It’s difficult to prove the death of something that may or may not have actually existed in the first place. Is the fact that you don’t see it proof that it’s still alive, or that it is now, finally dead, even though you never really saw it alive to know for sure the difference? Either way the Loch Ness Monster is dead. Or not.
And now, please, a moment of silence for our beloved friend and cryptozoological curiosity, Nessie. Lost too soon.
While not yet confirmed (much like its very existence in the first place) a “veteran custodian of Loch Ness monster sightings” reports that there have not been any new Nessie sightings in aproximately 18 months, leading to fears that the unthinkable may have befallen the lake’s unrealable resident.
“It’s very upsetting news,” Gary Campbell, Monster Sighter told the BBC. “And we don’t know where she’s gone.”
And I agree, it is very upsetting to think that Nessie might be no more. As a fan of cryptozoology, the thought that this majestic imaginary lake dinosaur might somehow be dead is a terrible blow to my crazy pastime.
Though–and just hear me out–the way I see it, until they find a body, there is absolutely no way to CONFIRM that Nessie is dead. Of course if they did find a body that would have the double whammy benefit of both confirming its death AND its existence in one fell swoop, but that’s beside the point I was hurtling toward.
What I was saying is that it’s just as possible and almost TWICE AS LIKELY that sometime in the night, eighteen months ago, Sasquatch, Chupacabra and the Yeti might have snuck into the loch and smuggled Nessie out, needing her specific skill set for a top secret mission commissioned by MI6, the KGB and the CIA! A deep cover assignment that has to this day kept them all off the radar, leading to these mistaken death fears which only help throw off the suspicion of the sighting custodians and the Ukranian drug lords that they’re working to foil!
I actually have a screen play that goes VERY much along these lines, so if anyone reading this has any friends at Paramount or Universal, give me a call.
When you think of ladies and webcam financial success, you would not be wrong to imagine it involving lewd conduct upon themselves: it’s the internet after all. But in South Korea, mok-bang, or “eating broadcast” is an actual thing that some make actual money doing.
Americans love food. We also love exhibitionism, and God and food, and technology and eating. So why is it that when I hear about a woman making $9000 a month eating in front of a webcam for hours on end, it’s coming out of South Korea? Wait, that sort of answers itself…
“Mok-bang” (roughly translated to “Eating Broadcast”) super-star: Park Seo-yeon, does things you wouldn’t BELIEVE on her webcam: like get paid to eat elaborate home made meals. I didn’t know that was a thing, but apparently it’s a six figure income kind of thing in South Korea. And before we start throwing our American filth minds at this whole thing, she does it fully clothed, with no hint of depravity (I mean, besides gluttony, which certainly does it for some). But while, (like American webcam watchers) she’s watched by lonely shut-ins, the South Koreans watch partly if not mostly to alleviate the loneliness of the apparently “extremely common” one-person households prevalent in the country.
“People enjoy the vicarious pleasure of my online show,” Seo-yeon told reporters between lucrative bites. “When they can’t eat that much, don’t want to eat food at night, or are on a diet.”
Seo-yeon earns those big voyeuristic mastication bucks on Afreeca TV, where viewers tip her using “Star Balloons” a virtual currency sold in denominations ranging from $1 to $50.
So while I might initially suggest “mok-bang” as an appetizing way for out-of-work Americans to start their own weird online business, I just know that, being Americans, we would ruin it somehow and… Wait, I’m sorry Internet, what’s that? “Feeder porn” you say? What is this “feeder porn”? — Aww, damn it America! Can you not have already ruined EVERYTHING long before I even knew it existed?! Well, there goes my appetite…
I remember when I sat down for my senior portrait, there was a choice of three muted color backgrounds, we were urged, if not required to show up in a suit and tie, and we had to somehow mask our fear of the unknown real world hurtling toward us menacingly. In South Korea though, the senior portrait is much more interesting.
If I were to ask you, “What do you think a Korean high school yearbook looks like?” You might rightly ask, “What the hell are you talking about?” Though if you were to just play along and not be such a jerk about it, you might still respond, “Filled with despair and starvation?” which would also technically be true since I wasn’t real specific and that probably describes a North Korean yearbook pretty accurately.
What I was specifically referring to though was South Korea, and more specifically still Jeonju Haesung High School. Apparently Jeonju Haesung has decided that rather than stuff all of their students into ill fitting suits and prop them up against the same dusty old backdrop (the same ones their grandparents’ dreams died in front of), they would give their students the freedom to take whatever portraits they chose, trusting that they might have some sort of individuality to share. The results of this freedom and individuality landed on the cool spectrum somewhere between “awesome” and “crazy awesome”.
The voting for this year book’s superlatives was particularly difficult since most students just responded with a drawing of the outline of their hands giving a thumbs up and a gummy bear taped to the page with an octopus sticker. Needless to say, they’re all pretty equally likely to succeed, at being totally cool.
Sexuality in the land of the rising sun is an often confusing and disturbing subject. There’s nothing a tentacle can’t penetrate, is what I’m saying. But as with all things Japanese, when they choose to unwind, they do it in the most insane and amazing way. Case in point, Japan’s “Naked Festival”.
Japan is a strange and confusing land. A place where their dogs have a better night life than I do, where they are in a constant state of re-building their nation’s capitol after seemingly ceaseless man-made and natural disasters, giant monster attacks, and where their sexuality is an often confusing, usually disturbing thing.
Which brings us to 9000 nearly naked men clamoring for the opportunity to ram their 20 centimeter lucky sticks into a priest’s box… You know, for luck.
As I’m sure I don’t need to remind you, the 500 year old Hadaka Matsuri, aka “Naked Festival” was held again this past weekend at the Saidai-ji Temple in Okayama, Japan. The event is “highlighted” by a gathering of thousands of be-loin-clothed Japanese men clambering for a pair of 4 centimeter by 20 centimeter batons (shingi), (which are “believed to bring good luck for an entire year to whoever catches them”) hurled from a window by a priest who I’m only assuming, is wearing even less pants behind that window sill.
Trying to understand Japanese sexual customs is better left to scholars and mad men who know better the allure of vending machines filled with used panties and pixelated pubic hair–Men who know how a nation can accept and welcome violation via animated tentacle. But the way I see it, 9000 freshly bathed, nearly nude tiny men crammed into one little house of worship, eagerly fighting for the opportunity to ram their lucky wood into a cold, waiting box just sounds like one of the more healthy outlets they have for loosing their pent up frustrations. So come on everybody! Tear off those pants, grab your shingi and fill up that naughty masu! It’s a G-d party!
Sometimes you’re either physically incapable, or mentally unable to muster enough strength of will to walk into your local taco-esque food dispensary to retrieve your Mexic-ish snack stuffs. Well fret no longer because the Taco Bell ordering app is coming to your rescue!
Plagued by “menu board anxiety” (their term, not mine) in the drive thru? In a hurry to get your Crunch Wrap fix? Want to use technology to help get Mexicish type food substitutes into your tragically abused digestive system as quickly, accurately and efficiently as possible? Well don’t get your cinnamons in a twist, Taco Bell is about ready to introduce a new system for making your terrible food choices via your smartphone!
“Mobile is the biggest shift in QSR since the drive thru,” Taco Bell’s “mobile lead” Jeff Jenkins told reporters of the “Nation’s Restaurant News”… I kid you not, that’s an actual thing.
And speaking of actual things, you might have wondered (as I did), what the hell QSR was. Well, it apparently stands for “Quick Service Restaurant”. Again, their term. Which roughly translates to “fast food place”. It seems “Speedy Anti-Food Slopitoriums” are spending more time making up new ways to make their illegitimate food product manufacturing sound more important than, you know, making the “food” not taste like a cruel mockery of the ACTUAL food item it’s named after.
As far as the app goes, the system will be so simple that someone who would willingly choose to go to Taco Bell could figure it out. The “taco” enthusiast will paw at their screen until the app is launched, after which “guests are greeted with a message that is tailored to the time of day” which I can only assume means that it will know whether you are waking and baking, or if you’re satisfying your late night munchies. Technology! Based on your GPS location the app then helps users find the “seasoned meat re-heatery” nearest them and shows the prices, hours and directions for said “meal preparatory kitchenesque”. Hey, I think I’m getting the hang of this fast food re-name-inating!
“If you can get 10 million people to download your app,” Mr. Jenkins continued. “You’re putting a portal to Taco Bell in 10 million pockets.”
Which is not wholly dissimilar to the old fashion analogue Taco Bell experience many of us are all too familiar with, in which, if you were unable to get to the facilities fast enough after your meal went screaming through your system, you might wind up opening a Taco Bell portal in another part of your pants.
The human body is a wondrous, amazing and altogether confusing mechanism. We walk, we talk, we breathe and spit and shit and shout. And then sometimes, every now and then, the human body will surprise us, and what you thought was a prolonged tummy ache was a calcified “stone baby” living in your guts for nearly half a century. The human body is weird like that.
I’ve had to empty the catch bucket next to my desk nine times over the past six hours trying to write this story. and I’m almost certain that I am going to wake up screaming “STONE BABY!” at 4am every morning for the rest of my life. So, you know, fair warning for those who choose to read further: An 84-year-old Brazilian woman has had a dead, calcified fetus living inside her for the last 44 years. Huurgh… No, I’m good. It’s fine… Let’s do this.
The unnamed woman visited a healer almost 4 ½ decades ago suffering pain during her pregnancy. After her apparently successful visit, “her stomach didn’t grow anymore” and “the baby stopped moving”. So, with that being seemingly enough of a resolution to her tummy ache, she then went on to live the rest of her life somehow never noticing or caring that no baby (or remnants thereof) ever appeared to exit her body. I can only guess that her assumption was that it had somehow been dissolved and re-absorbed into her body and was not worth further investigation. Well as it turns out ALMOST THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF THAT HAPPENED!
What DID happen is something called “lithopedion”. It’s a rare phenomenon in which a fetus will grow for a period outside of the uterus before eventually dying. The body then, unable to expel this lump of used-ta-baby, will instead calcify it as a means of protection to the rest of the body, resulting in what is known in horror movie pitch meetings as a “stone baby”.
This rock-solid pre-infant was discovered in this Brazilian woman when, upon a more recent visit to the hospital to investigate “intense stomach pains”, subsequent exploratory X-rays revealed “the face, the bones of the arms, of the legs, the ribs, and the spine” of an elderly, freeloading fetus which had died somewhere between 20 to 28 weeks into gestation, more than 40 years ago.
And now, introduced to something that I never even knew existed and now can’t unknow, we’re left with perhaps the most stomach churning detail of the whole ordeal. The woman is opting not to have her granite un-child removed. Instead choosing to leave her haunted abdomen, chock full of baby corpse…
Oh god, gotta empty my bucket!
There is scarcely a day that passes that I don’t awaken with a solitary thought and fall to a restless sleep with that self same question in mind: could a fish pass a driving test? While we haven’t quite reached answer for that pressing query, we’re one step closer with this mini goldfish driven car.
A Netherlands company called “Studio diip” (the same company that gave us the groundbreaking “vegetable recognizer“), has answered the age old question that has plagued scientists and philosophers alike for generations: “If a fish could drive a car, where would it go?”
Using a few simple components: “a standard webcam, a battery-powered Beagleboard and an Arduino-controlled robot vehicle”, these diips have given the family fish free reign over the apartment floor. As the video description explains, “By using a camera and computer vision software it is possible to make a fish control a robot car over land.” That’s a quote I never thought I would copy/paste but that I can now scratch off of THAT list. They continue: “By swimming towards an interesting object, the fish can explore the world beyond the limits of his tank.”
First, what exactly IS an “interesting object” to an animal that spends most of its existence in a small, stationary water-filled rectangle? Anything that ISN’T a neon colored castle or a plaster scuba diver? And secondly, how long have these disappointing carnival prizes been yearning for this type of exploratory capability?
I get that the fish-propelled vehicle is more an exercise in showing what can be done; a cute little engineering curiosity and the winner of the office race versus the guy who was designing a machine that would type short stories based on the twitching of a parakeet. But my response to bored programmers at diips is a simple one: Just because something is possible, does not make it necessary. That being said, go on and finish the “Polly Prose” project–that actually sounds hilarious.