Saturday, July 13, 2013

Life's quirky moments and other interesting but somewhat puzzling stories

Sometimes, a writer comes across a story that immediately begs to be shared. Maybe not begged but definitely worth passing on. This piece falls into this category.

There are competitions and then there are competitions that carry an unusual premise. In case you weren't aware of it - don't really know how I missed it - the Wife Carrying World Championships were held recently in Finland. This makes one - me - wonder why someone would want to create a contest of this nature encompassing schlepping (schlep - verb -Yiddish for drag, haul) a spouse around. But I digress.

In the way of background information, this schlepping-fest is or was inspired by a 19th century Finnish legend focusing on wives being stolen from neighboring villages. Just thinking here whether  the stolen wives were at some point, re-stolen back. But I digress. Again.

The challenge consists of couples (no mention of marital status) race around a 253 metre obstacle course with the 'wife', who is carried upside down with her legs clasped around the runner's neck. Presumably, strong legs would be an absolute necessity and a pre-requisite for the wife element of the competition. Weak-legged wives wouldn't suffice. According to one contestant, water obstacles consisting of a big pond lined in plastic, made the going very tough. I can imagine. Wonder if drowning is an issue...

In the end and when the carrying was over, Finnish couple Taisto Miettinen and Kristiina, took home the gold medal for the fifth consecutive year.

All dressed (and stuffed) mice to go

In as far as mice are concerned, to some people they are unwanted rodents that should be and frequently are, eliminated by various means, which shall remain nameless. There are people, presumably mice aficienodos, who enjoy their presence be it in an inanimate state of being. Why does this vision make me shudder.

A taxidermist, obviously a mouse/mice aficionado, is running workshops focusing on the art of  anthropomorphic taxidermy - say that fast after a few drinks - offering interested persons the chance to learn how to stuff dead mice, dress them up in cute costumes and pose them in unusual situations. Why? Who knows but  the practice was a popular art form during the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

The four-hour course offered by trained taxidermist, Shannon Marie Harmon, costs approximately $100 and teaches students to apply a preservative inside mice that is purchased from pet shops, pose and dress them in a range of cute-sy outfits. Wondering if there's a dress maker/designer who specializes in mice fashions. Anybody know? Moving along...

Upon completion of their course, students get to leave with their very own stuffed and embalmed rodent, ready to be dressed in the student's outfit of choice that could include polka dot dresses (presumably for female mice but not necessarily) or Victorian outfits replete with shoes.

We're talking here about frozen feeder mice available only at pet stores and not your common, street variety. It stands to reason that a higher quality rodent is a necessity given the variety of diseases that street mice carry. Right? You know it's true!

In case anyone reading this is interesting in learning the art of mice stuffing, Ms Harmon operates two classes consisting of 15 people, twice per week.


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