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The Ultimate Gross-Out

Could this be in our future? (GaleriDesain)

I’ve always taken great pride in having a strong stomach. Very little grosses me out and I always try new things regardless of how nasty they seem at the time.

Take blood sausage, for instance. On my one and only trip to Germany—many, many years ago—someone handed me a sandwich and, being the food daredevil, I immediately started eating it. Moments later, I was told that the meat inside was blood sausage, a revelation that made everyone around me cringe. Of course, it tasted good to me and since I was already eating it, I continued to do so. Hell, I even ate more blood sausage as my week-long vacation progressed.

Honestly, even the thought of disgusting food doesn’t shake me—at least it didn’t until recently, when I heard about some foods that even make me cringe with disgust.

The first isn’t so much a food as a preservative found in commercial breads. The amino acid L-cysteine is used to extend the shelf life of factory-made breads, which most of us likely consume on a weekly—if not daily—basis. However, did you know this amino acid is most commonly synthesized using human hair? Sure, cow horns, pig bristles and duck feathers can also be used, but human hair is at the top of the list. And oddly enough, most of the hair comes from the floors of hair salons and barber shops in China. No wonder Americans love Chinese food so much—sometimes we consume it without even knowing it!

Scrotal cheese: the perfect topping for your Triscuits (YouTube/Christina Agapakis)

Our second entry comes from Ireland where scientists at Trinity College are making cheese from… wait for it… human bacteria. Using samples from human toes, belly buttons, mouths and even armpits, these culinary cuckoos produce cheeses that supposedly smell like the body odors of their respective donors. No word yet on whether fumunda cheese will be next (i.e. cheese from under a man’s balls, for those unfamiliar with the term). I imagine it’s only a matter of time, though.

Entry number three comes to us from Japan, the home of some of the most unique—and nasty—foods in the world. Mitsuyuki Ikeda, a researcher from Okayama Laboratory in Tokyo, just found a way to extract protein from sewage (a.k.a. human feces), mix it with some other ingredients and produce artificial steak. To make matters worse, some people have even tested the “meat” and claim it tastes just like beef. Of course, I’ll never know since I limit my shit-eating to American fast food.

Taken separately, these three “foods” may not seem all that gross, but consider this: putting them together could make the most disgusting—and cannibalistic—cheeseburger in history.

Toe cheese shit-burger deluxe, anyone?

Animals in Danger

Be nice to our animal friends, would you? (Change.org)

When I read daily news stories, I always expect to learn about humans being cruel and downright evil to other humans. It’s sad that these stories don’t shock me anymore, but what can you do? Evil people are all around us and the media loves to showcase them at every turn.

Unfortunately, there are some people who decide not to limit their cruelty to other Homo sapiens, but instead “turn their sights” on animals. And while I may be rather desensitized to stories of human-on-human cruelty, reading about the mistreatment or killing of animals always leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

And believe me, today my mouth tastes very, very bad—and here are a few reasons why.

EDGEWOOD, NEW MEXICO: According to the old adage, dogs are man’s best friends. Too bad nobody bothered to mention this to Salvador Martinez, who was just released on bond for extreme cruelty to animals. Apparently, Martinez was hungry and decided to do something that for whatever reason isn’t illegal in New Mexico: he killed the family dog Onyx, skinned and cleaned the animal, and started to marinate dog parts in Italian dressing in his girlfriend’s freezer. I guess when he told her he planned to “barbeque one of [her] dogs,” she should have believed him, huh?

I would go back in that shell if I were you (The Creature Hub)

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA: If you ask me, one of the most harmless and patient animals on the planet are turtles—not the snapping variety, but your everyday, run-of-the-mill tortoises. Yet this didn’t stop two teenaged girls in Florida from targeting a gopher tortoise for extermination earlier this month. 18-year-old Jennifer Greene and a 15-year-old friend caught the turtle, set it on fire, slammed it to the ground and then stomped it to death. What’s worse is that they videotaped the attack and posted it on Facebook—and that’s all wildlife officials needed to charge them with felony cruelty to animals last Friday… freaks.

STONINGTON, CONNECTICUT: This has been a terrible month for turtles, not just in Florida but also in the great state of Connecticut. This time the tortoise killer was 31-year-old Steven Richard, who got into an argument with his girlfriend and decided to take it out on her pet. Using a BB gun, he walked into the front yard with the turtle, placed the muzzle to its head and assassinated it gangster-style while his girlfriend watched. Fortunately, he was arrested soon after and will also face animal cruelty charges. Poor turtle.

OLIVER

Oliver loves guns and sex with animals (Facebook)

SUFFOLK, ENGLAND: Our last story comes from “across the pond” and involves 28-year-old Oliver Lown, a veterinarian who pleaded guilty to criminal charges in 2012 and was recently banned from the profession by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Apparently, some videos from 2009 surfaced that showed Lown having sex with a dog in “a house setting” and a horse in “a stable setting.” Of course, the last word anyone would use to describe this weirdo is stable, but he did give me a great, money-making idea.

Is it me or does there seem to be a market for inflatable sex dolls made to look like animals? Prepare yourself, Kickstarter, because I’m heading your way!

Dem Bones

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones, dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones, now shake dem skeleton bones.

Is dinner ready yet? I’m feeling a little malnourished (Jim and Carole’s Mexico Adventure)

Earlier this month, police in Brooklyn, New York were called to a 15th Avenue apartment building in Borough Park to investigate a strange, foul odor—and we all know what that means.

“I’ve never smelled something like that before,” long-time tenant Amin Ashrafov told authorities after detecting the overpowering stench.

The odor led police to the apartment of 28-year-old Chava Stirn, a young woman who shared the apartment with her 61-year-old mother, Susie Rosenthal. According to neighbors, Stirn refused to let anyone enter her apartment—forcing relatives to leave food outside her door—and strange noises could often be heard coming from her abode.

“When I listened, she was screaming,” resident Malka Lerner explained to investigators. “[She yelled] ‘I kill myself, I kill myself!’”

Apparently, this was enough for the cops, who entered Stirn’s apartment and quickly discovered the source of the foul smell. It came from the skeletal remains of her mother, who died roughly three years earlier. During this time, Stirn had been sleeping next to her mother’s corpse, sitting next to it at mealtimes and even dressing it up. Once her mother decomposed, she would prop up her bones on a pile of trash bags in the kitchen, pull a chair close and sleep there for the night.

“It’s a scene right out of Psycho,” an anonymous officer said later. “This is one of the weirdest cases I have ever seen.”

When officers questioned Stirn, she threatened to harm herself and was immediately taken for a psychiatric evaluation. An autopsy was scheduled to determine her mother’s cause of death, but as of yet no one knows what happened.

One thing is for certain, though: this poor woman has some serious mental issues. And I, for one, hope she gets the treatment she needs after such a dark and gruesome experience.

Reality Round-Up: “Freakout” Edition

Freaky Friday has arrived! (Edge Online)

Wow!

When I started to browse the Internet this morning for more blogging material, I never expected to find so much freakiness—and not just on one news website, but nearly all of them!

Rather than boring you with an unnecessarily long introduction to these bizarre stories, let’s instead launch into the latest edition of the Reality Round-Up… guaranteed to freak you out!

LOCATION UNKNOWN: I have no idea where this happened, but a woman working in an office somewhere was recently caught on video doing something extremely disgusting. The footage shows her entering the office’s kitchenette, stealing milk for her coffee from a coworker, and then replacing it with her own supply of breast milk! Yuck!

Of course, this isn’t nearly as nasty as the tenth-grader being investigated by police in Bakersfield, California for allegedly passing out cupcakes made with pubic hair, pills, spoiled food and semen. Granted, the cupcakes were high in protein and were only given to students who had been picking on her, but her methods are still frowned upon.

The medium kind of spoils the message (Media Bistro)

WORCESTER COUNTY, MARYLAND: A senior from Stephen Decatur High School is in deep shit (pun intended) after he got busted for sending not one, but three packages of fecal matter to his vice principal. The poo-poo in question came from dogs and cows, but it was the student who paid the price. He’s now been charged with three counts of molesting a school administrator—which can be a little misleading—as well as three counts of disturbing activities at school. I bet he won’t pull this shit again!

TURKEY (the country, not the poultry): Tired of the U.S. dating scene? Then why not travel to Turkey for an appearance on “Luck of the Draw,” a popular dating show on Flash TV? Apparently, their dating pool is much deeper and they are far less selective about their contestants. Consider recent date candidate Sefer Calinak, a 62-year-old looking for love despite having killed two women and serving nearly five years in prison. Producers said they were aware of his first murder, but allowed him to compete since he served his time. The second murder came as a bit of a surprise, though, so Calinak’s on-air revelation was quickly followed by his dismissal from the show… which means they probably have an opening if anyone’s interested!

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH: Loving the Lord is one thing, but loving your homeless girlfriend on the lawn of a church—in full view of children and attendees at a wedding—is something else altogether. Unfortunately, this very thing happened to 56-year-old Wilson Benally and his attractive lady friend, 60-year-old Sandra Kruser. On Sunday, they were arrested for engaging in oral sex outside Sacred Heart Catholic Church. And when police approached Benally and ordered him to stop—he apparently had his “tongue and finger inside of Ms. Kruser’s vagina,” according to officer Rich Stone—he ignored them and kept on going! Eventually, the couple was pried apart and arrested, but I guarantee this is a day that newlywed couple will never forget!

When you're this good-looking, why wouldn't people want to watch your oral explorations? (Salt Lake City PD)

When you’re this good-looking, why wouldn’t people want to watch your oral explorations? (Salt Lake City PD)

BRAZIL: In another bizarre story, officials in Brazil recently reported on Francisco de Souza de Castro, a 66-year-old man accused of sexually abusing a 3-year-old girl. Apparently, he was found on the side of the road with three missing fingers and another severed appendage: his penis! It seems residents of the area were unwilling to wait for court justice and took the law—and Castro’s dick—into their own hands. Police are still searching for the knife-happy culprits, but something even more disturbing has come to light recently: the young victim was examined and it turns out that she wasn’t even raped! I don’t know who’s doing the fact-checking for these attackers, but it’s probably best to confirm criminal charges before lopping off someone’s manhood, don’t you think?

OSAKA, JAPAN: 41-year-old taxi driver Toshihiko Nishi was arrested Wednesday on “suspicion of a violent act” after authorities discovered dozens of videos of women peeing on themselves in his cab. As it turned out, Nishi was lacing crackers with diuretics—like Lasix—feeding them to his female passengers and then refusing them access to a toilet, instructing them to instead pee on his seat. “I got excited by watching women trying to withstand the urge to urinate,” he later told police. In the world of sexual fetishes, this is what’s known as wet work, which is still better than brown work. I’m sure you can figure out exactly what that entails!

Seduced by a child? Give me a break! (Greene County Jail)

Seduced by a child? Give me a break! (Greene County Jail)

REPUBLIC, MISSOURI: Our final story comes ironically enough from the Show-Me State and involves Cleo Morgan, a 67-year-old man recently arrested on charges of rape, sodomy and molestation of an 11-year-old girl. At first, Morgan maintained his innocence, but eventually admitted to the sex crimes with one caveat: he claimed that the young girl seduced him! I don’t know if she dangled Pokemon toys in front of him, forced him into heavy petting while listening to the latest Justin Bieber album, or used stuffed Disney characters in weird sex games, but this seems like kind of a stretch. Nice try, jackass!

Now can you understand why I opened this article with an expression of shock and disbelief?

Reality Round-Up: Weird, Wild Stuff

Well said, Mr. Carvey (Quick Meme)

Well said, Mr. Carvey (Quick Meme)

After being off work all week due to snow—and losing track of current events that didn’t involve weather forecasts or Amanda Knox—I returned to find a plethora of weird and wild news stories waiting for me. Some were sad, some were disturbing and some were downright ridiculous. But one thing’s for sure: they’re as entertaining as anything you’re likely to find on Netflix or cable television right now.

Don’t believe me? Then judge for yourself as I bring you a round-up of some of the freakiest stories I found. Enjoy!

Lady H: Last week, 26-year-old Shantia Dennis—a McDonald’s worker in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—was arrested for selling heroin in Happy Meal boxes. Apparently, customers could enter the drive-thru, say “I’d like to order a toy” and then pick up their “meal” at the window. When Dennis was busted, police found as many as ten stamp bags of heroin in one box, which begs the question: What kind of toy did they receive? My guess would be a syringe, but that’s pure conjecture on my part.

Looks like they forgot my toy again! (WPXI)

Looks like they forgot my toy again! (WPXI)

Lady H popped up in the news again Thursday night when police in the Bronx raided an apartment that served as a “high-volume heroin packaging location,” according to the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office. All in all, authorities recovered 33 pounds of the white stuff. And you know what some of the heroin was stamped with? NFL. Yes, it looks like this heroin was headed for The Big Game, which may have been a welcome break from all the prostitution and sex trafficking. I’m kidding!

Pooped: Police in Sun Lakes, Arizona recently arrested 65-year-old Rosemary Vogel for attempted first-degree murder and vulnerable adult abuse—and her target was none other than her husband, who was recovering from surgery in Chandler Regional Medical Center. It happened this past Thursday when the alarm on her husband’s IV went off and hospital staff came running. They discovered Vogel tampering with the IV and, upon closer inspection, noticed a brown substance in the line. After disconnecting the IV, the substance was tested and its “secret ingredient” was revealed: fecal matter.

The lovely (and deadly) Rosemary Vogel (Chandler Police Department)

The lovely (and deadly) Rosemary Vogel (Chandler Police Department)

That’s right. This crazy former nurse tried to kill her husband by injecting doo-doo into his bloodstream. And when she was arrested, police found three more syringes in her purse—one of which also had trace amounts of fecal matter in it.

Needless to say, Vogel will be heading to prison while her husband—or husband-for-now, I should say—is expected to make a full recovery… poop-free!

Call me Sexy (Ranea Crabtree)

Call me Sexy (Ranea Crabtree)

You Sexy Thing: Sheila Ranea Crabtree of Licking County, Ohio always hated her first name. So she decided to change it to something more appropriate: Sexy. “My husband sometimes calls me sexy,” she said in an attempt to explain her unusual choice. “I just decided on that because it’s fun. I’m not doing it for attention. I’m just doing it for me.” And since doing it is something men might expect from a woman named Sexy, she better watch her back!

Something Fishy: Joel Rakower of New York City is in big trouble. On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty in federal court and admitted that his company purchased piranhas from a Hong Kong tropical fish supplier and smuggled them illegally into the United States. From 2011 to 2012, he brought nearly 40,000 of the deadly fish into the country and raked in nearly $40,000. And even though Rakower will be sentenced in April—and his company has agreed to pay a hefty fine and to serve a two-year probation—I still shudder to think how some poor American may someday be attacked by piranha released into the wild. They live in fresh water, for goodness sakes!

Not the kind of fish you want to be swimming with, I assure you (USOD Jacobs School of Engineering)

Not the kind of fish you want to be swimming with, I assure you (USOD Jacobs School of Engineering)

Parts is Parts: Authorities in St. Clair County, Michigan received a disturbing call last Thursday afternoon from a woman who said she had “located something suspicious” near the Canadian border. Police arrived on the scene a short time later and, sadly, discovered the woman was right. In garbage bags found along two adjoining roads, they found dismembered human body parts, namely a head and a torso. The parts are believed to have come from the same white male and, according to another witness, a woman in a light-colored SUV was seen dumping what was initially thought to be garbage. An autopsy was scheduled for yesterday, but I’m not certain of its outcome. All I know is that there is one pissed off woman somewhere in Michigan… and she’s certainly no stranger to the gruesome and macabre. Be careful out there, Michiganites! Is that even a word?

Have you seen this woman? Body parts might be her thing so watch out (St. Clair County Sheriff's Office)

Have you seen this woman? Body parts might be her thing so watch out (St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office)

Until we meet again, dear readers, be good to each other and please return for the next edition of the Reality Round-Up!

Reality Round-Up: Strange Days

Guilty or not guilty? Hernandez claims the latter (NESN)

Guilty or not guilty? Hernandez claims the latter (NESN)

Strange days are upon us, ladies and gentlemen. And once again, the barometer of the news has illuminated craziness all over our great nation. Rather than bore you with lots of exposition, let’s launch right into this edition of the Reality Round-Up. Things are strange all over and, I’m sad to say, getting stranger by the minute. Read on and I have no doubt you will agree.

NORTH ATTLEBORO, MASSACHUSETTS

Have you ever told a lie so many times that eventually, you started to believe it yourself?

Apparently, this is what’s happening with former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who is currently being held without bail for the murder of Odin Lloyd this past June. Despite all kinds of damning evidence linking him to the crime—including tire treads at the murder scene that match his car, eyewitness accounts that place Hernandez and Lloyd together the night he was killed, and surveillance video showing Hernandez armed with a gun on the night of the killing—he still pleaded not guilty on Friday of first-degree murder.

Is it safe to assume this former professional athlete is in denial or what?

Propellers killed Pirozek (The Original Greenwich Diva)

Propellers killed Pirozek (The Original Greenwich Diva)

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK

Roman Pirozek of Queens was a remote control enthusiast. His proudest RC possession was a helicopter, which he flew and enjoyed as often as he could.

Unfortunately, things took a turn for the bizarre on Thursday afternoon when the remote-controlled helicopter Pirozek was flying swooped down and hit him in the head. According to several different sources, the helicopter’s blades took off the top of its operator’s head. The 19-year-old was pronounced dead on arrival by paramedics a short time later.

As freakishly tragic as this story is, at least Pirozek died doing something he loved. Granted, this is a small silver lining to an otherwise dark cloud, but it’s certainly better than nothing.

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA

This next story is strange only because it seems like something that could have easily been prevented, but instead resulted in more tragedy.

On Tuesday, the body of 19-year-old Benedict College student Ayaanah Gibson was found in her dorm room. Based on the latest reports, Gibson was 32 months pregnant and delivered a stillborn fetus sometime last weekend. Complications during the birth must have caused her to hemorrhage because she apparently bled to death, according to the Richland County Coroner’s Office.

I work at a small college and it’s very hard for me to understand how someone couldn’t have at least stumbled across Gibson as she lay bleeding in her room. Didn’t she have a roommate staying with her? Weren’t other students present who could have helped, maybe even a Resident Advisor?

Gibson met a tragic end (boahay.vn)

Gibson met a tragic end (boahay.vn)

Saying goodbye to your kids when they leave for college is hard enough. You have to trust that college officials, staff and other employees will care for the children you love so dearly, while also allowing them to grow and develop into knowledgeable and productive adults. But when that goodbye ends up being the last you ever share with your offspring, I can’t even imagine the sorrow and despair to follow.

Please pray for the Gibson family during this difficult time if you are so inclined. In one weekend, they lost both a child and a grandchild, and no one deserves to feel that kind of pain.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

Schools made the news again in L.A. when 13 school employees were arrested for stealing books and selling them to Corey Frederick, a book buyer from Long Beach. In turn, Frederick sold them online—for a huge profit, I’m sure—and even sold some back to the schools from whence they came!

Among those arrested for participating in the two-year scheme—which took at least 7,000 textbooks out of the hands of children in four of Los Angeles’ poorest districts—were a warehouse supervisor, several office workers and even a few librarians. Together, they stole books in subjects ranging from physics, anatomy and physiology to language arts, economics and literature. Bribes from Frederick netted them anywhere from $600 to $45,000 or more—and he allegedly spent more than $200,000 before his little caper came to an end.

Stealing textbooks for profit is just plain wrong (friendsofppl.org)

Stealing textbooks for profit is just plain wrong (friendsofppl.org)

The charges against these clearly deranged and greedy school employees include accepting bribes and embezzlement. Frederick himself is facing 13 and 12 counts of each, respectively. Granted, this may not seem strange enough to warrant inclusion in the Reality Round-Up, at least not until you consider what happened next.

Of the 13 suspects implicated in this case, 12 have pleaded not guilty. Yeah… as if.

This brings to mind something I saw in a movie once. There was a line of people standing there—they may have been students or military cadets, but it didn’t come from Taps. Great movie, by the way. Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn, Tom Cruise in one of his early film roles. It’s a keeper.

At any rate, the leader of the group asked for a volunteer to step forward. But before anyone could do so, all but one of the people in line stepped back instead, leaving one unsuspecting person “holding the bag.”

Twelve of the thirteen book thieves pleaded not guilty? That poor bastard in the 13th slot is looking pretty damned guilty right about now!

NATIONWIDE

Our last story can’t be connected to one particular city, state or area because it is literally happening everywhere. I suppose if you weren’t limited to only the physical world, though, you could say it exists collectively online—most notably on that well-known “Internet classifieds” website known as Craigslist.

And gentlemen, you better watch your backs.

Believe it or not, but some women have been selling their positive pregnancy tests online for no other purpose than deception, Check out how one of the pee-coated, EPT test sellers put it:

“Wanna get your boyfriend to finally pop the question? Play a trick on Mom, Dad or one of your friends? I really don’t care what you use it for.”

Yes, for the low, low price of only $20 or $30, you can fool your man into leaving his independence behind and settling into a life built on a lie… a lie he’ll undoubtedly discover when you don’t gain weight or give birth to anything a short time later.

Someone might be running a two-for-one special! (Chronicles of Conception)

Someone might be running a two-for-one special! (Chronicles of Conception)

Might I suggest spending your money on something a bit more reasonable instead… like some sexy lingerie that might entice him to impregnate you for real, perhaps? Granted, this won’t work with “Mom and Dad,” but I’m sure you’ll think of something.

Strange days are surely upon us, dear readers. Of course, those that aren’t strange seem far less common, so maybe the next Reality Round-Up will focus on just that: news stories that simply aren’t that out of the ordinary.

Sounds boring to me, but you never know…

Freaky Christmas Traditions

Christmas in the United States is pretty predictable, for the most part. There are lights, wreaths and other typical decorations. Retailers start piping in holiday music in November, hoping a store filled with music will soon result in a store full of holiday shoppers. And eventually it does as people search high and low for the perfect gifts, all the while spending obscene amounts of money on a holiday that grows more commercial with every passing year.

Thank goodness the true spirit of Christmas is always there or things would be completely unbearable, at least around here.

Fortunately, the Christmas spirit transcends America and people all over the world find interesting, unique and even freaky ways to celebrate it—freaky by American standards, that is. Traditions abound and this Christmas, I want to recognize some of our more creative brothers and sisters in the world. Here is what Christmas means to some of them.

Krampus Night in Austria by annia316

Beware the Krampus (courtesy of annia316)

Austria

In early December, our Austrian friends make sure all the children who misbehaved during the year learn the error of their ways on Krampus Night. Men dress up as the scariest demons imaginable and run through the towns smacking people with switches and sticks. And judging from some of the masks they wear, I’m sure these guys make quite an impression, and not only on the children.

Caganers in Spain by Caganercom-Wikipedia

The Caganer (courtesy of Caganercom/Wikipedia)

Spain, Portugal and Italy

Nativity scenes of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus in the manger are traditional Christmas decorations in every Christian nation. But in the holiday traditions of Italy, Spain and Portugal, another figurine is placed among the Wise Men: a Caganer, better known as a “Shitter” in English. That’s right. Somewhere in that Nativity scene is a statue of a well-known person crouching down and crapping. And part of the fun is trying to find him, kind of like a pooped-out version of “Where’s Waldo.” The Caganer is supposed to symbolize hope, prosperity and fertilization, but to me it just screams freaky!

Greenland

Kiviak in Greenland by Inga Sorensen

Delicious Kiviak (courtesy of Inga Sorensen)

If you’re like me, then you can probably stomach almost any holiday delicacy, with the exception of maybe fruitcake. I haven’t found anyone who actually likes eating that. Of course, I would welcome a dense chunk of the green maraschino cherry laced dessert if it meant missing out on Kiviak, a Christmas dish in Greenland.

Kiviak is made from roughly 200 local birds with their feathers, beaks and all. Basically, the birds are stuffed and sewn into a seal skin, covered with grease, buried under a rock and left to sit for months. During the holidays, the skin is opened to reveal fermented birds that apparently smell like cheese and taste pretty good. I’ll never know because I would never eat the disgusting creatures. Yuck!

KFC Xmas in Japan by Ozchin-Flickr

Enjoy a bucket (courtesy of Ozchin/Flickr)

Japan

If you think Americans are too reliant on fast food, consider the role of Kentucky Fried Chicken in the Christmas celebrations of Japan. Given the lack of turkeys and other “traditional” Christmas fare, KFC used marketing magic to position itself as the main dish of the holiday. Instead of cutting into a juicy ham, many Japanese order a bucket of KFC chicken, sometimes even weeks in advance given its popularity. Kudos to KFC for making fast food so festive!

Caga Tio in Catalonia by Toniher

The beloved poop log (courtesy of Toniher)

Catalonia (Spain)

The Spanish are so strange and interesting that I simply could not resist including another of their freaky Christmas traditions. Caga Tio is a pooping log that is propped up on legs and covered with a blanket to keep him warm. Every night beginning on December 8, the log is “fed” and then put to sleep. Then on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, Caga Tio is put into the fireplace. The children sing songs, beat the log with sticks and order it to poop. When it does, out pours candy and nuts for all the kids to enjoy, followed at the end by a head of garlic, onion or even a salt herring. Bizarre…

The Netherlands

Black Peter in the Netherlands

Black Peter

The Dutch have taken some heat for their traditional holiday character Zwarte Piet, better known as Black Peter, who presents the dark side of Christmas in more ways than one. As Santa’s slave, Black Peter is responsible for abducting children who were naughty or misbehaved and taking them to Spain, where he and Santa kick back during the off-season. The controversy of Black Peter revolves around his appearance, which involves full black face and a rather large afro—in other words, he looks like a black slave and lots of people find him to be a racist symbol. It doesn’t seem like that big a deal to me, though.

Brooms for sale in a Tbilisi market.

Hide the brooms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Norway

Christmas Eve in Norway means hiding your brooms so witches and evil spirits cannot use them to travel the skies and spread mischief. Seems a little dark, but to each his or her own.

Venezuela

In the deep south—South America—Venezuelans celebrate from December 16-24 by closing off the streets every morning and attending morning mass on roller skates! I think roller blades are acceptable, too.

Spider web

Celebrate the arachnids (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ukraine

There’s a folk tale in the Ukraine about a family too poor to decorate their tree that awaken on Christmas morning to find it adorned with colorful spider webs. In honor of their eight-legged friends, they now place spiders and webs on their trees. I’m not a big fan of spiders, mind you, but this does seem like a nice gesture in a season known for giving and generosity.

In the five or six months since I started this blog, I have been fortunate enough to interact with readers from all over the world. At last count, my work has been viewed by people in more than 200 different countries… some of which I have never even heard of! I’m not bragging, mind you, but I am constantly amazed by how connected we all are. The lines between “local” and “global” certainly have faded.

So this Christmas, I want to extend my warmest holiday wishes to all of you regardless of your location, religion, race, socioeconomic status, sexual preference or freaky Christmas traditions. In the spirit of my idol Bob Marley, remember that we are “one people” and that all that really matters in this world is the “one love” we share with each other. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and wish you nothing but good tidings in the coming year.

Ho, ho, ho!

Bizarre birthday cakes

There are some great blogs and websites out there that feature strange and unusual cakes for all sorts of occasions, including Weird Cakes and Funny Cakes. But since I also found some freaky confections during a recent web search, I thought I might post some of my favorites here.

Please note that a number of these are either MATURE or DEMENTED, so I wouldn’t necessarily let your kids look them over!

I don’t know about you, but there are only a handful of these cakes I would even attempt to eat!

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