It looks like it could be something offered to Alice just before she makes a journey in to Wonderland but this sky blue mushroom is not a product of the imagination of Lewis Caroll. It can be found on both islands of New Zealand – and bizarrely enough in a few places in India.

The sky blue mushroom does not have a common name other than, well, sky blue mushroom but if you have a moment for a real tongue twister its scientific name is Entoloma hochstetteri. It gets its very distinctive blue color from pigments within the body of the fruit known as azulene. Azulene is found in nature as a constituent not only of pigments in mushrooms but of some marine invertebrates.

The mushroom appeared briefly along with five other native fungi on a set of stamps issued by the New Zealand government in 2002 and it can also be seen on the reverse of the country’s $50 note which was released in 1990. Outside of New Zealand, however, and people seem blissfully unaware of the existence of this incredible blue mushroom.

The fruiting body (or basidiocarp) of the mushroom is usually found among moss, ferns or fallen leaves and the cap grow up to around four centimeters in diameter. With a conical shape it does look like something out of a fairy tale or children’s story and the lush green backdrop of New Zealand’s woodland simply adds to the expectation (albeit a little infantile, but hey) that a pixie will start to leap around it at any moment.

Although the mushroom is not edible it is not known if it is poisonous or not – no one seems to have tried to eat it so far in its history. It was first described by a European in 1866 so it is a little surprising that there has not been a willing Alice in the interim to furnish us with details of its edibility or otherwise. Yet other species in its genus are known to be poisonous so the likelihood is that this beautiful blue mushroom would not be much good in an omelette.
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Money is art, quite literally! Last November, German conceptual artist Hans-Peter Feldmann won the eighth Biennal Hugo Boss Prize, a biannual award bestowed by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation for significant achievement in contemporary art. The winner also received $100,000.

Feldmann decided to give back to the museum in a unique way. He used the money to create an installation that involved tacking one-hundred thousand dollar bills to the large gallery off the Frank Lloy Wright ramp!

“I’m 70 years old, and I began making art in the ’50s,” Mr. Feldmann shares. “At that time there was no money in the art world. Money and art didn’t exist. So for me, $100,000 is very special. It’s incredible really. And I would like to show the quantity of it.”

It took about thirteen days to complete the installation with out-of-circulation bills. The money walls are on display now till November 2, 2011.
Hello Kitty: Kitty White is officially 5 apples high, weighs 3 apples, lives near London, her birthday is November 1, and her blood type is A. (Blood type is apparently important in the Sanrio canon; you have to enter a blood type when creating your character on the Hello Kitty Online game.)

You know her name. You’ve seen her signature red ribbon. And even though you’re curious, you’ve never had the courage to learn more because you’re not a seven-year old girl. Don’t worry; your secret is safe with us. To help you out, we’ve come up with a list of everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Hello Kitty, but were too embarrassed to ask.

1. The iconic white cat is the primary spokesanimal for Sanrio, a Japanese company started in the 1950s to sell silk and produce. In the 1960s, they expanded their product line to include items that catered to the gift-giving tradition in Japan – usually small, simple objects that can be given to a friend for special occasions, holidays, or even everyday things like visiting their house. Most of Sanrio’s items at the time, like pencil cases and stickers, were geared towards elementary school kids and, almost by accident, they discovered that adding cute little designs and characters helped sales. When one of the in-house designers came up with Hello Kitty, the best thing company founder Shintaro Tsuji could say was that he liked it well enough.

2. Despite everyone calling her Hello Kitty, her name is actually Kitty White. There is some debate as to how she got her nickname, though one theory points to her 1974 debut on a clear coin purse with her picture under the word “Hello.” Teenage girls were immediately drawn to “the Hello Kitty,” and the purse became a best-seller.

3. In Taiwan, there’s a Hello Kitty Hospital! Each bed sheet is branded with Hello Kitty, as are the nurses’ uniforms. A giant Kitty statue greet guests in the lobby. Twice a year, people in character costumes come around and entertain patients.

4. Today, there are around 50 Sanrio characters gracing over 22,000 officially-license products. On average, the company introduces three new characters every year, while at the same time taking a handful out of circulation for a little while so they don’t oversaturate the market. All told, Sanrio’s annual sales hover around $5 billion dollars.

5. Hello Kitty and her pals are part of the kawaii (“cute”) subculture of Japan. “Kawaisa” (“cuteness”) appeared on the cultural landscape in the 1970s, when teenage girls began adding hearts, rainbows, and smiley faces to their writing, and even spoke in a sort of baby talk manner. This fad caused quite a bit of controversy among adults, but was adopted by companies so they could connect with young people just as they were becoming a force in the consumer market. As people realized kawaisa wasn’t going to bring the downfall of society, it became accepted and is now integral to Japanese culture.

6. There are a couple of urban legends about her origins that add a sinister connotation to Hello Kitty. One story says that a controversial nuclear power plant hired Sanrio to create a cute corporate mascot that would help soften their image. Another legend tells of a married couple whose only daughter was sick with cancer. In exchange for her recovery, the parents made a pact with the Devil that they would create a character in Satan’s honor that would be adored worldwide. As you might have guessed, neither of these is true.

7. In 2007, it was announced that police in Bangkok would be forced to wear bright pink Hello Kitty armbands as punishment for minor infractions. The plan was soon abandoned—according to NBC News, “There was a rebellion in the macho ranks, as well as outrage on Hello Kitty websites.”

8. She’s a clean slate! Hello Kitty and many other Sanrio characters were designed without a mouth so that the character could take on whatever emotions the viewer needs them to have at the time. Some believe this is part of the reason they’re so popular across generations and cultures – anyone can relate to them. (It’s also one of the things that Kitty haters say creeps them out the most.)

9. She looks suspiciously similar to a certain white rabbit. Almost since her introduction, children’s author and illustrator Dick Bruna has insisted that Hello Kitty and her pals resembled the design of his own cute creation, Miffy. First published in 1955 — nearly 20 years before Hello Kitty’s debut — Miffy is a white rabbit with an oval head, small, black eyes and a tiny “X” for a mouth. Still, Bruna never officially challenged the designs until 2010, when he sued Sanrio for its character, Cathy, a white rabbit that is Hello Kitty’s best friend. The timing was a bit strange, considering Cathy was introduced in 1976 and has been featured on thousands of products over the last 35 years, but the courts still ruled in Bruna’s favor. Sanrio is appealing the decision, but for the time being, they’re banned from selling Cathy merchandise in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

10. Hello Kitty has been featured in over a dozen video games, including her latest, Hello Kitty Online, a free massively multiplayer role playing game in the same vein as World of Warcraft. Players can adventure alone or join guilds to complete quests like finding all the ingredients for a special soup, delivering a pizza before it gets cold, or collecting wands that can be used to defeat monsters that guard treasure. There’s also the opportunity to build your own house, raise crops, adopt a pet, and customize your character’s wardrobe. For some of these perks, you’ll need to earn Sanrio Loyalty Points by posting videos, writing blog posts, and completing quizzes on Or you can spend real money to buy Loyalty Points at an exchange rate of 80 points for a $1. To give you some idea of the price, a typical in-game house costs about $5, not including furniture, which is, of course, sold separately.

11. She’s not just for kids. While most Hello Kitty products are made for children, as the brand’s customers have gotten older, Sanrio has catered to them with more adult-oriented products. For example, Fender guitars has featured a Hello Kitty Stratocaster, Neiman Marcus recently carried a collection of Hello Kitty jewelry with a top price of $5,000, Dr. Marten boots is currently selling a line of Sanrio shoes, and there are even Airbus airplanes with her image plastered on the side. There are also two high-end boutiques called Sanrio Luxe in New York’s Times Square and in Manila, Philippines, which feature exclusive, expensive, rhinestoned-out products.

This shift to more adult products has been a bit controversial, though. Hello Kitty thongs, Hello Kitty Wine, and a “Hello Kitty Massage Wand” (AKA The Hello Kitty Vibrator), have been popular with adult female fans, but have been frowned upon by those who feel the brand should remain focused on its youngest followers instead.

12. Then there are the unofficial products. Of course you can’t be this popular without a few people jumping on the bandwagon. There are thousands of unofficial Hello Kitty products, like Hello Kitty bongs, Hello Kitty gas masks, and Hello Kitty handguns and assault rifles. There’s even a Hello Kitty-themed S&M room at one of Japan’s “love hotels,” where Japanese couples can rent a room by the hour for private encounters. Sanrio has tried to stop some of these copyright infringements, but there are so many that it’s virtually impossible to keep up.

13. Hello Kitty has quite a political career. She has been a UNICEF ambassador to the United States since 1983 and to Japan since 1994. Then, in 2008, she was appointed as the official Japanese ambassador of tourism to both Hong Kong and China, the first fictional character to hold this title.

14. If you’re a Scottish Sanrio fan, you can get a kilt made using the Hello Kitty tartan. The pink plaid pattern was designed by Lochcarron of Scotland, the world’s leading manufacturer of tartans, and was officially recognized by the the Scottish Register of Tartans in 2004.

15. Sadly, not all associations with Hello Kitty are sunshine and rainbows, especially 1999’s “The Hello Kitty Murder.” The details are gruesome. You can read about it here.
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Travelers Digest Magazine brings to your attention its own version of 10 cities with the most beautiful women.

10. Amsterdam, Holland
Of course Amsterdam must make the list. This city has women more beautiful riding past on bicycles than other cities have going by in chauffeured cars. Dutch girls are amazing in so many ways, they’re trendy, as well as cool, they’re fun, also friendly. They’re the kind of girls that you just want to date for a very long time.

9. Tel Aviv, Israel
Israel has some of the best looking women in the world, something about those green eyes that are just particularly attractive. But beware as in Israel women over the age of 18 are required to have been in the military, this of course means that if you sleep with an Israeli girl’s best friend, she may very well kick your ass, while equipped with an Uzi. Sure it’s a longshot, but it could happen.

8. Montreal, Canada
Ahh the flavour of France but with the convenient location of Canada, Montreal is truly one of the world’s best cities. So many colleges & universities, so many women, & with fashion sense, a very good quality may I add. The best part of course being that the women all speak French, the language of love. So my friends, take a trip to Montreal, and find a beautiful leather trench coat wearing beauty that will serenade you in French all night long.

7. Caracas, Venezuela
Caracas the capital of Venezuela, Venezuela the country with more Miss Universe Pageant titles than any other nation, so you know it’s capital is going to be raging full of beautiful women. Women so beautiful that they make Brazilian women look like trashier counterparts. I speak honestly when I tell you that I know what type of undergarments runner up to Miss Venezuela wears (let us just say little flowers), what I cannot begin to tell you however is the amount of fun you will have if you take a trip to Venezuela, say hello to Hugo Chavez for me.

6. Moscow, Russia
Mother Russia is home to some of the world’s finest women, the Moscow subway alone has more beauties than most of the United States alone. It’s not only the regularity of tall, blonde hair, blue eyed women that make it so great, it’s also the amazing level of friendliness that you will find. It’s a definite unique experience when what seems the world’s most beautiful woman is staring your way, it leaves you wondering whether you have something on your shirt, but you in fact probably don’t, they could very well think you’re hot.

5. Los Angeles, California
How much can be said about L.A. girls, well I think you will find upon arrival that so much can be said you’ll find yourself at a lack of words. The women of L.A. are on a level unlike most any other kind you may have ever seen. All the beautiful people from across the United States flock to this mecca, this is where the cool people come to live, to work, & to try to “make it”. This is what the Beach Boys had in mind when they wrote the song California Dreamin’.

4. Varna, Bulgaria
Many of you may not have heard of Bulgaria, some of you may not know where to find it on a map, but you have all been there, in your dreams at night when you sleep. A land of cheap vodka, no drug laws, mechanical bulls on the beach, & waterslides. A land of cafes with inflatable furniture, the land of g-strings, & see through pants, the land of topless sunbathing. But more importantly than all others the land of the world’s most beautiful, charming, & stunning women, oh how I love them so.

3. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires should be designated the capital of the Western Hemisphere, not only for it’s wealth of beautiful women on a scale unlike any other Latin Country, even the extraordinary Venezuela, but for being the best city this side of Paris. Buenos Aires is amazing, where else can you sing Madonna hyms by the burial site of Evita, answer nowhere. More importantly where else can I get invited to model scout competitions, invited to Fashion TV parties, & kiss a 6?4 supermodel, well not too many other places let me tell you.

2. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen has surely got some of the world’s most beautiful women, & also some of the friendliest, maybe even a little bit more sex orientated than their Swedish counterparts. For instance, I had just arrived at the Copenhagen train station, it was late, I was tired, I must’ve been looking good, for I noticed a hot Danish girl looking my way, so I looked hers, then I smiled, then she pointed me out to her friend, & next thing you know I had an entire high school classroom full of girls yelling at me, things, yelling things, good things. This alone is why I say Copenhagen is one of the best, it’s like Amsterdam but instead of hookers, Copenhagen has porn stars.

1. Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm is a city filled with the best looking women in the world, women so good looking that when you walk in to a 7-11 you will swear that you have just walked into a reality TV set, What Happens When Supermodels Work at A Convenience Store? Yes I know it’s a long name, but hey it’s true. Better yet the women are super friendly, & extremely educated, they speak English with English accents, they start making you wonder whether England in fact had good looking women but they’re all on working vacations in Sweden, turns out they’re not as England doesn’t have but in fact they’re all just really well studied Swedish girls.

Want to get asked out more often? Consider nursing school. Nursing is one of the ten sexiest professions, according to a recent survey.

The seemingly universal male fantasy about the nurse in the short white dress notwithstanding, I can see why nursing, which comes in at number six, made the list. There is something sexy about a person who takes care of you, and nice people (the case for most nurses, in my experience) are sexy.

If you want a sexier job, but can’t handle bedpan duty, there are other options. While they might not be the easiest careers to break into (and some are nearly impossible if you didn’t luck out in the good genes department), they’ll guarantee a role in quite a few people’s fantasies.

1. Entertainer/Model
People in these fields are constantly in the public eye, which requires a great deal of aesthetic upkeep. Their nearly-perfect visages and glamorous lifestyles evoke envy and ignite the fantasies of women and men of all ages. Plus, there’s a certain level of sexiness—think George Clooney or Gisele Bündchen—required of the few who can make a living as entertainers. They don’t call it “movie star looks” or “a model’s body” for nothing.

2. Cocktail Waitress
I take exception with this one. As somebody who’s done it, I don’t find schlepping liquor and beer particularly sexy. My amateur analysis: annoying men voted for this because waitresses are the only women in bars who are nice to them. (Guys: Some inside scoop—the waitresses don’t really think you are charming when heavily intoxicated. They work for tips.)

3. Athlete
Well, yeah, a championship athlete—with the body and spirit to match—is pretty sexy. (There are of course exceptions. Let’s hope that Michael Vick, dog-fighting entrepreneur, isn’t on anyone’s “sexy” list.) There’s something so alluring about the level of stamina required of athletes, not to mention the passion and dedication most of them have for their sports. Striving to better oneself and achieve goals—and building sculpted, strong muscles while doing so—is definitely sexy.

4. Firefighter
When asked what makes firefighters so universally appealing, Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City responds, “Well, first of all, there’s a weight limit.” That may be true, but we can’t forget the hero aspect that makes firefighters a common fantasy figure. Firefighters put their lives on the line to help absolute strangers, and sometimes even pets—how many of us could say the same? Their bravery in the face of danger and strength—both emotional and physical—is undeniably attractive.

5. Cowboy
This pick doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch. It’s that image of a mysterious loner riding off into the sunset. Or maybe those surveyed have a thing for cowboy hats and guys on horses guiding cattle. (I know I did after watching Brokeback Mountain.) My only issue: can’t women be cowpeople too? Let’s amend number five to “cowboys and cowgirls.”

6. Nurse
As I said before, I totally get what’s sexy about a nurse. I think I fell in love with all my nurses, male and female, after my children were born. They really seemed to care how I was feeling—and they gave me pain medication!

7. Artist
The fantasy of becoming an artist’s muse is definitely a popular one. Artists are unique, creative, and fiercely passionate about their work. Plus, they tend to be brooding and solitary, making them a bit of an enigma (and challenge)—that’s sexy; no doubt about it. There’s also the added perk of having things created for you if you win an artist’s heart. Sure, dating an auditor might get you some help filing taxes, but somehow it’s not quite the same…

8. Military Professional
This is another one that’s hard to argue. No matter what you think about the war, you have to respect the men and women who are risking their lives for our country. It brings to mind the hero image similar to that of firefighters, cops, and others who dedicate themselves to helping others. The transformed bodies that emerge from vigorous boot camp training don’t hurt the sexy cause, either.

9. Construction Worker
Indeed, there’s something manly about a burly guy with a hammer, especially one who can fix and build things around the house. (Everyone loves taking work home, right?) Humans are attracted to the scent of pheromones that are released while sweating, and construction workers get pretty sweaty lifting and lugging heavy equipment and building materials (as if being good with their hands wasn’t enough of a draw). Granted, the plastic hats detract from the hot factor a bit, but hey, safety can be sexy, too.

10. TV Anchor/Personality
Okay, not all of the blow-dried talking heads on TV are sexy. (Larry King, though a great TV personality, is not exactly the face of sexy.) However, I do like Daryn Kagan, a former CNN anchor. After she lost her on-air gig, she started a company spreading good news via the Internet. CNN’s Anderson Cooper is often referred to as a silver fox—and those piercing blue eyes! And I know many, many women who refer to The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart as one of the sexiest men alive. TV anchors are usually good-looking and well-informed—and nothing is sexier than smarts.

Notice that these jobs have something in common (no, not potentially sexy Halloween costumes)—enthusiasm. To enter into these high-stress, demanding careers, people must really enjoy what they’re doing, whether it’s helping others, making the world a prettier place, or just supplying a drink and lending an ear to an appreciative barfly. Having passion and excitement for what you do—even if it’s not so thrilling or enviable—is definitely sexy.
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From Tokyo to Washington D.C. each of these museums contains something different yet essential to broadening your knowledge of human history.

Check them out for yourself below. Which are you going to make the trip to?

The Louvre - Paris
Who doesn't want to visit the Louvre? Arguable the world's most famous museum, it houses Greek and Roman antiquities alongside some of the world's most famous paintings, like the Mona Lisa.

Musee d'Orsay - Paris
This converted railway station is one of the world's most intriguing museums, housing pieces from the likes of Van Gogh, Renoir and Monet. Located on the banks of the Seine, it house the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist artwork in the world.

Museum Of Modern Art - New York City
Likely the most influential place for Modern art, MoMA houses art almost unlike any other museum. From Picasso to Matisse it holds an impressive collection of recognized paintings, as well countless pieces of avant-garde artwork and sculpture.

Metropolitan Museum Of Art - New York City
Housing over 2 million pieces, the Met holds an impressive collection of pieces from around the world, including Egypt and extending to African, Asian and Islamic art in addition to the European masters.

Museo Del Prado - Madrid
The Spanish museum is best known for the works of Velázquez who not only contributed to the museum, but helped pick pieces from Italian masters to add to the collection.

The Smithsonian Museums - Washington D.C.
While the Smithsonian Institute Museum of Natural History may be comprehensive, there are few museums in the world like the Air and Space Museum. PAcked with hangars full of airplanes and spacecraft, the National Air and Space Museum is a tribute to aviation unlike any other.

Tokyo National Museum - Tokyo
The oldest and largest museum in Japan, the NAtional Museum houses not just rare Japanese art and antiquities, but Greco-Buddhist art from the Silk Road.

Rijksmuseum - Amsterdam
The largest museum in the Netherlands, Rijksmuseum contains artwork from the likes of masters like Vermeer and Rembrandt. It's under construction until 2013, according to Touropia, but major works should still be on display.

Museo Nacional De Antropologia - Mexico City
The Museo Nacional De Antropologia houses the largest collection of pre-Colombian artifacts in Mexico, giving unique insight into the regions' pre-colonization time period. It famously houses the Stone of the Sun, which is not, in fact, a calendar.

National Palace Museum - Taipei
Despite not being located on mainland China the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan contains the largest collection of ancient Chinese artifacts and artworks in the world. Originally located in Beijing, many of the museum's most prized possessions were moved there shortly before the communist army took over the original museum in 1925.

Guggenheim Museum - Bilbao, Spain
Designed by Frank Gehry, the Guggenheim in Bilbao has a unique structure that is almost a work of art in and of itself. The unique look also provides for some incredibly spaces for amazing installations.

Vatican Museum - Vatican City
Founded in the 6th century the Vatican Museums are among the most renowned in the world. In particular, The ceiling of the Sistene Chapel, is widely believed to be Michelangelo's crowning achievement.

Egyptian Museum - Cairo
Egyptian antiquities are special in their own right, and there's no better place to see them than in Cairo. From mummies to sarcofagi to gigantic statues, the Egyptian Museum chronicles one of the world's most fascinating civilizations.

Hermitage Museum - St. Petersburg
Built under Catherine the Great, the Hermitage houses classics from artists across the world, including Rembrandt, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Reuben. The structure itself is a work of art as well, spanning former residences of Russian royalty, including the Winter Palace.

The British Museum - London
The British Museum almost defies category. With over seven million objects it categorizes almost every aspect of human culture from beginning to present.

World's Strangest Museums

On their second date he said they were going to be making the movies jealous.

And when Matt Still filmed an elaborate marriage proposal and screened it at the cinema where his girlfriend was due to watch a film, he made every girl in the room jealous too.

Now the video 'Greatest Marriage Proposal EVER!!!' has gone viral on YouTube attracting more than half a million views in two days.

Matt's girlfriend, Ginny Joiner thought she was going to watch the Hangover 2 with a friend.

Little did she know her reaction to the upcoming trailer was being secretly filmed or that the couple's friends and family were planted in the audience.

'This better be good' she mouthed to the friend before the familiar Universal ident flashed onto the screen before Matt's trailer began.

And like any good rom-com it had it all, including a happy ending...

At first we hear a deep voiceover proclaiming: 'A love story so true it couldn't have been written.'

The camera then pans to a conversation between two men, but we can only see their bottom halves.

'There comes a time when every father lets his little girl go to another man who loves her as much as he does,' says the deep voice.

A flicker of recognition comes over Ginny's face before another familiar voice chimes in.

'I know how much she means to you, I know how much you love her I know she is your heart.'

The game is up as Ginny finally clocks it's her boyfriend Matt and he's asking her father for her hand in marriage.

'I want to spend the rest of my life with her. She has my heart, she is my friend my everything,' he says.

'She is nothing like any woman I've ever met before. She's everything I've wanted and more.

'I didn't even know what real love is, but she is showing me and teaching me every day.'

Ginny's father accepts Matt's request and the two shake hands before the camera pans up to reveal her father's face in focus.

A rustle goes around the cinema at this point - probably as people reach for their tissues.

But the 'movie' isn't over yet.

Matt then speeds off to the cinema and even finds time to buy some popcorn before taking a deep breath and going off to find his girl.

The camera switches to a cam-corder as Matt gets down on one knee and asks Ginny to marry him.

She says yes, an audience member says 'bravo,' before the cinema erupts with applause and whoops.

Ginny's family and friends then emerge from their seats to congratulate the future Mrs Still.

The end.

This is not the first proposal of its kind however (sorry Matt). Todd Cavanaugh asked former Miss New York, Elisabeth Baldanza, to marry him in a dramatic movie trailer while the couple were at the theatre together.
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Orgy Planner
Today we have a wedding planner or an event planner, but in the old days people saw orgy as a feast that had to be organized irreproachably. The orgy planner had a very unusual but very exciting job – he got to plan festivities for the rich of society and, in some cases, got many perks.

The orgy planner had to organize food, women, music, and accommodation. The downside to the job is that the orgy planner was not liked by all members of society, particularly those who were never invited to orgies and the trade was even banned for a short time. The most popular orgy planner was Gaius Petronius who wrote the satirical book about Roman debauchery called “Satyricon”.

Funeral Clown
A funeral clown had the main job obligation of going to funerals dressed as the dead person. Moreover, he also had to mime his gestures, walking and favorite expressions. During the funeral process, the clown ran all around the coffin together with other clowns in order to make the grieved relatives laugh. In Ancient Rome people thought that this type of ritual could comfort the spirits of the dead and bring joy to the living. There were also famous and very valuable clowns who had the opportunity to mock the emperors at their funeral. Macabre clowns were very well payed, historical sources saying that they gain even better than gladiators.

Whipping boy
They were created because the idea of the divine right of kings, which stated that kings were appointed by God, and implied that no one but the king was worthy of punishing the king’s son. Since the king was rarely around to punish his son when necessary, tutors to the young prince found it extremely difficult to enforce rules or learning.

A whipping boy, was a young boy who was assigned to a young prince and was punished when the prince misbehaved or fell behind in his schooling. The idea of the whipping boys was that seeing a friend being whipped or beaten for something that he had done wrong would be likely to ensure that the prince would not make the same mistake again.Whipping boys were established in the English court during the monarchies of the 15th century and 16th centuries.

This peculiar job was popular in England and Ireland during the early days of the industrial revolution, before alarm clocks were affordable or reliable. A knocker-up’s job was to rouse sleeping people so they could get to work on time.

The knocker-up used a trucheon or short, heavy stick to knock on the clients’ doors or a long and light stick, often made of bamboo, to reach windows on higher floors. In return, the knocker-up would be paid a few pence a week. The knocker-up would not leave a client’s window until they were assured the client had been awoken.

There were large numbers of people carrying out the job, especially in larger industrial towns such as Manchester. Generally the job was carried out by elderly men and women but sometimes police constables supplemented their pay by performing the task during early morning patrols.

Dog whipper
A dog whipper was a church official charged with removing unruly dogs from a church or church grounds during services.

In some areas of Europe during the 16th to 19th centuries it was not uncommon for household dogs to accompany – or at least follow – their owners to church services. If these animals became disruptive it was the job of the dog whipper to remove them from the church, allowing the service to continue in peace.

In some areas a portion of village land was made available for the use of the dog whipper, the small park named ‘Dog Acre’ in Birchington-on-Sea is the remnant of such a grant.

Some villages employed dog whippers in a more general capacity, dealing with stray and disruptive dogs throughout the village. In this sense dog whippers were precursors of modern animal control officers.

Curse Tablet Writer
A curse tablet or binding spell is a type of curse found throughout the Graeco-Roman world, in which someone would ask the gods to do harm to others. These texts were typically scratched on very thin sheets of lead in tiny letters, then often rolled, folded, or pierced with nails.

The curse tablet writer had sit day in and day out hearing the complaints and woes of his customers who needed curses written. Here is one example: “bind every limb and sinew of Victorius, the charioteer for the Blue team.. the horses he is about to race… blind their eyes so they cannot see and twist their soul and heart so they cannot breathe.”

A tosher is someone who scavenges in the sewers, especially in London during the Victorian era. The word tosher was also used to describe the thieves who stripped valuable copper from the hulls of ships moored along the Thames.

The toshers decided to cut out the middle man and it was a common sight in 19th Century Wapping for whole families to whip off a manhole cover and go down into the sewers, where they would find rich pickings.

As most toshers would reek of the sewers, they were not popular with the neighbours. One unexpected side effect of the sewer work was that toshers – or, at least, those toshers who survived – built up a strong tolerance to typhus and the other diseases that swept the ghettos.

The stercorarius (or `night soil man’, as he was known well into the Fifties in Britain) had regular, if rather more disagreeable, work. We can assume that the average Roman generated about 1.5lbs of bodywaste a day. Imperial Rome, with a population of one million, would therefore generate more than 650 tons of daily sewage. Though we hear of the need for sewercleaners and the risk they ran of choking to death, little of this human waste would disappear down a sewer. Very few Romans were connected up since, in the absence of the S-bend, stench and vermin could find their way from sewer into house and, when the Tiber rose, sewage too (we hear of one house which an octopus nightly entered via the drain to eat the pickled fish stored inside).

But, more importantly, Romans regularly used human excrement to supplement animal manure. Where there’s muck, there’s brass, and it was the job of the stercorarius to empty the cesspits and sell on the contents to farmers on city outskirts. A graffito from Herculaneum records a payment of 11 asses for the removal of ordure (the as being the lowest denomination of coin).
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Mature relationships imply taking care of each other’s health including the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. Despite the existence of a large quantity of contraceptives today, doctors recommend using condoms, because they can both prevent unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Unfortunately many people still avoid using condoms explaining this reluctance by different myths about this rubber and ignoring the facts.

Let’s break these myths!

1. Buying Condoms Is Shameful
If you think so, you are anyway just another customer for the salesperson. If it is shameful for you to tell the salesman “A condom package, please”, you can always buy condoms at a self-service store.

2. One Can Get an Infection or Become Pregnant Even with a Condom
Using the condom correctly minimizes the risk of becoming pregnant or getting sexually transmitted diseases.

3. Condoms Should be Bought by Men
The logic is the following: who wears, that one should buy. But more than 35% of condom consumers are women.

4. Condoms Desensitize
Condoms are made out of thin, elastic and durable materials, which practically do not desensitize at all. Moreover, there exist condoms with particular lubricant based on water, which are recommended for those experiencing problems in reaching orgasm.

5. Using a Condom Hurts
Almost all condoms have silicone or water based lubricants, that exclude any pain during their use. If one experiences pain during sex, they should consult a doctor for taking a sexual health checkup, instead of imputing the pain to condoms.

6. Sex without Condom Is Healthier Because of the Hormone Exchange
This statement contains a grain of truth, but I do not think that an unwanted pregnancy, abortion or getting a sexually transmitted diseases are healthier.

7. A Married Pair Can Do Without Condoms
One can get an infection not only from a partner on the side, but also in public transport, pool, gym etc. In the long run Herpes virus can suddenly “wake up”, which is passively present in almost every organism.

8. There Exist Two Sizes of Condoms: Small (Asian) and Large (Western)
Condoms can be divided into three size groups depending on their width: 48-50 mm, 51-53 mm, 54-56 mm. The Length of a typical condom is 19-20 cm (Indian ones are 18 cm).

9. It Is Awkward to Tell Your Partner about Using a Condom
Many people think, if they ask their partner to use a condom, they will offend by this ask. In reality such a proposal is an additional care about your partner’s health. You cannot offend a normal person by this. By the way, the very process of fixing the condom can become an additional moment in the romp.

10. It is Better to Use Condoms Together with Creams, Lubricants and Intimate Gels
No way! Apart from the fact that different gels and creams can cause itching, burning or allergic reaction, they can have a destructive effect on latex and condom lubricants.

11. All Condoms Have Tiny Holes, that Let AIDS Through
Condoms admitted to be sold must stand the hermiticity and inflation tests, which prove there are no holes.

12. Condoms Disturb the Spontaneity of Sex
If you and your partner agree about using the condom in advance, the condom will not disturb you.

Remember, that only the correct use of condoms can provide the prevention of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Please, love, respect each other and be healthy.

The Shijingshan Amusement Park included a raven-haired woman with seven men in elf suits, a 'Mickey' mouse and other Disney-style characters.

Deputy general manager, Yin Zhiqiang, said: "The characters in our park just look a little bit similar to theirs. But the faces, clothes, sizes and appearances are different."

"We do not have any agreements with Disney."

Despite the striking similarities to foreign characters, Yin insisted the Beijing park's are all locally designed.

"Take our Cinderella as an example. The face of Disney's Cinderella face is European, but ours is a Chinese. She looks like a young Chinese country girl," he said.

At the center of the park is a building labeled "Cinderella's Castle" on park maps. It bears a striking resemblance to the original at Disneyland in California.

                                                                Cinderella's Castle

The copy has led to strained ties with the United States, whose trade deficit with China soared to US$232.5 billion last year.

Over the weeklong May Day holiday, the Shijingshan Amusement Park filled its grounds on Beijing's western suburbs with actors in costumes that resembled Disney and other foreign characters.

A video shot by Japan's Fuji TV showed children cavorting with Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Japan's Hello Kitty and Doraemon.

A banner over the entrance said, "Disney is too far, so please come to Shijingshan."

The banner has now been taken down and none of the cartoon characters were on display, as crisis talks with Disney continue.

An employee who would give only her surname, Li, said the performances usually occur during the summer and holidays.

Lawyers for the park and the Walt Disney Co. were in negotiations, said Yin, the deputy general manager of the park, which is owned by the government of Beijing's Shijingshan District.

"The results will come out in a couple of days," he said.

A Disney spokeswoman, Alannah Goss, declined to comment on the Shijingshan park but sent a statement affirming Disney's determination to fight copying.

"Disney values and protects its intellectual property vigorously and takes reports of suspected infringement very seriously," the statement said.

In a mixup of cartoon images, the castle ticket booth is built to look like Snow White, while a nearby statue of a woman with seven dwarves is the golden-haired Sleeping Beauty.

Two workmen with sledgehammers could be seen tearing down the Sleeping Beauty statue. But Yin, refused to say why.
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Daily Mail reports a coffee shop with topless waitresses, which has caused a storm of protest in a small town, has been forced to close after it put up a 'boobies wanted' sign.

Grand View Topless Coffee Shop in Vassalboro, Maine, hit the headlines when it opened in 2009, offering to serve customers semi-nude. And despite a wave of protest from local campaigners in its home town of fewer than 5,000 people - and one high profile arson attack - the shop had until now, managed to keep business going.

But the controversial store's topless waitresses will finally have to get dressed and leave after town officials ruled that it has been putting up signs illegally.

Bosses insist the order has nothing to do with the shop's nudity policy - or the fact that the signs offered a topless car wash and advertised: 'Boobies wanted'.
They say simply putting up the new signs without permission violated zoning rules.

Donald Crabtree, the owner of Grand View Coffee Shop, which uses topless male and female waiters, said he had given up after fighting to exist for two years.

'I wanted to have some fun; I wanted to see people smile,' he told local paper the Maine Morning Sentinel. 'I started the topless coffee shop to do that, and it did. But now my smile's gone.

'I've fought that fight for more than two years now and no matter how hard I try to make this work, somebody sabotages me.'

'These people are bound and determined to shut you down. I'm singled out, but I'm just trying to make a living like everyone else.'

The shop opened in 2009 to a storm of protest from its rural community and prompted Vassalboro and many other communities to bring in rules to regulate where and when sexually oriented businesses could operate.
A few months later, in June 2009, the store's original location was burnt to the ground.

The man charged for being responsible for the arson, Raymond Bellavance Jr., who was in a relationship with one of the waitresses, is still awaiting trial.

Crabtree, 43, who has since run the business from a trailer, finally decided to close down after he was forced to take down the nude car wash and 'boobies wanted' signs.

The town's code officer had given him a week to remove them or face legal action.
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Despite seeing the horrors of the fast food industry in “Food Inc” and “Fast Food Nation,” we must admit that once in a very great while, we say “F**k it,” and stuff our face with a Big Mac while forcing ourselves to think of happy images of unicorns and dancing polar bears—anything but processed meat and slaughterhouses. But after learning about the following, we think even the annual Micky D’s trip will have to come to an end. The above picture is what your raw chicken nuggets look like. And as if it wasn’t gross enough that the goo looks like strawberry ice cream, we then learned this:

  • The substance is called MSC, or mechanically separated chicken
  • It’s a sickening puree of the ENTIRE chicken including bones, eyes, feet, everything
  • It’s then treated with ammonia to destroy bacteria, and then because it tastes so bad, is mixed with artificial flavoring
  • And then dyed pink

In your career, you will inevitably end up saying some dumb or regrettable things to your boss. We all do it to varying degrees at one time or another. The following list of such things is by no means exhaustive, but if you can avoid saying them, you will be doing yourself, your professional persona and your boss a tremendous service.

So, keep these top 10 things to never say to your boss in mind the next time you’re chatting him up by the watercooler.

No.10 “Impossible – that can’t be done.”
This is the kind of shortsighted thinking no boss wants to hear about. It suggests both indifference and a lack of effort. Unless you follow it up with a solution or an alternative, it’s neither proactive nor even helpful to say such a thing.

No.9 “This is the best they could do, huh?”
Whether said in response to new office phones, computers or the banquet hall at a family-style restaurant rented for a Christmas party, this is one of those smart-ass comments that indicates to your boss and to others that you have a deluded sense of entitlement. It also belittles the efforts someone — possibly your boss or even his boss — has made.

No.8 “That’s not my problem.”
Be that as it may, this presupposes the existence of a problem and, more than likely, a frustrated boss or coworker in need of some assistance. At the very least, your boss is looking for someone to take responsibility of the solution to this problem — even if it wasn’t yours to begin with. That means he already knows it’s not your problem, so you can spare him the reminder.

No.7 “That isn’t in my job description.”
In one of the many great courtroom scenes in A Few Good Men, Tom Cruise asks a witness to point out where in the U.S. Marines manual the mess hall is indicated. Naturally it isn’t in there. The point is, a lot of things aren’t detailed in your job description, including e-mailing your friends from work or surfing the web, but you probably do those things anyways, right? So when the boss asks you to do something a little out of the ordinary, don’t take offense, and never say to your boss that it’s not in your job description to do it.

No.6 “Does it really matter if I get this finished?”
A strictly educational environment might promote the idea that there is no such thing as a dumb question, but this isn’t true at the office. To know the difference a good question to ask yourself is: “Will this question waste someone’s time?” No boss wants you to spend an hour doing a project incorrectly, but asking about the relevance of a project is time-wasting and insulting to both of you.

No.5 “That’s a no-brainer.”
As a tired cliché, this statement is offensive enough; however, delivered with just the right patronizing tone, it becomes an insult. Your boss doesn’t hear “no-brainer” as much as he hears, “The answer is obvious — how dumb are you?”

No.4 “We should totally hook up on Facebook.”
No, you shouldn’t. Ever. Your boss knows this and he might be a little disappointed that you don’t. Extending a request like this puts him in an uncomfortable position. He may be too nice to say no, or foolish enough to say yes. Either way, social interactions with your boss should, almost without question, be discouraged. We don’t mean you can’t mingle with him at office parties, but try not to plan weekend getaways with him and his family anytime soon.

No.3 “I got so trashed last night…”
You might just be jawing over the prior evening, but to your boss this could be a hint that you plan to be especially unproductive that day. It might also inform him that you have difficulty keeping your work and private lives separate and that you don’t have much discretion at all. This, in turn, can be a signal that you shouldn’t be trusted with additional responsibilities.

No.2 “I don’t get paid enough for this.”
Ninety-nine percent of the time you’ll be wrong when you say this. Furthermore, such a statement packs so many ready-made responses. Most potent among them might be, “Then quit, and fulfill your great untapped potential elsewhere.” All told, this kind of statement serves no other purpose but to b*tch and complain — which you do not want to do in front of, to or around your boss. Save it for people who might actually think you’re right, like your mother.

No.1 “Sigh”
The passive aggression and frustrating ambiguity of a sigh are what land it at the No. 1 spot. It can be delivered in response to the full range of requests from your boss, and it seems sufficiently open to interpretation to allow you to deny even having sighed at all.

But this is as true to you as it is absurd to your boss. We all know very well what a sigh means: It’s the official theme song of being annoyed and the national anthem of imposition.
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The information age was supposed to usher in a world where we could connect to anyone around the world instantly. But the sour promise of the electronic future is that it's still very nice to be in the same room with someone--with business contacts, sure, but especially with a loved one. Maybe it's time technology solved that problem, too. Welcome to the age of the Internet kiss.

Researchers at the Kajimoto Laboratory at the University of Electro-Communications in Japan (of course) are working on a machine that can replicate a kiss from the Internet. Just approach the box, move the straw with your tongue, and your partner gets a straw moving in their mouth the same way.

One of the researchers, Nobuhiru Takahashi, notes that "the elements of a kiss include the sense of taste, the manner of breathing, and the moistness of the tongue." Now that they've got tongue movement down, they're working on those. They project that a famous musician or movie star could record kisses, and then fans could kiss their own boxes: Imagine young girls (or boys!) everywhere staying up late making out with a program of Justin Bieber's kisses. It's a million-dollar idea.

But aside from the pop-culture implications, there is something bigger; a deeper moral quandary about our assumptions about a global world and how we can move around in it. George Monibot invented a term called "love miles"; the miles we must travel out of obligations to people we care about:

If your sister-in-law is getting married in Buenos Aires, it is both immoral to travel there, because of climate change, and immoral not to, because of the offence it causes. In that decision we find two valid moral codes in irreconcilable antagonism.

There is a paradox in a world in which the Internet allows us to form relationships thousands of miles away, and in which flying is increasingly something we should avoid, even as we become closer to people from farther away. This device could actually reduce the miles we travel to be with people we want to kiss. But then: Do we want to live in a world where kissing can be replicated by a box with a straw attached? If that's how we're interacting, have we not lost something essential about being human? Can we truly accept living in a world where we kiss with boxes?

Watch on YouTube
As the world reacted to Sunday night's monumental announcement, it was only a matter of time before one of the news networks made a hasty gaffe.

While there were a few headline FAILS circulating around the Internet last night (curiously, mostly Fox-related) the best one has to be the following Fox 40 screen shot @KyleHudgins Tweeted.

You know, we had almost forgotten how similar the names of our commander-in-chief and our #1 enemy happen to be. Thank you, Fox, for providing us with this helpful reminder!

UPDATE: Perhaps we spoke too soon. Click here to watch an even bigger Fox FAIL unfold on live TV.

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Mother's Day is near, 8th May, 2011. So, let's prepare anything to surprise your mothers.

Remember, there's no perfect gift for all Moms. An ideal present sometimes takes research, cost-sharing, planning and scheming to recognize her as the greatest mother

Despite all the ad claims, there is no such thing as "the perfect Mother’s Day gift" because mothers have so many different dreams, preferences and needs. An ideal gift has to be planned and selected specifically for a particular mother.

It should should reflect love and recognize her as the world’s greatest mother with distinctive traits, wishes and needs. Ideally it should be a surprise and memorable.

First, a few don’ts:

- Don’t expect to find the ideal present in a drug store on Mother’s Day.
-, a special gift company, also warns against such negative message- carrying items as diet books, ThighMasters and elastic wasteband pants.
- Flowers and candy are still dandy, but a bit of thought can inspire something more personal and memorable to her.
- Avoid gifts associated with her work and chores.

Simple ideas to show our mothers how important they are:

1. One way to honor our mothers is by keeping them out of the kitchen for one day. A good way to do this is by taking them out to dinner or better yet by hiring a chef who can come to her house to cook her favorite dish.
2. Mothers also like to feel pretty and many times they do not have the money or the time or do not know where to go to get pampered. A certificate to a local Spa is a great gift for a mother. Ideally, she has a friend who can go with her.
3. A new dress is always a good gift for a mother. If not knowing the size or what she likes is an issue, then get her a certificate to a store she likes.
4. Big families can show tribute to their mothers by getting all together for a surprise dinner.
5. Many mothers never go any where. A surprise weekend trip to the Bahamas would be a pleasant surprise that they will always remember.

The Best Gift May Be Sharing High Quality Time With Her

Sometimes the best gift is not a thing, but some high quality time.
- Arrange a family luncheon, dinner or outing. There are few things that mothers like more than a gathering of their loved ones in a celebration setting. Build it around a theme and a presentation. Encourage family members and friends to stand up and recall precious moments or memories. Give her a corsage.
- Visit her. This is especially appreciated if she lives in a different city. Bring the grandchildren. Bring the girlfriend or boyfriend to dinner, assuming Mom will like her or him.
- Finally, and this one requires plenty of advance planning: Announce the coming of a grandchild. Mothers love grandchildren.

Any of these gifts will have her looking forward to next year’s surprise.,
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Funny cartoon of the day

Funny cartoon of the day