Tag Archives: bizarre
We were raised Mormon until mom had a dream that “Beelzebub” (her word) came to her and told her she was on the right path. Since the path she was on was the Mormon path, she decided to find another path. I was seven when we left the church. My only memories of being a Mormon are things like Postum, which the old man drank each morning instead of coffee, the undergarments our folks wore, the bins of flour and oatmeal in the store room that we kept in case of an apocalypse and that one day I would have to ride a bike around as a missionary. I remember being excited about getting baptized. They said the Holy Spirit would come to me with a gift. I always wondered what I’d get, secretly hoping for a remote control airplane. I was pretty disappointed to find out later that the gift was a metaphor. Too young to appreciate symbolism, it seemed like I was getting ripped off.
— from A Masque of Infamy
The Wife turned me into a cartoon character:
Flash animation by Irina Dessaint.
Cocaine and Opium Medications from the Past
Coca wine was an alcoholic beverage that combined wine and cocaine. According to the Sears, Roebuck and Co. Consumers’ Guide (1900), their extraordinary Peruvian Wine of Coca, “…sustains and refreshes both the body and brain….It may be taken at any time with perfect safety…it has been effectually proven that in the same space of time more than double the amount of work could be undergone when Peruvian Wine of Coca was used, and positively no fatigue experienced…..”
Some 99% of contemporary Western users mix cocaine and ethyl alcohol. Cocaine and alcohol combine to form another hugely reinforcing compound, cocaethlyene. Coca-use only really took off in the West when it was blended with an alcoholic beverage.
Brands of Coca Wine:
Mariani Coca wine
The real soaraway success in Europe was Vin Mariani. Launched in 1863, it was an extremely palatable coca wine developed by the Corsican entrepreneur, Angelo Mariani (1838-1914). Mariani first tried his new tonic on a depressed actress. The results were spectacular. She soon told all her friends. Mariani himself wrote a book eulogising coca; and he gathered artefacts of, and material on, the coca-loving Incas. At home, he collected coke-taking paraphernalia. He also took up amateur horticulture and cultivated the coca plant in his garden.
An endorsement from Harper’s Magazine on the advertisement: “Your marvelous Tonic needs certainly no further recommendation as everyone is familiar with it, and no one would be without it. I claim ‘VIN MARIANI’ can have no equal; it will live forever.”
Pope Leo XIII used to carry one bottle with him all the time. He awarded Angelo Mariani (the producer) with a Vatican gold medal.
Metcalf Coca Wine
Metcalf Coca Wine was one of a huge variety of wines with cocaine on the market. Everybody used to say that it would make you happy and it would also work as a medicinal treatment.
Maltine Coca Wine
Produced by Maltine Manufacturing Company of New York. It was suggested that you should take a full glass with or after every meal. Children should take half a glass.
Other Cocaine Medications:
Dragees Antiseptiques Au Menthol
Cocaine throat lozenges, “indispensable for singers, teachers, and orators.” This box of lozenges is from a Belgium pharmacy (circa 1900).
Cocaine Toothache Drops
Very popular for children in 1885. “Instantaneous Cure!” Not only they relieved the pain, they made the children happy!
Stickney and Poor’s Pure Paregoric
For a five day old baby?! This sure would make them sleep well (not only the Opium, but 46% alcohol!). Stickney and Poor’s also distributed spices, for which the company is better known (McCormick).
A bottle of Bayer’s heroin. Between 1890 and 1910 heroin was sold as a non-addictive substitute for morphine. It was also used to treat children with strong cough.
Vapor-Ol Treatment No. 6
This National Vaporizer Vapor-OL (opium) Treatment no. 6 for asthma may have provided a unique method of essentially “smoking” opium. The volatile liquid was placed in a pan that was heated by a small kerosene lamp.
Other substances were also used in these early (c. 1890) vaporizers, but this mixture probably ensured plenty of visitors for the spasmodically affected.
During ArtWalk last year, we stopped at the Nickel for burgers and sat next to Crimebo the Clown:
I originally wrote this post for a now defunct “current affairs/oddities” blog I started in 2009 called ACKPFFT!
There have been reports of giant mutant fish in the river near Chernobyl.
But is it all just sensationalism?
No doubt the water is still radioactive from accumulation in the riverbed. But mutant fish? Wouldn’t mutant fish have like two heads? Or extra fins or tails?
In the picture above, the fish are large, for sure. Giant even. But there can be a reasonable explanation for this: the river is not really fished, so the fish in the river keep growing.
One of the most amazing aspects of Pripiat, the town where the Chernobyl plant was located in Ukraine, and the area surrounding it (called the Exclusion Zone) is that it became a ghost town after the meltdown. And nature took over. Trees grow where they want, grasses, plants, bushes, all flourished after the evacuation.
Because most of the humans went away (there are still squatters in the area, scavengers and old people who didn’t want to leave), the animals took over the land.
All sorts of wildlife have returned. Wolves, deer, lynxes and eagle owls have all taken over the land. Birds even nest inside the cracked concrete sarcophagus shielding the shattered remains of the reactor. The area is so flush with wildlife and greenery that the Ukrainian government designated it a wildlife sanctuary in 2000.
Even though there have never been any reports of these animals showing signs of mutation because they are on the land, many children of Ukraine and Belarus have suffered serious and unfortunate ailments (mostly thyroid cancer) due to the exposure from the radiation caused by the meltdown. You can read more about that and see photographic evidence on many websites.
According to the UN, 7 million people were affected by the Chernobyl meltdown, half of which were children.
Now back to the water and the fish:
According to WikiPedia: “The Chernobyl nuclear power plant lies next to the Pripyat River which feeds into the Dnieper River reservoir system, one of the largest surface water systems in Europe. The radioactive contamination of aquatic systems therefore became a major issue in the immediate aftermath of the accident. In the most affected areas of Ukraine, levels of radioactivity (particularly radioiodine: I-131, radiocaesium: Cs-137 and radiostrontium: Sr-90) in drinking water caused concern during the weeks and months after the accident. After this initial period however, radioactivity in rivers and reservoirs was generally below guideline limits for safe drinking water.
“Bio-accumulation of radioactivity in fish resulted in concentrations (both in western Europe and in the former Soviet Union) that in many cases were significantly above guideline maximum levels for consumption. Guideline maximum levels for radiocaesium in fish vary from country to country but are approximately 1,000 Bq/kg in the European Union. In the Kiev Reservoir in Ukraine, activity concentrations in fish were several thousand Bq/kg during the years after the accident. In small “closed” lakes in Belarus and the Bryansk region of Russia, activity concentrations in a number of fish species varied from 0.1 to 60 kBq/kg during the period 1990–92. The contamination of fish caused concern in the short term (months) for parts of the UK and Germany and in the long term (years-decades) in the Chernobyl affected areas of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia as well as in parts of Scandinavia.”
So basically, they are saying, you probably don’t want to eat the fish.
And if you don’t eat the fish, and the fish exist unharvested, they can grow quite large. Giant even. But mutants? Only if a mutant is something that is left alone to become what it was naturally supposed to become. And that is rare in the world today, except where man is afraid to go.