Thursday, April 30, 2009

What's Behind the Wall?

(No, this time it's not a mummified cat. It's even more bizarre.)

Remember the forgotten tunnel that was discovered underneath Brooklyn? (If not, you really should click here.) Well, there may soon be a movie about it. The film's producer is trying to raise money to complete the project--and to fund an excavation. He hopes to prove that a section of the tunnel still hidden behind a wall, "contains hidden international mysteries about John Wilkes Booth, the assasination of Abraham Lincoln, the missing pages of Booth's diary that list the conspirators involved in Lincoln's death, and a perfectly preserved locomotive from the early 1800's."

Hey--stranger things have happened.

Watch the film's trailer here. And see a CNN interview with the men behind the film here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What's Hiding in YOUR Bathroom?

Sometimes, I come across an article that's so perfect that I simply can't bring myself to paraphrase. In these rare cases, I feel I must honor the talented reporter by quoting his/her words. Enjoy.

A 400-YEAR-OLD cat is the last thing you would expect to find when renovating your home. But that is exactly what builders came across in the bathroom of an Ugborough cottage.

Local legend has it that the mummified moggy was placed in the walls of the house near Plymouth to ward off witches four centuries ago and owner Richard Parson said it had done a good job so far.

"I am of the opinion that it works as, since we have lived in the village, we have seen sight nor sound of any witches," he said.

Read more--and see an amazing slideshow--here!

You Are All Delightfully Weird

I have never met a stranger group of people in my entire life! And, as far as I'm concerned, that's the highest compliment I could possibly pay you.

The pictures above and below are proof that the world's Irregulars (as I think of you) are the oddest, most creative people around. The top photo comes courtesy of long-time blog reader Hazel, who recently won the National Library Week cake-making contest at her local library. Her cake recreates the little room that Ananka finds at the bottom of a sinkhole in Kiki #1. I must say, making minature rats out of almonds is a brilliant idea! Congrats, Hazel!

The photo below was sent to me from the Chapel Hill branch of the Irregulars. (You know who you are!) It's a Kiki "shrine." From what I hear, if you spend fifteen minutes a day in front of the candle, you'll soon be granted magical kung-fu skills. Very weird--and AWESOME!

Thanks to everyone who sends me cool stuff. If there's anyone else who'd like a mention, please let me know! (I always try to get permission before I post anything on the blog.)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Know Your Rights!

This story is a couple of months old, but it should still scare us all senseless . . .

For years, when kids in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania were arrested for minor offenses (such as stealing loose change from cars or writing prank notes) they often found themselves outside the American justice system. Many were denied lawyers. Their hearings lasted only a couple of minutes. And quite a few were sentenced to months-long prison terms.

How bad did it get? One girl was sent to a wilderness boot camp for creating a Myspace page that made fun of her assistant principal.

Why were these kids denied justice? Because two corrupt Pennsylvania judges were being paid for every kid they sent to one of two private juvenile detention facilities.

Both the judges will now be spending a few years behind bars. But this case offers an important lesson. Just because you're a kid doesn't mean you don't have any rights. Learn what they are--and make sure no one ever abuses them!

Read the whole horrible story here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Art and the Animal Kingdom

Mixing art and animals can have questionable results. (Think "Dogs Playing Poker" or anything by Damien Hirst.) But sometimes the two come together to create something . . . magical?

Take, for instance, artist Julian Wolkenstein's horsey supermodels (including the beauty shown above). Or the "extreme sheep LED art" in the video below.

But my favorite? THE URBAN BEAST PROJECT. From the website:

Urban Beasts are recycled skins of thrown out stuffed animals taxidermied to create feral relatives. Often displayed in community gardens, abandoned lots and in trees, an Anthology of their stories was developed to illustrate Humans' role as stewards of their environments.

This, in my opinion, is one of the greatest projects in the history of mankind. (Thanks for the tip, Ivy!!)

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Latest in Adventure Sports

What do you think of when you see the picture above? My guess? It's not surfing. But these days, "volcano boarding" is a sport that's growing in popularity. All you need is a rupture in the earth's surface and a board. Just hike to the top of your local active volcano and slide all the way down. By the time you reach the bottom, you could be going up to 50 miles per hour. It's that easy (and dirty and dangerous and hot)!

Read more and check out the pictures and video here.

(What sort of thing would I like to do? Check it out here!)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Say Hello to Miss Outdoors

I think we have a theme going today. Dakota Abbott (see above) was crowned Miss Outdoors in 2008. She's the only woman to have won the beauty pageant--and a muskrat skinning contest. (Apparently people eat them--who knew? Anyone out there ever nibbled a muskrat? If so, please write in.)

Read more here!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Scary Girl

This game looks awesome! It has all of my favorite things: Eye patches, scary girls, a giant octopus, terrifying creatures, and BUNNIES! (Do all of the exclamation points manage to convey my excitement?!?)

Play here!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New to Me: Snow Rollers

Of all the creepy weather-related phenomena we've discussed on this blog (lenticular clouds, the red rain of Kerala, mayor-eating groundhogs), I have never come across anything as bizarre as snow rollers.

I was blissfully unaware of their existence until approximately 8:30 this morning when I discovered these pictures from the National Weather Service.

According to Wikipedia:

"A snow roller is a rare meteorological phenomenon in which large snowballs are formed naturally as chunks of snow are blown along the ground by wind, picking up material along the way, in much the same way that the large snowballs used in snowmen are made.

Unlike snowballs made by people, snow rollers are typically cylindrical in shape, and are often hollow since the inner layers, which are the first layers to form, are weak and thin compared to the outer layers and can easily be blown away, leaving what looks like a doughnut or Swiss roll. Snow rollers have been seen to grow as large as two feet in diameter.

I know it's just a natural phenomenon, but there's something about seeing them all lined up on the plain that really spooks me! Imagine waking up one morning to find your entire lawn covered in these things!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Why Don't These Things Happen to ME?

Today we offer two videos for your review. The first (above) allegedly shows the "Beast of Gum Hill" crossing a creek in Virginia.

The second video can be seen here. What terrible creature ate an SUV owned by a North Carolina family? (There was a similiar incident featured on Monster Quest. The experts believed a dog did the damage.)

Are hoaxters responsible? Unknown monsters? All I can say is, why don't these things happen when I'M down South?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I Love New York!

I've always said that New Yorkers get a bad rap. We're not the surly, weapon-wielding thugs that everyone thinks we are. We're actually quite nice! And now I've got proof (above).

Artist Kacie Kinzer recently devised an interesting experiment. She built a series of robots (cute robots!) that explore the city--with the help of pedestrians. You see, her "tweenbots" can only travel in a straight line. So they need assistance from the humans around them to reach their destinations.

The first tweenbot mission was a resounding success. Why? Because New Yorkers are so darn nice and helpful. (Unless you tick us off. Then we attack.)

Read more about the project here.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Is This the Work of the British Irregulars?

(Artwork by Tereza Vlčková.)

Over the past year, over 200 anonymous letters have been sent to the police in the small British town of Highbridge. The notes, which are always typed on plain white paper, have given authorities enough information to catch drug dealers, tax dodgers, and a wide assortment of evil-doers.

Some people suggest that the mysterious sleuth may be a retired policeman or crime novel aficionado. Heh heh. We'll just let them believe that . . . for now.

Read more here.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Things People Do in Belgium, Part I

In the spirit of "Frozen Grand Central."

(Thanks to Spiffy for correcting my geography.)

The Only Eggs I Don't Hate are EASTER EGGS

I'm back! I hope everyone who celebrates Passover is having a great time. And for those of you who are fans of the Easter bunny, I just came across a site with some amazing ways to color Easter eggs. Check them out here!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cool Old Stuff

(Top: Mrs. L.O. King, traffic cop. 1918. Bottom: New York City detective Mary Agnes Shanley. 1937.)

I just found Shorpy, a cool site with lots of old pictures. I particularly like the pictures of women from previous generations.

Here's something to think about. Mrs. L.O. King was working as a Washington DC traffic cop . . . before she was even able to VOTE in this country. Interesting, no?

Friday, April 3, 2009

I'm Heading Home

Tomorrow morning I'm flying down to visit my hometown in the mountains of North Carolina. (Sorry I missed you, Lili!) So I may not be able to post as regularly as I'd like. (My mom likes to hog the computer.) But I'll keep in touch any way that I can. Maybe I'll even take a few pictures. Some CRAZY stuff goes on down there . . .

Here's a little something to think about while I'm gone.

Terribly Sad and Extremely Interesting

The creature above made the list of eleven extinct animals photographed while alive. According to . . .

"The Bubal Hartebeest was a magnificent, tough beast which was once domesticated by the ancient Egyptians as a food source and for sacrificial purposes. The creature was even mentioned in the Old Testament.

Although it once roamed throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East, the deep-rooted mythology which surrounded the animal was not enough to save it from European hunters who began hunting them for recreation and meat. The last Bubal Hartebeest was probably a female which died in the Paris Zoo in 1923."

See the other unfortunate creatures that made the list here.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Great Graveyards

What can I say? I like graveyards. I find them endlessly fascinating. So I was thrilled to discover this list of ten "must-see" cemeteries. I've already visited five of them, and I'm dying to see more (ha), particularly London's Highgate Cemetery (shown above). Surprisingly, number seven on the list is near my new home in Brooklyn! So the next time the weather is nice, I think I'll pack a picnic and have lunch with some Roosevelts.