod enthusiast. They got to work and even included gauges on the inside of the coffin.

This is a bloke has mates.

From the Orange County Register :

Friends and family tricked out Calabrese's gunmetal gray casket with chrome and aluminum parts from his beloved 1958 Chevy Biscayne, complete with license plates and dangling dice (but no purple paint).

(His wife) recalled something her husband of 29 years said at a funeral in 1990, as he was admiring the black, bullet-shaped casket that housed a brother-in-law.

"I want that when I die," he told his wife, "and I want headers on it."

"Whatever you want, dear," Karen Calabrese told her husband.

"If you don't bury me with headers, I'll haunt you."

Friends bolted to the side of the casket two pristine Hooker-brand V8-engine headers Calabrese long had admired. The aluminum-finished exhaust system had hung in Suskie's garage for years.

They affixed to the top of the casket the hand-polished housing for an air cleaner that came from Calabrese's baby, his '58 Chevy.

They fastened valve covers to both sides of the casket, and when pallbearers carried Calabrese's 6-foot-2, 300-pound body to his grave, they gripped clear-backing tape that had "ghost flame" designs on it.

Near the headers, aluminum decals cut in the shape of flames provided the finishing touch.

"If we had another week, I could have slapped an engine and wheels on the casket and driven it here," Suskie said.

Best. Coffin. Ever.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


From the Wiltshire Times :

A large fairy circle has appeared in the lawn of Tom and Sue Gaylard's home...
"It amazed me. I had never heard of it or seen anything like it before and I couldn't believe it."

The perfect ring of mushrooms, know as a fairy or pixie circle, first appeared about three years ago and has re-appeared annually, each time getting bigger.

"We don't believe in fairies of course but it is known as that. We didn't really pay much attention to it but then our daughter-in-law saw it and ran out to make a wish in it."

In times gone past the rings, some of which are hundreds of years old, defied explanation spawning a host of legends in countries around the world to explain their presence.

In English folklore the rings were said to be caused by fairies dancing in a circle, wearing down the grass beneath their feet. Toads would then sit on the worn down areas, poisoning it and allowing the fungus to grow - hence the name toadstool.

The rings are in fact naturally occurring circles of fungi that can grow up to 10 metres in diameter. They are caused by fungi under the ground casting out spores in a circular pattern resulting in the distinctive ring.

In some cases the fungi remain underground and the ring is marked by discoloured patches of grass.

Now You Know.

Monday, September 11, 2006


The worldwide trade, worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year, in human organs, bones and body parts just keeps on getting more twisted and more gruesome.

Now comes news from the UK that patients on the public health system have been implanted with body parts stolen illegally from corpses in the United States :
Several companies have set up in the UK to sell bone implants, ligaments and skin grafts to hospitals and clinics. It is illegal to pay donors for tissue but businesses are paid to harvest, store, process and distribute samples.

The imports have increased because of shortages of bones and other tissue in Britain due partly to restrictions imposed after the scandal over the unauthorised retention of organs at Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool.

Despite the new international trade, the government organisation responsible for human tissue, the Human Tissue Authority, does not know which countries export skin, bone and ligaments to Britain or the quantities shipped in every year.
Go here to read the whole story.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


A 70 year old German-language book that detailed the life and times of Adolf Hitler as a young man has been translated into English and published, revealing a wealth of curious information long forgotten, or ignored, by many English-language biographers of the World War 2-era Nazi leader.

Among the more bizarre claims is that a teenage Adolf Hitler had an obsessive love for a Jewish girl, Stefanie. A girl he never plucked up the courage to actually speak to. None the less, Hitler had once planned on kidnapping her, and also taking her life along with his own in a suicide pact (a fantasy he would live out with wife Eva Braun).

From the Daily Mail :

Hitler would compare opera singers whom he admired to Stefanie, and he ‘took it for granted’ that she had the necessary voice and musical talent to be a great opera singer herself: "Her Valkyrie-like appearance never failed to attract him and fire him with unbounded enthusiasm."

This enthusiasm took the form of writing ‘countless love poems’ to Stefanie, with titles such as Hymn To The Beloved.

Perhaps it is fortunate they no longer exist, as Kubizek recalls Hitler reciting one to him in which "Stefanie, a high-born damsel, in a dark blue, flowing velvet gown, rode on a white steed over the flowering meadows, her loose hair falling in golden waves on her shoulders; a clear blue sky was above; everything was pure, radiant joy."

Kubizek remembered ‘Adolf’s face glowing with fervent ecstasy’ as he recited these verses. Yet in all the four years he worshipped Stefanie, Hitler never once plucked up the courage actually to exchange a single word with her. He insisted that once he met her, no words would be needed.

"For such extraordinary human beings as himself and Stefanie," he told Kubizek, "there was no need for the usual communication by word of mouth: extraordinary human beings would understand each other by intuition." Moreover, Hitler convinced himself not only that Stefanie knew what his views and ideas were, but also that she shared them enthusiastically. Such was the power of his crush on this unwitting girl that he even believed her capable of telepathy.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006



The man who found a monster mushroom in his garden has asked for it to be identified so he can decide whether or not he will slice it up for an omelette, or 70.

From This Is London :

A pensioner is puzzled about an enormous mushroom which has grown in his garden.

Jan Wocial, 70, first noticed the whitish-grey fungi in his garden in Addison Road, Bromley, about three weeks ago.

It was only slightly larger than normal but following the recent heavy rain - it mushroomed to 96cm wide.

Those eyebrows are almost as spectacular as that mushroom.


A conference on obesity in Australia has produced a rising torrent of curious, strange and downright bizarre headlines, including the one above. Here's part of the More Fat People Than Starving claim :

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) there are about 1 billion overweight people in the world of whom 300 million are obese; if this an accurate figure it equates to a world epidemic. There are 800 million underweight people worldwide.

Obesity Now Recognised As A Global Epidemic :
"Obesity is now recognised by the World Health Organisation as an insidious killer and the major contributing cause of preventable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease."

Psychiatrist Claims Drinking Coca-Cola Can Actually Good For You
Dr Foreyt says soft drinks have copped too much criticism in the war on fat.

"I think the answer to really looking at a healthy lifestyle is balance and variety and moderation, and any time you pick out a single culprit you're going to really be in trouble, because, you know, obesity and health risks are all associated with multiple factors."
You probably won't be surprised to learn that Dr Foreyt was paid by Coca-Cola to attend the obesity conference.

One wag described this move by Coca-Cola as being the equivalent of sending cigarette manufacturer reps to a conference on lung cancer.

Australian Health Minister Refuses To Install Any Bans Regarding Junk Food Ads Targetting Children

There's nothing wrong with the odd treat every now and then, according to Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott, so junk food ads will stay on Australian televisions and in magazines.

Mr Abbott today described obesity as potentially the greatest health problem of our time, but said bans on junk food ads would not fix the growing crisis which claims 7000 Australian lives a year.

“There's a big difference between food and tobacco,” Mr Abbott said after opening the 10th International Congress on Obesity in Sydney tonight.

“Every single cigarette does you harm, but even so called junk food in small quantities occasionally is OK, there's nothing wrong with the odd treat.

“To try to treat certain foods as you would cigarettes, it's not an equivalent comparison.”

Abbot likes to badger and ear bash suburban Australians about the need to exercise regularly and eat healthy, fresh foods.

He's so utterly removed from the reality of the lives of most suburban Australians that he doesn't seem to realise that millions of Australian mums and dads spend hours every day sitting in traffic jams or commuting on trains and buses (facing regular delays).

Also, fresh fruit and vegetables are not only more expensive in the outer suburbs of Australian cities, they have also found to be far older, less fresh, than the fruit and vegetables available in major city centres. The older the fruit and veg, the less nutritious it usually is.

Australians are working longer hours than any Australians since the convict era. Less time at home means less time to prepare healthy meals, forcing a reliance on fast foods and highly processed "instant dinner" meals.

7000 Australian untimely deaths per year blamed on obesity but no major attempt from the Health Minister to do anything serious about those numbers.

Absolutely stunning.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Ahhh, yeah, that's right. A major discovery of...whale vomit on a Welsh beach has been headlined as "Gold Rush" in this article.

Here's the high points :

Local officials in North Wales fear of an impending gold rush after beachcombers found precious ambergris or "whale vomit" along its coastline.

The ambergris, also known as grey amber, is considered by many as floating gold because of its high value.

Top perfume makers pay as much as $65 a gram for ambergris - a substance also deemed by Chinese to be an aphrodisiac. One find of ambergris can be worth as much as $3,800.

It is produced when the whale has been eating squid and their parrot-like beaks have irritated the walls of its innards

It's good to know the ingredients of expensive perfume are sourced from such....interesting scent manufacturers. Whale guts, basically. How stupid of me to think those wonderful fragrances came from, like, flowers or something.

Here's some info on ambergris, if you must know more..

Friday, September 01, 2006


I no longer care whether these were made by alien visitors trying to tell us something important, or the result of bizarre atmospheric conditions beyond current explanation, or somehow the work of hoaxers who possess the ability to create vast masterpieces across a half acre of wheat in less than 45 minutes (the time frame in which some massive crop circles have mysteriously appeared).

Whatever they are, whoever made them, however they were created, crop circles are extremely cool and easily the most spectacular public art form in the world today.

No background on these pics (for the moment), just enjoy the visual feast.

14 year old Khagendra Thapa Magar, of Nepal, wants to get listed in the Guiness Book of World Records as The World's Smallest Man, because that's exactly what he is. If he has actually finished growing.

The current record holder of the World's Smallest Man title is a whopping 64cm, porking out at more than 10 whole kilograms.

But Magar is less than 51cm tall and weighs 4.5kg.

Look at a bottle of wine, he's not much taller than that.

From Pravda.Ru :

"Thapa Magar was born in 1992, a couple of hundred km west of Katmandu. From the very beginning it became clear that the boy was far behind others in his growth process. According to his mother, the child began walking independently only at the age of 8 but by the time he was 11 he completely stopped growing. For a long time the parents hid the boy because they were ashamed of his defect but now he has received the long-awaited world-wide fame.

Thapa Magar now has his own support group that has created a special Internet website dedicated to him alone. The activists are hoping to use the site as a fundraising resource in order to gather enough money for the boy’s medical needs, for his education and for his family’s support.

Go here for more.