spattered by the doctor’s love jet

Recently I watch The Invention of Dr Nakamats,  a very funny documentary about an 81 year old eccentric Japanese inventor. Brainsturbator wrote an article about him, excerpts from it are below….

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Yoshiro Nakamatsu is a national hero in Japan, where he’s affectionately known as “Dr. NakaMats.” He sleeps four hours a night. He maintains this demanding schedule courtesy of special food that he naturally invented himself:

“…these are snacks I’ve invented, which I eat during the day. I’ve marketed them as Yummy Nutri Brain Food. They are very helpful to the brain’s thinking process. They are a special mixture of dried shrimp, seaweed, cheese, yogurt, eel, eggs, beef, and chicken livers—all fortified with vitamins.”

Extreme Halloween Brain Food found here

There’s more than power snacking: Nakamatsu also takes regular power naps, and he’s invented a device to enhance that, too. It’s called the Cereberex chair, and according to Dr. NakaMats “it improves memory, math skills, and creativity, lowers blood pressure, improves eyesight, and cures other ailments.”

Cerebrex Chair found at Corbis Images

The following question is one he has probably been asked hundreds of times—“so, where do you get your ideas?”—and Nakamatsu has the last answer anyone but him would ever suspect:

“The base for everything is a strong spirit, followed by a strong body, hard studies, experience and finally leads to a “trigger” experience. You “trigger” a bullet which contains spirit, body, study and experience – and finally that releases the actual invention.

water balloons being pierced by a bullet found here

How do you “trigger” an invention?

A lack of oxygen is very important.

A lack? Isn’t that dangerous?

It’s very dangerous. I get that Flash just 0.5 sec before death. I remain under water until this trigger comes up and I write it down with a special waterproof plexiglas writing pad I invented.

Dr Nakamats writing underwater found here

Do you do that a lot? Put yourself in that kind of situation to come up with a new invention?

Of course. This is the Dr. Nakamatsu method.

Nakamatsu has more than a few inventions which will probably never get the attention and investment they deserve, not least of which is the Nostradamvs II Engine, which “can run with just water, so there is no pollution at all.” Coming never to a car dealership near you!

The Nakamatsu water engine is a curious little rabbit hole. It’s also been patented under the name Enerex, and a search for that yields paranoid gems like this one:

NO SCIENCE BACKGROUND IS NEEDED TO UNDERSTAND THE ABSOLULTELY OBVIOUS REALITY OF THE WATER POWERED ENGINE invented by the greatest inventor alive today (Dr. Nakamatsu) who is thoroughly documented! Doesn’t it seem at least a little SUSPICIOUS that a scientist as great as Dr. Nakamatsu is practically unknown in America?

water powered Aston Martin found here

There’s no disputing that when Nakamatsu makes claims about being a great inventor, the numbers back him up. Thomas Edison, the most prolific inventor in US history, died with 1,093 patents. Nakamatsu, as of 2003, had 3,128.

“Love Jet is a spray-type health enhancer spattered directly across the private parts and works to combat male impotency,” Nakamatsu tells Spa! during an interview for its feature on Japan’s boki business – the booming trade to keep men erect. ”Viagra is a chemically based pharmaceutical aimed to help people with an illness, but Love Jet was created through my ideas about sex using all natural materials with no side-effects. And, unlike most other anti-impotency treatments, it’s not a pill, but a spray, allowing it to work immediately. It improves sexual response by three times among men and women.”

Korean Viagra advertisement found here

“DHEA levels markedly drop at around 25 years old, but a spray of Love Jet increases levels by three times. It doesn’t just work on erections, but also slows down the aging process.”

Love Jet is a beautiful window into the weirdness of Dr. NakaMats. You see, a single bottle of Love Jet costs 30,000 Yen, which translates to a little under $250. However, manufacturing a single bottle of Love Jet costs over 80,000 Yen, which translates to a loss of over $400 per bottle.

“…Love Jet is not about money. Japan’s biggest problem is not this economic slump we’re in now, but the low birthrate. GDP growth relates closely to population. In 50 years time, we’ll be looking at a country half as strong as it is now. I want to save Japan from a crisis, so Love Jet is a labor of love.”

“Japan Crisis” artwork found here

oil me up Scotty*

Back in ancient Greece, it was customary for the very rich to coat their hair with butter. It kept down vermin and helped preserve order in an elaborate hair-do. In many societies, including ancient Egypt and modern Ethiopia, a lump of fatty incense or perfumed butter was placed on the head at dinner parties and allowed to melt and drizzle voluptuously down one’s face and body.

learn about melting hair here

In Rome there were professional anointers who offered massage for a fee in the gymnasia and public baths. Every athlete who took his sport seriously had two trainers: a gymnastic master for physical training and an anointer who advised him about diet, gave him medical check ups and prescribed oil rubs.

Gymnasia y Esgrima found here

Before wrestling naked, one first did a few warm up exercises to open the pores, then poured on oil and rubbed it in. Next one sprinkled oneself from head to foot with sand or dust, which stuck to the oil and provided a kind of protective second skin. This prevented the body from being too slippery for one’s opponent to grasp; in addition the oil and sand were thought to keep the body temperature constant and ward off colds.

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After exercise, one was rinsed and scraped with an iron tool called a strigil, with more oil to soften the instrument’s abrasiveness. After a bath in water and lye made from wood ash or lime, or a rubbing with Fuller’s Earth to remove any remaining sweat, sand and grease, one was ready for yet another generous application of oil.

The poet Martial, complaining about the young men of his day who refused to do any work, said they spent “most of their lives in oil” meaning that sport and luxurious massages were all they cared for.

Turkish Oil Wrestlers found here

*information found in Margaret Visser’s interesting book “Much Depends on Dinner – The Extraordinary History and Mythology, Allure and Obsessions, Perils and Taboos of an Ordinary Meal”.

no people like show people

I wish I’d been around when Pete Collins was presenting his “You’ll Never Believe It” shows. Luckily Don Stacey was and he wrote about it here

I saw it at the Croydon Empire theatre but cannot tell you what the bill comprised of since my father did not buy the show’s printed programme. Instead, he bought me a signed photograph of the show’s giant attraction, Lofty, a Dutchman born in 1897 whose real name was Albert Johan Kramer. He was nearly six feet tall by the time he was seven, and eventually grew to nine feet three and a half inches. He married the sister of the Swiss midget Seppetoni, who partnered Lofty in his stage appearances. 

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Lofty was quite a character. In his prime he weighed thirty-two stone and every item he wore had to be specially made for him. On tour in Britain, he liked nothing more than to stroll into the famous Thirty Shilling Tailors and order half a dozen suits and a couple of overcoats. A typical breakfast for him was six plates of Scotch porridge, followed by eight kippers, two pounds of grilled sausages and half a dozen tomatoes, topped off with a dozen bread rolls and eight cups of black coffee. During the deprivations of war in Nazi-occupied Holland, he shrunk to eleven stone. After the Liberation, it took one and a half years to regain his normal health. 

A visit to his town by Bostock and Wombwell’s Circus introduced Pete Collins to his first sideshow, with a Fat Lady, Tattooed Man, Indiarubber Man and other attractions of the time. Pete forged a career with what became billed as “The Strangest Show the World Has Ever Seen”. His telegraphic address was “Incredible, London”, and those two words summed up his link with some of the strangest acts the world has known.

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A chance meeting in a barber’s shop with a French robotic performer led him to form a show beginning with Lofty and Sepetoni, the 23 inch high midget, Madame Fifi the educated pig, Radiana, an electrical machine which performed conjuring tricks, Elroy the armless artist, and Rene Mazie, the Mechanical Man, Lemo the tame lioness trained by Prince Mercado, and other artistes like Professor Cheer, the Man with the Xylophone Skull

Radiana found here

Fifi the pig developed a hankering for greasepaint sticks and was eventually banished to a pen rather than her trainer’s dressing room. A theatre manager’s son was attacked by Lemo the lioness when the boy ventured into her dressing room, and endured 16 stitches in his scalp as a result of his injuries. 

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I have a programme in my collection for December 1948, when Collins presented Fredel (“Is he Man or is it a Wax Dummy?”); Elroy the armless artiste; Crotchet, the Mad Musician; Stuthard, “the Incredible Canadian”; the Man with the Xylophone Skull; the Bespalys with their Unbreakable Doll; Lofty and Pippi, “the famous midget from Olympia, London”; and Mushie, the forest-bred lion which ate a steak from Ellen’s forehead twice nightly

James Elroy filleting fish with his feet found here

In its 17th year of touring, Collins presented Katja, the tallest woman in the world (eight feet four and a half inches in her nylons, and weighing 33 stone) and The World’s Fattest Family (weighing in at half a ton); along with Radiana, the ‘machine that shaves a man with an ordinary razor’; Nemec and Violet’s frog contortion phantasy; Hans Vogelbein’s comedy brown bears; and a Fakir Show that included “The Living Fountain” (a man who could drink 30 glasses of water and spout plain and fancy fountains); “The Human Ostrich”, who swallowed a lighted neon tube containing 10,000 volts; and “The Painless Wonder”, who allowed flaming arrows to be shot at him and exploded a bomb on his chest.

Katja found here

Many were the fascinating acts shown or discovered by Pete Collins. There was Thea Alba, the “Woman with Ten Brains”, who could write ten different things at the same time, she was also able to converse in twenty-five different languages. Monteerrat Alberich could paint pictures, not with a paint brush, but with an ancient typewriter. He presented a genuine Flea Circus on stage, a Human Gasometer and a bed of nails fakir, Amir Rahvis, who had been a London income tax official before taking up his more “restful” occupation. And let’s not forget Rayo (Austrian Rudolf Schmid), a yoga who created a sensation by staying in a bottle for a year.

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shark or seagull for dinner dear?

A 25 year old Chinese steward on a British ship during World War 2 spent a remarkable 133 days adrift on a life raft

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Poon Lim shipped out as a second steward on the British merchant ship Ben Lomond. The ill fated vessel was torpedoed by a Nazi U-boat on November 23 1942. The ship was sinking rapidly, so Poon Lim leaped over the side. His first concern was simply to stay alive. After struggling for two hours he saw a life raft several hundred feet away. He swam to it and climbed aboard.

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The timber raft was 8 ft. square. Tied to it were some tins of British biscuits, a large water jug, some flares, and an electric torch. By allowing himself a few swallows of water and two biscuits in the morning and in the evening, he estimated that he should be able to stay alive for at least a month.

To keep his body in shape, he swam routinely twice a day when the sea was quiet. He used the ocean swimmer’s looping stroke as he circled the raft, always keeping his head above water, his eyes open for sharks.

Australian Whale Shark found here

He took apart the electric torch to get a wire, which he made into a fishhook then spent days shaping the metal, using the water jug as a hammer. The tough hemp rope that held down his almost exhausted supplies of food and water served as a fishing line.

He used a piece of biscuit for bait. After finally catching a fish, he cut it in half with the edge of the biscuit tin and ate the raw flesh, using the remains as bait to catch his next meal. 

More British Biscuit Tins to be found here

About the end of the second month on the raft, he spotted sea gulls. Hoping to catch one, he gathered seaweed from the bottom of the raft, matted it in bunches and moulded it into a form that resembled a bird’s nest. By this time he had caught several fish, which he baked in the sun to improve their taste. Some he ate and some he left next to the nest, so that they would rot and the stench would attract the gulls.

seagull chick found here

When he finally saw a gull flying towards him, he lay still so it would land. As the gull attacked the fish, Poon Lim grabbed it by its neck. A fight ensued, which he won, but only after he was the victim of deep cuts from the bird’s beak and claws.

Next he set out to catch a shark. He used the remnants of the next bird he caught as bait. The first shark to pick up the taste was only a few feet long. He gulped the bait and hit the line with full force, but in preparation Poon Lim had braided the line so it would have double thickness. He also had wrapped his hands in canvas to enable him to make the catch. But the shark attacked him after he brought it aboard the raft. He used the water jug half-filled with seawater as a weapon. After his victory, Pooh Lim cut open the shark and sucked its blood from its liver. Since it hadn’t rained, he was out of water and this quenched his thirst. 

Basking Shark found here

On the morning of the 133rd day, April 5 1943, he saw a small sail on the horizon. He had no flares left, so he waved his shirt and jumped up end down in an effort to attract the crew’s attention. The craft changed direction and headed for him.

The three men in the boat, who spoke Portuguese, took him aboard. They gave him water and dried beans before starting up their motor to head west to Belem, at the mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil. He had crossed the Atlantic.

Activists in Belem found here

Poon Lim was able to walk unaided. His total weight loss during the drift was 20 lb. He received numerous honours. King George VI presented him personally with the British Empire Medal, the highest civilian award.

Kylie’s got one too

frigid safe powder

Ever wondered what a funeral director’s convention would be like? Ashlea Halpern can tell you

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On the whole, the morticians here are pale and heavily mustached, with white hair and liver spots, big gold watches and chunky class rings, hangdog jowls and the occasional cane wobbling underfoot.

hangdog jowls found here

In the decomp department, there’s Eckels Arrest for Tissue Gas (“destroys maggots, lice and vermin and eliminates tissue ‘crunching‘”), Frigid Safe Powder (“the economical choice for external embalming over gangrene, cancer sores, mutilation and autopsy cases”) and Aron Alpha instant adhesive (“seals lips, eyelids and incisions and dries clear in 45 seconds”).

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“Do you like perfume?” asks one embalmer/salesman. I nod, and he spritzes me with a cadaver-friendly odor neutralizer. “You can use it on the skin, in the mouth, in the nose or for other… problem orifices.” It smells like orange-scented toilet bowl cleaner.

The goal of embalming is not permanent preservation, but to make the body “acceptable” and “identifiable” to interested parties. Like a designer supergluing the hem of a dress minutes before a runway show, embalmers pin bodies together just long enough to make it through a wake and funeral. A PowerPoint presentation shows us how to do this in cases of severe head-crushing trauma or soft tissue damage.

It starts with the before-and-after photos of a decomp. In the top photo, Mr. X’s mangled face resembles a bowl of black, oozy spaghetti, the ashen skin peeled away like leather on a baseball. His facial features are indistinguishable from one another. In the bottom photo, he’s waxy white and rather sticky looking, but at least you can tell his nose from his mouth. He’s not winning any beauty awards, but the kids’ll recognize him.

Black spaghetti found here

One prominent US citizen who was not embalmed was wealthy Alexander T Stewart (1803-1876). Some time after his burial at St Mark’s Church in the Bowery, Stewart’s body was stolen and the remains held for ransom.

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Inspector Dilks, acting Police Commissioner, exuded confidence in a speedy resolution of the mystery. He sent out a directive describing the body’s removal from the broken casket and then noted: “The decomposition of the remains is so offensive that this cannot be concealed.

Each day brought positive statements from either Inspector Dilks or Captain Byrnes, chief of detectives. On November 13, for instance, under a headline “PRIVATE DETECTIVES ON THE SCENT,” readers learned that all was going well and that some “forty-odd experienced detectives” were now on the case. On Friday, November 15, under the glowing banner, “A. T. STEWART’S BODY FOUND! THE GUILTY PERSONS ALL KNOWN,” the New York Times proudly announced: “Nearly complete evidence has been secured, and an officer of the law holds every man in his grasp, only awaiting the signal to drag him to prison.” 

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On the 16th Captain Byrnes announced the arrest of two of the “ghouls,” William Burke and Henry Vreeland, but though “swarms of detectives” were ready to pounce, the paper further noted that the “complete swoop” had not yet been made “because of the continued incompleteness of the proof against some of the guilty parties”

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But these were only “indications,” and from here on it was all downhill, although confident announcements of imminent success continued daily for another week and the reward was raised to $50,000. Clue after clue, lead after lead petered out. It soon became apparent that Burke and Vreeland had had nothing to do with the crime.

Another prime suspect, Kelly the Hackman, alias “Bull” Kelly, was also eliminated, though not until after two New York detectives on his trail had  spent the evening with him in a bar but failed to recognize him.

Eventually a ransom was paid, and remains were returned, although never verified as his. A local legend states that the mausoleum holding his remains is rigged with security devices which will cause the bells of the Cathedral to ring if ever again disturbed.

Cathedral of the Incarnation found here

the letterbox did it

In the late 1940s Benny Binion, mob boss in Dallas, moved his operation to Las Vegas. While in Dallas, he had begun a long-running feud with Herb Noble, a small-time gambler, which continued after the move to Las Vegas. Binion demanded that Noble increase his payoff to Binion from 25 to 40 percent, which Noble refused to do. Binion then posted a reward on Noble’s scalp that eventually reached $25,000 and control of a Dallas crap game.

Benny Binion found here

In six years he survived ten attempts on his life; he was certain that “it was only a matter of time,” and had long since made his own funeral arrangements. He was shot at so often he became known as The Clay Pigeon. He had so many bullet holes and scars that he was sometimes called The Sieve.

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In the spring of 1948, a bushwhacker shattered Noble’s right arm with a shotgun blast. On Valentine’s Day, 1949, dynamite was found wired to the starter of his car. That autumn, a rifleman shot him in the leg on the highway. Two months later, his wife Mildred got into his automobile, stepped on the starter and was killed by an explosion. A month after that, a sniper hit Noble with two bullets as he was leaving his house in Dallas. He was rushed to hospital in a critical condition. A few nights later a marksman pumped bullets into his fifth floor hospital room from a building across the street. Newspapers called Noble “the man with nine lives, The Cat.”

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By now, Noble’s hair was white, his face lined, his arms stiff from old wounds. He drove occasionally to Dallas in an armored Ford to buy groceries and beer, but always in daylight and always with a rifle lying across his lap as he drove. Most of the time he stayed forted up in the stone house at his ranch. He rigged floodlights to the eaves on every side and installed watchdogs (heavy-duty Dalmatians and tiny, yapping Chihuahuas). As an additional alarm system, he kept screaming peacocks and cackling guinea hens near the house. He seldom slept until dawn. He sat up, rifle at hand, night after night, drinking beer out of cans and fiddling with airplane parts.

image found here

The attempts on his life went on. Another shotgun blast was fired at him from the woods, but his car’s armor saved him. In March, the engine of his airplane blew up as he started it. He was saved by a steel plate. Five days later a mechanic found nitroglycerin packed in two cylinders of an engine being overhauled for another of Noble’s planes.

image found here

Last week Herbert Noble drove his automobile up to his mailbox. He failed to notice that the dirt of the driveway had been disturbed. Neither his lights nor his Dalmatians nor his Chihuahuas nor his guinea hens nor his peacocks warned him of what was about to happen. Just as he reached for the letters in the box, an explosive planted in his driveway blew Herbert Noble to bits.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,859260-1,00.html

 

more letterboxes here

how not to cure hiccups

Magazine publisher, Thomas Gibson Bowles, was widowed in 1887, and left to raise four young children.

Thomas Gibson Bowles found here

Health, he decided, was the most important thing. Bowles had studied some statistics that suggested that Jewish children were less susceptible to disease than others. From then on his children were fed according to strict Mosiac law. The dressing of girl children seemed to him an unnecessarily complicated matter, so he decided to have his daughters outfitted by the naval tailor who made his sons’ clothes. As a result Sydney and Dorothy Bowles wore only thick blue serge naval uniforms and sailor’s caps until the age of seventeen.

Shirley Temple in sailor suit found here

Cap’en Tommy, as the cartoonists called him, had strict views on the correct way to take a bath. He dismissed the conventional method as merely ‘sitting in dirty water’. Instead, he took steam baths at his London club. When the family went to Scotland on holiday, however, he had to improvise, using some dog kennels in front of the house as a temporary Turkish bath. Bowles would sit steaming inside the first kennel, which had been lined with hot bricks, before emerging into the run where the butler was waiting on the roof of the next kennel to shower him with bucketfuls of cold water. From his position on the roof, the butler could also announce the approach of any strangers whose sensibility might not be equal to the spectacle.

Turkish Steam Bath found here

Henry Ford also had some strange ideas about health

The well known motor manufacturer was obsessed with diet. He campaigned for synthetic milk, insisting that cows were on the verge of obsolescence because they were unhygienic. He maintained that eating sugar was tantamount to committing suicide since its sharp crystals would cut a person’s stomach to shreds.

World’s biggest cow found here

He then took to leaving old razor blades to rust in the water he used to wash his hair because he thought rusty water acted as a hair restorer. And he was such an advocate of soya beans that he once wore a suit and tie made from soya-based products.

Hair Restorer found here

But John “Mad Jack” Mytton probably takes the cake when it comes to strange ideas about health

For exercise he liked to go fox hunting which he would do in any kind of weather. His usual winter gear was a light jacket, thin shoes, linen trousers and silk stockings – but in the thrill of the chase he could strip down and continue on naked. He is also recorded as crouching naked in snow drifts and swimming winter rivers in full spate.

Naked in snow found here

He would get out of bed in the middle of the night, remove his nightshirt and set off completely naked but carrying his favourite gun across the frozen fields towards his lake. Here he would ambush the ducks, fire a few shots and return to bed apparently none the worse for his ordeal. He frequently got up again half an hour later – stripped off and went through the whole process again. His most extraordinary day’s shooting came when he got fed up waiting for the birds to come within range, stripped naked, sat on the ice and slowly shuffled forward on the slippery surface until he was within range. It took over an hour but he never caught a cold or seemed in the least unwell after this or indeed after any of his naked shooting exploits.

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He had a wardrobe consisting of 150 pairs of hunting breeches, 700 pairs of handmade hunting boots, 1000 hats and some 3,000 shirts. He also had numerous pets in his manor. Including some 2,000 dogs comprising fox hounds and other breeds such as gun dogs, pointers and retrievers, his favourites were fed on steak and champagne. Some dogs wore livery, others were costumed.

Dog masquerading as tiger found here

Mytton was also a drinking man and could drink eight bottles of port a day with a helping of brandy. Rather than sit down to a formal dinner every evening he would sustain himself throughout the day with ‘pounds of filberts’ when in season, a type of hazelnut, or dine with his tenant farmers eating full fat bacon and quaffing a quart of ale beside their fire before returning to Halston Hall.

Bacon Beer found here

He married a Baronet’s daughter, in 1818 but she died in 1820. His second wife Caroline Giffard ran away in 1830. His wives bore him children who he would affectionately toss into the air as babies and pelt with oranges.

orange baby monkey found here

During his stay in France he tried to cure his hiccups by setting his shirt on fire. “Damn this hiccup!!” said Mytton “I’ll frighten it away”; so seizing a lighted candle, applied it to the tail of his cotton nightshirt and was instantly enveloped in flames. A fellow guest and Mytton’s servant beat out the flames: “The hiccup is gone, by God!”, said he and reeled, naked, into bed’.

Published in: on March 24, 2011 at 7:15 am  Comments (63)  
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did primrose have dandruff?

About 21 years ago, Sydney was rocked by scandal when Qantas steward Lorenzo Montesini (a.k.a. Prince Giustiniani, Count of the Phanaar, Knight of St Sophia, Baron Alexandroff) jilted Miss Primrose (Pitty Pat) Dunlop on the eve of their society wedding in Venice.

Primrose found here

“The fiasco made world headlines. The front page of London’s Daily Mail carried the headline “Heiress jilted as bridegroom runs off with the best man“. And in Italy the Sunday paper Il Gazzettino also carried a front- page story headlined “VIP wedding goes up in smoke – bridegroom disappears with best man”.

Prince Lorenzo found here

Primrose later married a Polish count and Lorenzo, who lived on and off with best man Robert Straub for many years until his death from cancer, is now happily ensconced in a relationship with a fellow Egyptian.

What reminded me of our Pitty Pat and her ill fated wedding was a story I read about Catherine the Great of Russia. Gazing from her window one spring morning, she spotted the year’s first primrose, and to deter anyone from picking it, she posted a sentry to guard it day and night. Sentries continued to patrol the lawn long after the death of both Catherine and the flower, simply because no one rescinded the order. It was some 50 years before Count Bismarck realised that the manpower could be more gainfully employed elsewhere.

Catherine found here

Catherine was also notable for mistreating her hairdresser. When she discovered she had dandruff, she imprisoned the poor man in an iron cage for three years to stop the news spreading around the royal court. Here’s another hairdressing tale that didn’t end well….

A hairdresser from the small Russian town of Meshchovsk subdued a man who tried to rob her shop, then imprisoned and raped him over a period of three days. The incident occurred as the working day was coming to an end, when a man armed with a gun rushed in and demanded the takings.

read about this other Russian hairdresser here

The frightened employees and customers agreed to fulfill his demand, but the shop’s owner, 28-year-old Olga, knocked him down on the floor and then tied him up with a hairdryer cord. The 32-year-old Viktor couldn’t have known that the woman was a yellow belt in karate.

Olga locked the unlucky robber in the utility room and told her colleagues that she was going to call the police – but didn’t do so. When everybody left, she ordered him to ‘take of his underpants’ threatening to hand him over to the police if he refused to cooperate.

patent for these underpants found here

After that Olga raped her hostage for three long days. She chained Viktor to the radiator with pink furry handcuffs and fed him Viagra.  When she eventually let the man go on Monday, he went straight to hospital as his genitals were injured, and then to the police.

Viagra ad found here

What a bastard,” the woman said about Viktor. “Yes, we had sex a couple of times. But I bought him new jeans, gave him food and even gave him 1.000 roubles (around $ 30) when he left.”

Nancy’s ray guns

French physicist, Prosper-René Blondlot, was working at the University of Nancy, France, when he thought he’d discovered a new form of radiation.

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He had perceived changes in the brightness of an electric spark in a spark gap placed in an X-ray beam which he photographed and attributed to the novel form of radiation, naming it the N-ray for the University of Nancy.

Cathedral, Nancy, France found here

The “discovery” excited international interest and many physicists worked to replicate the effects.

Dr J Stetson Hooker described his experiments on rays given off by humans thus: I have conducted during odd moments some 300 experiments to test this question of the human-ray spectrum and the extraordinary unanimity of the results is astounding…. rays emanating from a very passionate man have a deep red hue… the ambitious man emits orange rays;

Triumphant orange found here

the deep thinker, deep blue;

read about blue Paul here

the lover of art and refined surroundings, yellow; the anxious, depressed person, grey;

The Grey Man of the Merrick found here

and he who leads a low debased life throws off muddy-brown rays.”

American physicist Robert Wood was one who failed to replicate the experiments. Wood was a mischievious fellow – he’d gone on a joyride on the Trans-Siberian Railway while it was still being built, had swooped about in a glider before its design was remotely safe to life and limb, and had written a loony spoof of nature manuals titled How to Tell the Birds from the Flowers.

image found here

He had a reputation as a popular “debunker” in the period, and was prevailed upon by the journal Nature to travel to Blondlot’s laboratory in France to investigate further. In the darkened room, Wood secretly removed an essential prism from the experimental apparatus, yet the experimenters still said that they observed N-rays. He also secretly replaced a large file that was supposed to be giving off N-rays with an inert piece of wood, yet the N-rays were still “observed”. By 1905 no one outside Nancy believed in N-rays even as Blondlot himself is reported to have still been convinced of their existence in 1926.

image found here

A park in downtown Nancy is named after Blondlot. He left his house and garden to the city which transformed it into a public park. This can be seen as appropriate since he made significant contributions to physics before the N-ray debacle. James Randi reported that citizens of Nancy and members of the faculty at the university did not remember ever having heard about N-rays or Blondlot.


tethered to 28 attendants

Charles William Beebe (1877-1962) was an adventurous man.

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“In 1925 he cruised to the Galapagos Islands. Before setting off, he bought a large copper helmet with two oblique windows at the front, and a rubber garden hose to carry air from a small car tyre hand pump to the helmet. Entranced by what he saw beneath the surface of the ocean, he discussed the notion of a deep-sea chamber with fellow naturalist Theodore Roosevelt.

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When he published plans in the New York Times, he was contacted by engineer Otis Barton who had designed and built with his own money, a large metal bathysphere at a cost of $12,000.  The bathysphere needed 28 attendants on the surface ship to tend to it and manage communications.

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A 14 inch wide hatch led to a metal cell that was only four and a half feet across. On a three hour dive, literally at the very end of their tether, Beebe and Barton reached 3,028 feet.

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J B S Haldane was another adventurous man interested in the problems encountered by early divers.

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Haldane was a keen experimenter, willing to expose himself to danger to obtain data. One experiment involving elevated levels of oxygen saturation triggered a fit which resulted in him suffering crushed vertebrae. In his decompression chamber experiments, he and his volunteers suffered perforated eardrums, but, as Haldane stated in What is Life, “the drum generally heals up; and if a hole remains in it, although one is somewhat deaf, one can blow tobacco smoke out of the ear in question, which is a social accomplishment.”

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Haldane’s fastest ‘dive’ was from one to seven atmospheres in 90 seconds. Rapid ascents were even more dangerous, doing so once caused one of his filled teeth to emit a high pitched scream and explode because of an air pocket that couldn’t vent fast enough.

40,000 year old tooth found here

Minor bends were commonplace. Haldane was partially paralysed in his left buttock, but considered himself fortunate that ‘it wasn’t in a more important sensory region‘. He was still diving at 71 years of age and probably would have gone on diving for longer had he not been diagnosed with a malignancy. He wrote a poem dedicated to his tumour called Cancer’s a Funny Thing:

“Tumour” skirt found here

“I wish I had the voice of Homer

To sing of rectal carcinoma,

This kills a lot more chaps, in fact,

Than were bumped off when Troy was sacked…”

“…I know that cancer often kills,

But so do cars and sleeping pills;

And it can hurt one till one sweats,

So can bad teeth and unpaid debts.

A spot of laughter, I am sure,

Often accelerates one’s cure;

So let us patients do our bit

To help the surgeons make us fit.”

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