Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Today in Extraordinarily Odd

Historian Hubert Erzmann, 75 in Germany has located the oldest recipe for Bratwurst sausage – dating it back 600 years. Following on from that opening line in the article is a comment from the German Bratwurst Museum about how sausage makers were fined if they didn’t use really fresh ingredients. That’s pretty much all that needs to be said about that, however, what I really find either reassuring or mildly alarming is that there is a German Bratwurst Museum outside the US. The US is full of hilarious little museums like that. It’s on account of all the quirky baby boomers who have lived their lives being compliant mundane product consumers and then they retire and realize they need to keep going so they open a museum to obsess over something that forms the central component to their lives. There’s the Creationist Museum which is always a treat, the Burt Reynolds Museum (started by Burt Reynolds) and then there’s this Date Palm Museum in Palm Springs that I went to as a kid with an educational film that dates (ha!) back to the 50s explaining quite convincingly about the greatness of date crystals. Gosh, are they fascinating. That was one hell of a vacation that year. [source]

Peggy McAlpine, a Scottish woman who just turned one hundred decided to potentially break a world record by paragliding off the top of a mountain range in Cyprus. It takes a while for the world records to be figured out and to be certified so it’s not completely confirmed yet but it will eventually be. World Records administration is a little like arts admin. It’s glorified data entry done by people who need you to know just who is in charge but who are too snobby to work for the post office. Meanwhile, good on Peggy. Here’s something interesting though: following on from the last story – it seems Peggy was an accountant all her life which is interesting. No wonder she wanted to jump off a cliff for some excitement. Also, her daughter was apparently in jail for money laundering – it’s nice that the media included that – just in case, as Peggy reads her own press, she had forgotten. [source]

Forty countries have sent delegates to attend the opening of the World Toilet Summit in New Delhi today. As much as the word toilet is always hilarious, there’s a serious angle to this. Apparently 40% of the world doesn’t have toilets. That’s just under half. Just under half the world craps in the street. I mean, that kind of living arrangement isn’t really shocking to me living in Williamsburg. I mean, when you get off the Graham Avenue subway stop there’s like 20 meters of sidewalk in front of the Chinese place and the bagel store that you have to hold your breath for. That’s just day to day for me and I’ve dealt with it. But for other people – man that must be tough. Of course, the other thing here is that the word toilet is funny. The World Toilet Summit. How very English comedy. “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the World Toilet Summit broadcasting live from the toilet.” Its pants down humour the whole way. And so on. [source]

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