Weird Wednesday

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Writing this column is an all consuming business. Knowing that each week I have to churn out five or six ‘weird stories’, I can no longer watch the news like a normal human being. No longer can I take in statistics on the state of the economy. No more can I follow the latest political developments. Nor, for that matter, can I abide hearing about the hum-drum antics of this celebrity or that. Instead, I find myself throwing random objects at my television set and wondering where all the weirdness has got to. Anybody would think it’s all a great conspiracy designed to make us think that we live on the most boring planet in the galaxy. You and I, dear, loyal reader, know that the truth; ours’ is a unique world where unusual things are forever going on. Anyway, here is this week’s selection for your reading pleasure.

Weird Goings On

Strange Meat

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As my set of bathroom scales so handily remind me, I love food! Indeed, I pride myself in saying that I’ll try almost anything once… almost anything. Everyone has a line that they just will not cross when it comes to the culinary arts. For each person that line is different; for me it’s eggs (they’re just gross), for my brother it’s baked beans, for vegetarians it’s anything that once had a pulse. We may marvel at how picky others can be about their grub, but there remain, nonetheless, food taboos which are near universal. One such taboo, of course, is cannibalism; the eating of human flesh. We’re all familiar with the occasional story of some loan, warped individual killing, cooking and eating members of his (or her) own species, but these cases, thankfully, remain isolated. Not so in Nigeria, where an unnamed hotel, in the town of Onitsha (Anambra state), was recently shut down for offering ‘long pig’ to its less inhibited clientele.

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In September 2013 police, responding to an anonymous tip-off, raided the eatery and arrested eleven individuals, including the owner, after two human heads wrapped in cellophane were discovered in the kitchen fridge. It was reported that ‘Roasted human head’ even appeared on the menu. Although it is unknown how long the hotel had been offering man-flavoured delicacies, the revelation seems not to have come as too much of a surprise. One man, who sold vegetables at the local market, commented: “I always noticed funny movements in and out of the hotel; dirty people with dirty characters always come into the hotel.” Indeed, one of the hotel’s patrons, a man of God no less, commented on his own experience in the restaurant: “I was told that a lump of meat was being sold at N700. I was surprised. So I did not know it was human meat that I ate at such an expensive price.” At the current exchange rate N700 works out at around £2.57… Sounds like good value for money to me!!

The Final Bell

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When most people die they are content with a simple service, a sad eulogy and a few private acts of remembrance on the part of their loved ones.  Not so Christopher Rivera, a Puerto Rican boxer who was tragically shot to death in January this year. Proud of his role within the sport of pugilism, Christopher’s final wish was to continue his ring-craft into the next life. His family responded by having his body posed in a mock boxing ring.

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Mourners who attended his wake, which took place in a San Juan community centre, arrived to find him kitted-out in sunglasses, a boxer’s robe and blue boxing gloves. Friends and family members then posed for pictures in what was a fitting send off for a man who loved his sport.

Grand Theft Oslo

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Boy racers, the scourge of roads everywhere! We all know the type, testosterone filled teenagers, zipping around in souped-up hot-hatches, tearing up the tarmac. One would be forgiven for thinking that when this segment in society hits puberty, they grow a Subaru Impreza or a Mitsubishi Evo, along with their embryonic moustaches. If the following story is anything to go by, then in Norway children seem to be developing these traits -and I don’t mean the moustaches – at an alarmingly young age.  A report recently surfaced concerning a ten year old boy from Dokka, Norway, who stole his parents’ car and took it for a spin with his eighteen month old sister in tow. Apparently the lad, who has not been named, had decided to visit his Gran in the town of Valdres (about 60Km away).The youngsters’ joyride came to an end when the car was crashed into a snow-filled ditch, six miles from the family home. Fortunately, both driver and passenger were completely unharmed. This sort of story may sound unworthy of a Weird Wednesday mention, but the boy’s explanation is the clincher. When the stricken car was spotted by a man riding a snowplough, the child-driver told him that he was in fact a dwarf and that he had left his driving license at home… certainly a boy not short on excuses.

Weird Culture

A Tangy Tradition

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I love weird culture; odd traditions, peculiar rituals, all that stuff. However, certain regional and local customs leave a sour taste in the mouth. That is certainly the case in the township of Menton in the far South East of France. Each year, at the end of winter, the people of Menton build enormous temporary statues out of oranges and lemons. These are the centrepiece of their annual ‘Lemon Festival’ or Fete du Citron, which takes place there.

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Since the mid-fifteenth century Menton has been among the largest producers of citrus fruit in Europe. The festival, which has now been running for 81 years, celebrates Menton’s unique association with citrus fruit. Around a hundred and twenty tonnes of fruit are used each year to produce the temporary exhibits. After the festival is over 90% of the fruits are still in good condition and are sold at a significant discount.

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Each year a different theme is selected. This year’s festivities, taking place during the end of February and the beginning of March, are inspired by Jules Verne’s 20’000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Weird Nature

Animal Panic

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It’s a nightmare scenario. You’re a zoo-keeper, a natural disaster has struck your city and the gates of your zoo have been flung open, releasing scores of dangerous wild beasts upon an unsuspecting public.  How do you respond? Indeed, how do you prepare for such a catastrophe? Well, you rehearse… at least that’s what the keepers at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo do. Every two years Ueno Zoo holds a simulated animal escape. 150 members of staff, as well as police and fire crews track down, trap and sedate the ‘animal’ in question. This year’s target was an escaped Gorilla. You can see the animal hunt, which was a ‘success’, in the video below.

Weird Object of the Week

Dead Celebrities in a Bottle

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It’s a little known fact that every person in this world has a distinct and unique smell. We leave it everywhere we go, but the scent is so faint that we humans, with our puny noses, cannot detect it. That’s why we use sniffer-dogs to hunt down and tear the limbs off of escaped criminals. Imagine then, if you would, a world where that unique odour was magnified to a level where you really could pick it out from a crowd. That is the dream of ECO Health and Beauty, the New York based company behind ‘My DNA Fragrance’. Tired of mass-produced, celebrity endorsed perfumes and aftershaves? Then My DNA Fragrance is the product for you. For a mere $185.95 they will build a ‘one of a kind’ scent based entirely on your genetic structure. All you have to do is post them off a DNA swab and they’ll do the rest. In fact, if that isn’t exclusive enough, for $799.99 you can even have it arrive in its own, individual, hand-blown bottle, based on your genetic code. Never again will your fellow humans lack the ability to track you down and kill you like a dog!!

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But WAIT… that’s not all! Have you ever wanted to smell like someone else? Like your favourite celebrity? Like your favourite dead celebrity even? Well now you can with ECO Health and Beauty’s ‘Antiquity’. Antiquity is a perfume range based upon the gene sequences of the world’s foremost deceased individuals. In 2009, ECO Health and Beauty’s founder Carlton Enoch penned a deal with John Reznikoff, the owner of the world’s largest, authenticated collection of celebrity hair samples. ECO now has exclusive access to his collection, so they can sample, sequence and synthesise the scent of over 100 dead famous persons. The first six perfumes to go on sale were; M (Michael Jackson), Blue Suede (Elvis Presley), IQ (Albert Einstein), Marilyn (Marilyn Monroe), Monarch (Katherine Hepburn) and Entrance (Joan Crawford). Go on, plaster yourself with a dead guys genes… you know you want to.

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Oh… I forgot to say, ‘Antiquity’ was a super limited edition… in fact, so limited was its edition that you can’t even buy it anymore; probably something to do with the whole business being in incredibly bad taste. But never fear! ECO Health and Beauty will be hosting an auction in the ‘first quarter of 2014’ where they will sell off their remaining stock of these exclusive unguents. Those interested in the auction should email info@mydnafragrance.com Oh, and check out their super creepy promo video below:

Well I hope this has served as something of a reminder to those of you who have taken to thinking our lovely earth has no more surprises to offer. There’s always another shining nugget of glimmering weirdness to be found… you just have to know where to look! Until next week. Over and Out. Andy G

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