Thursday, January 05, 2012

Life's interesting but sort-of weird stories

It's the beginning of a new year and the holiday frenzy has been replaced by new year's resolutions that may or may not be kept plus a period of restrospection and refelection, there are interesting (at least to me) things happening to be shared with readers of this blog. You know who you are!


Always amazed when reading about people who acquire grants for - how shall we phrase it - "interesting" projects. This certainly falls into this category.

An Austrian inventor has won a £400,000 government grant to set up a museum of failed inventions. Not useful or practical creations that could help woman/mankind mind you, but failed inventions.

The word "why" springs to mind but I digress.

The inventor, Fritz Gall, devised the concept of a museum of this nature to display the not-so-successful inventions by would-be/wanna-be entrepreneurs. Grant in hand, Gall and his parter, Friedl Umscheid, opened the Museum of Nonsense in Herrnbaumgarten, Austria. Appropriate name.

For its part, the museum prides itself on housing useless creations like the 'portable anonymyser' - a piece of black card on a stick so people who don't want to be in the public eye can black out their own eyes. Thinking further about the description of this...whatever, why would people and how would it help to disguise a person's identity?

Then we have lead-less pencils for civil servants, a fully transportable hat stand and - wait for it - a portable hole and  a bristleless toothbrush for people with no teeth.

Their first failed inventions fair drew more than 5,000 visitors and they are planning to expand to larger premises.

This statement by Gall says it all: "We have government funding and some private backing and we hope the people out there like nonsense just as much as we do,"

Obviously the taxpayers don't seem to mind.


These days, the word "bug" is frequently used when discussing computer problems and related issues. Many people consider the word in as far as it applies to the insect world, like entomologist Skye Blackurn. Her interest in creepy-crawlies has taken her to breeding edible bugs, which she also sells as novelty gifts.

To be candid, the vision/concept of eating bugs isn't appealing to say the least, but to each his own. As an aside (big on these), a while back when hosting a public access TV program focusing on animals, I sampled a bug lollipop. Actually, it wasn't bad especially if one wasn't aware it was composed of insects but therein lay/lies the problem: I was aware. In addition I could have if I so chose, dined on sauteed bugs in tomato sauce (I declined the invite) but I digress. Again.

Crickets and mealworms are placed in lollipops after which they are coated in chocolate. Another personal aside: I've also nibbled (key word here) on chocolate-covered grasshoppers. Crispy on the inside but I digress. Once more.

According to Ms Blackburn, the aim is to encompass the bugs in an edible form in which people would recognize. Actually thinking further about this and IMHO, it would probably be preferable NOT to recognize the insects. She has ground up roasted mealworms and used the end result a powdered flour, to make other dishes including banana bread and cookies. The insects, which are bred on an insect farm outside of Sydney, Australia, are killed ethically by freezing them after which they fall into a death sleep. They are kept in a very sterile environment and fed organic grains and vegetables, which are supposed to increased the flavor of the insects. Actually, a cold demise is preferable to death by shoe and other hand-held articles by insect dislikers.

The insect delights are proving to be very popular and plans are afoot to expand her menu to include water bugs, scorpions and possibly tarantulas. I'll pass on that, chocolate-covered or not.


As an artist, I'm aware that people's taste in art is subjective. While my taste run to landscapes, others may prefer abstract or cubism and other styles. Some people take art to the extreme.

A painting made by abstract expressionist artist, Clyford Still, received damages to the extent of $10,000. A 36-year old woman punched and scratched the painting, an oil-on-canvas called “1957-J no.2”, at the newly opened Clyfford Still museum in Denver, Colorado. To express her distaste for the painting, the female pulled down her pants to slide her buttocks against the surface. Talk about the ultimate expression of dislike! As if that wasn't enough, she allegedly urinated after rubbing up against the canvas. I mean, I've heard of body art but this is taking things too far.


A new species of crab will be named after Baywatch star, David Hasselhoff, given the hairy chest of the crustacean. The crab who now goes by 'The Hoff', was discovered living around volcanic vents of South Georgia. Oh well - at least he will be remembered for something.

How did your week go?

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