Friday, 31 July 2009

The Spermatorrhea Ring

Victorian era folks tended to believe that masturbation and nocturnal emissions could have devastating effects on the body, including blindness and retardation.

Now, I understand that such old wives tales have a way of surviving, even among educated people. But what I don't understand is why they didn't demand more proof of the "masturbation will destroy you" thing before putting strapping anti-boner spikes to their dongs.

That's right, to combat the growing problem of unnecessary erections many inventors worked feverishly to devise contraptions that could effectively neutralize wang swelling. The Spermatorrhea Ring was comprised of a flexible metal band that comfortably accommodates an average sized penis.

So when, say, a particularly foxy lady strolled past and the male mind rejoiced at the prospect of a chance sexual encounter, his penis would swell and draw ever closer to the spikes along the border of the ring. So it gave you enough time to run your hand through a meat grinder, or perhaps saw off a foot in an attempt to distract your brain with something -- anything -- that will make your boner just go away before it was impaled by spikes.

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Oh So Cute Killer

Hippos are practically the very definition of Disney-cute. What sort of person could look at this big ol' rascal, playing away in her favorite swimming hole, and not think of stuffing her in a tutu and making her dance to classical music?

For chrissake look at them. There is no way you could look at a big, fat, happy, squishy, huggable hippo and not think, "If she could talk like a human, she would sound just like Jada Pinkett Smith and be oh so sassy." You would totally name her Sassybaskets and she would be your tutu-wearing, ballet-dancing, strut-walking pal for life. Just you and Sassybaskets against the world! Look out, New York, here comes Sassybaskets!


It turns out in the real world, hippos fucking kill people.

There's this word, "territorial," that nature takes pretty seriously. When it's applied to a two-ton animal with teeth the size of bowling pins, that is one hell of a word. The sort of word you either pay very close attention to, or ignore and end up with a complimentary "Killed to death by a fucking hippo" tombstone. That sort of thing is really embarrassing for the family, you know?

The next time you settle in for a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos, take a moment to to reflect on the small fact that hippopotamuses kill more humans per year than any other animal in the entire continent of Africa. Only elephants are consistently larger than hippos, and only the Warner Brothers' Tasmanian Devil is more consistently aggressive.

Perhaps you've seen this pic:

That is not in fact a man and a hippo doing a live reenactment of a cartoon they saw. That's an experienced park ranger, who narrowly avoided getting killed by a hippo by sprinting over a hundred yards.

The late Steve Irwin, a man who used to tackle 12-foot crocodiles for fun and wave angry snakes filled with kill-you-before-your-next-heartbeat poison at a camera, considered a five-minute sequence where his camera team had to cross a river filled with hippos to be the single most dangerous moment ever filmed on his show.

The man who toyed with crocodiles, was scared shitless of hippos.

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The Pistol Shrimp - A Badass Lil Mo Fo

Many are deceived by the small size of the Pistol Shrimp - the lumpy shape by the pistol shrimp's head is its claw. It's specially modified to blow the shit out of its opponent by snapping shut so quickly it produces a flash of light and a blast of sound reaching 218 decibels, which science says is louder than a gunshot.

The sound isn't caused by the claws snapping together, but rather a jet of water which is shot at 60 mph. Due to the, um, "underwateriness" of the action scene, a low pressure bubble is formed and the sound is created when the bubble collapses. And the sound is so powerful it stuns the opponent into a somewhat retarded stupor, leaving Mr. Pistol to reap the rewards and tuck into a lovely comatose crustacean snack.

The sheer force of the bubble collapse means it reaches temperatures up to 18,000 degrees Fahrenheit, hotter than the surface of the sun.

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The French Fartiste - The Fart Maniac

Le Pétomane was the stage name of the French professional farter and entertainer Joseph Pujol (June 1, 1857 - 1945).

He was famous for his remarkable control of the abdominal muscles, which enabled him to fart at will. His stage name combines the French verb 'péter', "to fart" with the '-mane', "-maniac" suffix, which translates to "The Fart Maniac". The profession is also referred to as "flatulist," "farteur", or "fartiste".

Joseph Pujol was born in Marseille. He was one of five children of François (a stonemason and sculptor) and Rose Pujol. Soon after he left school he had a strange experience while swimming in the sea. He put his head under the water and held his breath, whereupon he felt an icy cold penetrating his rear. He ran ashore in fright and was amazed to see water pouring from his anus. A doctor assured him that there was nothing to worry about.

When he joined the army he told his fellow soldiers about his special ability, and repeated it for their amusement, sucking up water from a pan into his rectum and then projecting it through his anus up to several yards. He then found that he could suck in air as well. Although a baker by profession, Pujol would entertain his customers by imitating musical instruments, and claim to be playing them behind the counter. Pujol decided to try his talent on the stage, and debuted in Marseille in 1887. After his act proved successful, he proceeded to Paris, where he took the act to the Moulin Rouge in 1892.

Some of the highlights of his stage act involved sound effects of cannon fire and thunderstorms, as well as playing 'O Sole Mio and La Marseillaise on an ocarina through a rubber tube in his anus. He could also blow out a candle from several yards away. His audience included Edward, Prince of Wales, King Leopold II of the Belgians and Sigmund Freud.

In 1894, the managers of the Moulin Rouge sued Pujol for an impromptu exhibition he gave to aid a friend struggling with economic difficulties. For the measly sum of 3,000 francs (Pujol's usual fee being 20,000 francs per show), the Moulin Rouge lost their star attraction, who proceeded to set up his own traveling show called the Theatre Pompadour.

In the following decade Pujol tried to 'refine' and make his acts 'gentler'; one of his favourite numbers became a rhyme about a farm which he himself composed, and which he punctuated with the usual anal renditions of the animals' sounds. The climax of his act however involved him farting his impression of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

With the outbreak of World War I, Pujol, horrified by the inhumanity of the conflict, retired from the stage and returned to his bakery in Marseille. Later he opened a biscuit factory in Toulon. He died in 1945, aged 88, and was buried in the cemetery of La Valette-du-Var, where his grave can still be seen today. The Sorbonne offered his family a large sum of money to study his body after his death, but they refused the offer.

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Some Rather Unusual Deaths

2001: Bernd-Jürgen Brandes from Germany was voluntarily stabbed repeatedly and then partly eaten by Armin Meiwes (who was later called the Cannibal of Rothenburg). Brandes had answered an internet advertisement by Meiwes looking for someone for this purpose. Brandes explicitly stated in his will that he wished to be killed and eaten.

2001: Gregory Biggs, a homeless man in Fort Worth, Texas, was struck by a car being driven by Chante Jawan Mallard, who had been drinking and taking drugs that night. Biggs' torso became lodged in Mallard's windshield with severe but not immediately fatal injuries. Mallard drove home and left the car in her garage with Biggs still lodged in her car's windshield. She repeatedly visited Biggs and even apologized for hitting him. Biggs died of his injuries several hours later. Chante Mallard was tried and convicted for murder in this case and received a 50-year prison sentence. The film Stuck is loosely based on this unusual death.

2001: Hungarian singer Jimmy Zámbó accidentally shot himself in the head when trying to prove that the handgun he fired earlier had no more bullets left. While he did remove the magazine, he forgot the bullet that was left in the chamber.

2002: Brittanie Cecil, an American 13-year-old hockey fan, died two days after being struck in the head by a hockey puck shot by Espen Knutsen at a game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Calgary Flames at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

2003: Doug McKay was killed at the Island county fair amusement park when his arm was caught as he sprayed lubricant on a Super Loop 2 circular roller coaster. The ride was in operation at the time and he was pulled 40 feet (12 m) in the air before falling and landing on a fence.

2003: Brian Douglas Wells, a pizza delivery man in Erie, Pennsylvania, was killed by a time bomb that was fastened around his neck. He was apprehended by the police after robbing a bank, and claimed he had been forced to do it by three people who had put the bomb around his neck and would kill him if he refused. The bomb later exploded, killing him. In 2007, police alleged Wells was involved in the robbery plot along with two other conspirators.

2003: Dr. Hitoshi Nikaidoh, a surgical doctor, was decapitated as he stepped on to an elevator at Christus St. Joseph Hospital in Houston, Texas on August 16, 2003. According to a witness inside the elevator, the elevator doors closed as Nikaidoh entered, trapping his head inside the elevator with the remainder of his body still outside. His body was later found at the bottom of the elevator shaft while the upper portion of his head, severed just above the lower jaw, was found in the elevator. A subsequent investigation revealed that improper electrical wiring installed by a maintenance company several days earlier had effectively bypassed all of the safeguards.

2003: Timothy Treadwell, an American environmentalist who had lived in the wilderness among bears for thirteen summers in a remote region in Alaska, and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard were killed and partially consumed by a bear. An audio recording of their deaths was captured on a video camera which had been turned on at the beginning of the incident. Werner Herzog's documentary film, Grizzly Man, discusses Treadwell and his death.

2004: Phillip Quinn, a 24-year-old of Kent, Washington was killed during an attempt to heat up a lava lamp bulb on his kitchen stove while closely observing it from only a few feet away. The heat built up pressure in the bulb until it exploded, spraying shards of glass with enough force to pierce his chest, with one shard piercing his heart, killing him. The circumstances of his death were later repeated and confirmed in a 2006 episode of the popular science television series Mythbusters.

2005: Kenneth Pinyan ('Mr. Hands') of Gig Harbor, Washington died of acute peritonitis after seeking out and receiving anal intercourse from a stallion, an act he had engaged in previously. Pinyan delayed his visit to the hospital for several hours out of reluctance to explain the circumstances of his injury to doctors. The case led to the criminalization of bestiality in Washington. His story was recounted in the award winning 2007 documentary film Zoo.

2005: Lee Seung Seop, a 28-year-old South Korean, collapsed of fatigue and died after playing the videogame StarCraft online for almost 50 consecutive hours in an Internet cafe.

2006: Erika Tomanu, A seven-year-old girl in Saitama, Japan, died when she was sucked down the intake pipe of a current pool at a water park. The grill that was meant to cover the inlet came off, yet lifeguards at the pool at the time deemed it safe enough to allow swimmers to stay in the water as they had issued a verbal warning of the situation. She was sucked head first more than 10 metres down the pipe by the powerful pump and it took rescuers more than 6 hours to remove her by digging through concrete to access the pipe.

2006: Steve Irwin, an Australian television personality and naturalist known as The Crocodile Hunter, died when his heart was impaled by a short-tail stingray barb while filming a documentary entitled "Ocean's Deadliest" in Queensland's Great Barrier Reef.

2006: Alexander Litvinenko, a former officer of the Russian State security service, and later a Russian dissident and writer, died after being poisoned with polonium-210 causing acute radiation syndrome. He is the first known case of deliberate poisoning in this manner.

2007: Jennifer Strange, a 28-year-old woman from Sacramento, died of water intoxication while trying to win a Wii console in a KDND 107.9 "The End" radio station's "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" contest, which involved drinking large quantities of water without urinating.

2007: Humberto Hernandez, a 24-year-old Oakland, California resident, was killed while walking on a sidewalk after being struck in the face by an airborne fire hydrant; A passing car blew a tire and swerved onto the sidewalk, striking the fire hydrant. The force of the water pressure released so suddenly it propelled the 200-pound hydrant toward Hernandez with enough force to kill him.

2007: Kevin Whitrick, a 42-year-old man, committed suicide by hanging himself live on a webcam during an Internet chat session.

2007: Surinder Singh Bajwa, the Deputy Mayor of Delhi, India, was kicked by a Rhesus Macaque monkey at his home and fell from a first floor balcony, suffering serious head injuries. He later died from his injuries.

2008: Abigail Taylor, age 6, died nine months after several of her internal organs were partially sucked out of her lower body while she sat on an excessively powerful swimming pool drain. After several months, surgeons replaced her intestines and pancreas with donor organs. Unfortunately, she later succumbed to a rare transplant-related cancer.

2008: Gerald Mellin, a U.K. businessman, committed suicide by tying one end of a rope around his neck and the other to a tree. He then hopped into his Aston Martin DB7 and drove down a main road in Swansea until the rope decapitated him. He supposedly did this as an act of revenge against his ex-wife for leaving him.

2008: David Phyall, 50, the last resident in a block of flats due to be demolished in Bishopstoke, near Southampton, Hampshire, United Kingdom, cut his own head off with a chainsaw to highlight the injustice of being forced to move out.

2008: James Mason, of Chardon, Ohio, died of heart failure after his wife exercised him to death in a public swimming pool. Christine Newton-John was seen on video tape pulling Mason around the pool and preventing him from getting out of the water 43 times. Newton-John later pleaded guilty to reckless homicide.

2009: Diana Durre, of Chambers, Nebraska, died after a 75-foot (23 m) Taco Bell sign fell on top of the truck cab she was in. The pole broke at a welded joint about 15 feet (4.5 m) above the ground owing to strong winds. The sign fell right on top of the quad-cab pickup. Diana was meeting a Wyoming couple to sell them some dogs. Officials said they agreed to meet in North Platte, Nebraska about 1 p.m., “right underneath the big Taco Bell sign.”

2009: Sergey Tuganov, a 28-year-old Russian, bet two women that he could continuously have sex with them both for twelve hours. Several minutes after winning the $4,300 bet, he suffered a heart attack and died. It is believed that the heart attack was the result of Tuganov ingesting an entire bottle of Viagra just after he accepted the bet.

2009: Martin Cassidy, a 44-year-old stand-up comedian from Blackburn, England, died from asphyxia caused by breathing in large quantities of laughing gas while watching pornography on his laptop computer, according to a coroner. The coroner ruled a case of "Death by misadventure".

2009: Shanno Khan, an 11-year-old schoolgirl in India, died after being forced by her teacher to stand for hours outside in the searing New Delhi heat as punishment for not doing her homework.

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Your Piss Can Save Lives

Your piss can save lives. It turns out there is something contained in your piss called Urokinase that, as luck would have it, is extremely effective at breaking up blood clots that occur when you have a stroke or a heart attack. Now please take note that this is not an excuse to quickly run over to your grandmother should she have a heart attack and piss on her. The urine needs to be filtered first and all these anticoagulent products harvested. However, should you have a burning desire to piss on your grandmother anyway, who am I to stop you.

So if doctors can use your piss then why aren't we being paid for it by the bucketfull? How do they collect the stuff? Well, it turns out somebody already has a whole bunch of piss on their hands...

The Porta-John company have made a kind of porta-loo whereby they collect gallons of piss and process it in the required manner to make it useful to the doc. They have more than 10,000 rental toilets that are like giant specimen jars, they have gotten enough product to go into the production of what their website refers to as "human sourced proteins."

A filter is placed in each Porta-John, harvesting the desired proteins on a flow by flow basis while weeding out undesired clutter such as shit, used condoms and things that lay outside the dark boundaries of the human imagination. I'm guessing the guy that gets sent to retrieve these filters didn't really "wow" anybody during the interview process.

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Semen Beauty Products

Generations of guys told women "It's good for your skin!" in a desperate scheme to find willing targets for their mayonnaise cannons. As it turns out, not only is this claim apparently true, but several companies are actually peddling semen as the next great beauty cream ingredient.

The hilariously named Cmen Beauty Now offers discreet shipping of the pure product straight to the buyer's home, along with reassurances of the stock being disease-free and provided by individuals who are "tested monthly." They really have to boast about their quality control, because their competition is a whole nation full of guys drunkenly offering to apply it directly to the customer's face at no cost.

Meanwhile, Skinscience, a Scandinavian company, is marketing an entire line of Spermine beauty creams and serums. Spermine is an antioxidant found in human semen that's said to be 30 times stronger than vitamin E and able to repair sunburned skin, based on results Skinscience gathered after testing their products on 3,000 women (curiously, no men signed up to participate in the "rub sperm all over your face and sprinkle some on that sunburned back of yours as well" tests).

Please note that both of these companies make zero effort to disclose where exactly they're getting their massive quantities of semen from. So until we get some transparency to this process we're forced to imagine a hand-made sign and a line of hobos that stretches all the way around the block.

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Steven Purugganan: Disposable cup Stacker Extraordinaire

In America, striving to be the best is a fundamental part of their identity. It's one of the three legs that make the stool that is America the strongest in the world, the other two being competitive eating and NASCAR.

However, when grown-ups say we should strive to be the best in "everything," they don't actually mean it. It won't help you to become the best at, say, stacking disposable cups.

Unfortunately no one told this to Steven Purugganan. Eleven-year-old Steve had his whole life ahead of him until he captured the title of world's fastest competitive cup stacking champion. What exactly is cup stacking, you ask?


I'd love to know what the future holds for this kid. Will he one day realize he spent his entire life without picking up one single useful skill, such as how to get a job or how to convince a girl that watching him stack cups is totally worth her removing her panties?

Or will he apply the same standard of relentless excellence to all of his endeavors? Could we come back 20 years from now and find a man who can, say, pop 30 metres of bubble wrap in a minute flat?

More likely, Steven will find himself as an accomplished surgeon who, despite a respected career and loving family, one night winds up stabbing a guy in a bar for being the thousandth one to demand Steven "do that freaky cup stacking thing for us."

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The Unluckiest People Alive

They've been attacked by terrorists more times than John McClane.

It wasn't just New Yorkers who were traumatized by the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. Tourists from all over the country and the world were in the city at the time, as they would be on any given day. Tourists like the English couple Jason and Jenny Cairns-Lawrence, whose relaxing vacation was interrupted by the worst terrorist attack in history, experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime horror.

Wait, did I say once in a lifetime? Because four years later, on July 7th, 2005, they happened to be in London, during the worst terror attack in their history. A series of bombs exploded across the city's transit system, killing 52 people.

At this point they may have felt cursed or, worse, that they were unknowingly starring in an action film that kept doing shitty sequels. But, you know, New York and London are both massive cities and really, the odds are that at least one family would happen to be in both places on those fateful days. Right?

But it wasn't over. Three years later, they took another vacation. This time, to the exotic Indian city of Mumbai.

There they saw the worst terror attack in that country's history, as shooting and bombing attacks killed and wounded hundreds.

News stories say the couple "refused to cut short their holiday" after the Mumbai attack. It's kind of hard not to imagine them as Clark Griswold, screaming "NO! Not this time! We took this fucking vacation and we're going to enjoy it, damn it."

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