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6 Crazy Veterinary Procedures

Veterinary medicine is a truly interesting field. On one hand, many procedures and medications are created for and tested on animals before they are used on humans. Alternatively, because there are so many species of animals out there, sometimes a basic medical procedure can present a whole new series of problems when applied to a certain animal. When veterinarians work with zoo residents or wild animals, they are confronted with even more challenges, often times needing to drug the animal before they can even investigate the cause of its discomfort. Looking at the amazing care veterinarians provide does not only show what ingenious and fantastic people these animal doctors are, but also how amazing and unique each of their patients are.

Elephant Acupuncture

Regardless on your opinion of Eastern medicine, it’s undeniable that the countries that practice these methods are true believers in their effectiveness. That in mind, it’s only fair that they would use these same cures and treatments on their animals. Of course, then the question arises, “how do you provide a 5,300 pound elephant with acupuncture?” Tun was a 15 year-old Asian elephant with a long-lasting leg injury caused by a male elephant crushing her when she was only 4. The zoo veterinarians worried she would have a hard time supporting her body as she continued to age and gain weight. They decided to bring the zoo’s resident acupuncturist, Oh Soon Hock, in to give her some therapy. Oh Soon Hock had performed this therapy on cheetahs, orangutans and giraffes, but never on the world’s largest land mammal, the elephant. Tun’s biweekly electric acupuncture sessions were expected to last for almost six months. To get her to lay down and cooperate, her keepers cooed at her, gently tugged on her ears and rewarded her with bits of fruit. While handling the sessions well for the most part, she would occasionally become restless from lying on one side. Acupuncture is generally a painless procedure, but that didn’t leave Oh out of danger from the unanesthetized animal. Once, the electric charge in the needles led her whole body to jerk violently. After only a month and a half, she already began showing a noticed change. "After the first treatment, she was more mobile. Now her leg can be bent better and her muscles are more relaxed," said Oh. Source

Sturgeon Sterilization

It may seem a little strange to sterilize an animal to help save a species from extinction. It also may seem a little strange to sterilize a fish at all. But that’s just what researchers from the University of Georgia did in order to help protect the wild short-nosed sturgeon population. As to why you would “fix” an animal that’s going extinct, the fact is they sterilized a captive-bred sturgeon for release into the wild population. The number of farmed sturgeons is just fine, it’s the wild ones the doctors were concerned about. This special fish was going to be placed in the wild so the scientists could gather more information about the sturgeons, like their habitat viability, mortality rates, and distribution. At the same time, the scientists wanted to protect the gene pool of her wild counterparts. Naturally, sterilizing a fish is not quite the same as spaying your dog. To anesthetize the fish, drugs were added directly into its water. The veterinarian, Dr Stephen Hernandez-Divers, inserted two endoscopes with cameras into the fish so he could get a clearer picture of what he was doing. He then had to cut out the ovaries and cauterize the wound, which he was able to do simultaneously using one specialized instrument. He also tied the fish’s fallopian tubes. Throughout the surgery, there were only two pinhole incisions cut into the fish and these both were stitched up as soon as the procedure was over. The fish recovered from the surgery well and was soon released into the wild to help learn more about our wild sturgeon population. Source

Owl Eye Surgery

A lot of animals rely much more on their sense of smell or sound than they rely on their eye sight. Owls are the opposite. They are even more reliant on sight than us humans are and will eventually starve to death if they cannot use their extraordinary sight for hunting. So when a great horned owl showed up at the Colorado State University with a damaged cornea, the school’s ophthalmology department knew than something had to be done soon. Dr. Julie Gionfriddo was placed in charge of the surgery and she opted to attach a piece of the bird’s muscle to the damaged cornea. The muscle worked as a bandage and allowed the eye to heal on its own. After several weeks, the bird’s eye was mostly healed, and a second procedure was done to cut the muscle away so the owl could see again. This operation was performed with the help of a specialized microscope. The cornea was stitched up to let it complete the healing process. Because the eye needs proteins from inside the eyelid, the eyelid was stitched closed as well. Within the following week, the eyelid was unstitched and the bird finally had its sight back completely. Eventually, the beautiful bird of prey was released back into its natural habitat, none the worse for the entire experience. Source | Photo: apurdam (Andrew) [Flickr]

Neuticles

These may not be a common procedure, but dogs across the country have had their testicles not only removed, but replaced. Creators of Neuticles claim that dogs who are neutered lose self-esteem, are traumatized from the experience and don’t look as good as other dogs. So to help loving dog owners fix their pets without having to traumatize them, the company has released prosthetic dog testicles designed to trick man and beast alike into believing the pup has not been tampered with. Reading a variety of pet forums and testimonials, it seems that Neuticles are of greater benefit to dog owners than the dogs. The products seem to sell very well in places like Texas, that are known for having very masculine populations. There are a lot of people feel like they are emasculating themselves by having their dogs fixed, and these people are ideal clients for the Missouri-based company that produces Neuticles. According to their website, over 100,000 animals have been “neuticled” already. As silly as these products may sound, it seems even stranger that some people are genuinely offended by the concept of artificial dog balls. Who are these people –dog show operators. All dog shows expect the animals being presented to be of breeding stock, as such, all of the dogs must be “intact.” The AKC keeps its eyes out for sneaky pet owners who want to neuter their dogs and still allow them to be show animals. If owners are caught having dogs with Neuticles, they will be permanently barred from future events. Source

Elephant detox

How do you treat a 9,000 pound animal addicted to heroin? That’s what veterinarians in China had to find out when they encountered an Asian elephant with a major drug problem. The smugglers that illegally attempted to capture Big Brother fed him bananas laced with heroin in an attempt to keep him under control. Unfortunately, when they were arrested, Big Brother started to go through withdrawal symptoms. So the veterinarians at the Beijing animal protection center Big Brother was sent to had to learn how to make a drug detox program suitable for a mammal of this size. For the first year of the treatment, the elephant had to receive methadone injections five times the dosage given to humans. Gradually, the dosage was lowered until Big Brother was clean and sober. The program took over 3 years for Big Brother to complete, but now he seems happy and healthy. Source

Turtle gets prosthetic fin

Sea turtles rely heavily on their big front flippers –not only for swimming, but for climbing onto sandy beaches. Without being able to get on dry land, turtles are unable to lay eggs and continue their species. So when a sea turtle missing her front fin was rescued in southwestern Japan, the Sea Turtle Association of Japan arranged immediately began brainstorming. It wasn’t long before everyone involved agreed to give the little girl a new lease on life with the help of a prosthetic fin. "We need to pay special attention as the forelimbs will have to be strong enough to (allow her) to climb up a beach," said Erika Akai, a researcher at the non-profit Sea Turtle Association of Japan. The turtle is believed to have lost its fin after a shark attack, making her a very brave girl. This bravado should help when it comes time for her to re-learn to swim once again with the help of her artificial limb. The team hopes her strength will come back enough for her to be able to lay eggs in the future. The project will begin in May, once there has been time for the rescue group to raise funds and develop a working prototype for the animal’s fin. It will be exciting to find out how the turtle fares. "We are fully aware that it will be a difficult challenge," said a spokeswoman for the prosthetic limb company, Kawamura Gishi Co. "But we were moved by the passion of the association and decided to take part in the project." Source If you like these sorts of stories, I highly recommend The Rhino With Glue-On Shoes, a book about vets and their most memorable patients.


Music Tidbits: Iggy Pop

Hey Neatoramanauts, I'm testing out a new section here, kinda like Stacy's Movie Trivia -only for music. For the first one, I decided to do one of my all time favorite musicians, Iggy Pop, but I'd love some suggestions for future pieces. (Photo: Robert Scales [Flickr]) If you want to know about Hank Williams, The Beatles, Oingo Boingo, The Killers or even, Billy Ray Cyrus, I'd be happy to look into it to help answer your burning music-trivia questions. So whoever you want to know more about, let me know.


  • You may have heard Iggy Pop called "the Godfather of Punk," but I was surprised to find out he is also called "the Rock Iguana." In case you were curious what his actual name is, it's James. James Newell Österberg, Jr.. He came up with his stage name in high school, after playing drums in a band named "The Iguanas."

  • The Stooges were originally called "The Psychadelic Stooges," but they changed it when they were signed to Elektra Records. Supposedly, Moe Howard of The Three Stooges was asked if the change was ok with him, but Moe replied, "I don't care what they call themselves, as long as they're not the Three Stooges!"

  • Many of Iggy's stage antics were inspired by watching Jim Morrison play in The Doors. He wanted to push things even further than Morrison though, and as a result, The Stooges shows were known for having an outrageous show. It was typical for Pop to slice himself open with glass, vomit, roll around on stage in glass and vomit. He was also known for and showing his "special parts" to the audience.

  • The last Stooge's show with their original line-up ended in a fight between the group and a bunch of bikers. The show was actually being recorded and the fight can be heard on the album, "Metallic K.O.."

  • Many people credit Iggy Pop with being the first person to stage dive. Even if he wasn't the first, everyone agrees he was one of the first.

  • Iggy Pop and David Bowie had one of the more legendary friendships of rock history and many people believed they actually had a sexual relationship together. Their friendship resulted in some great music, including the Iggy Pop albums "The Idiot" and "Lust for Life," which included the songs China Girl, Tonight and Sister Midnight. Later in his career, Bowie covered those three songs and his success helped Pop rake in a ton of royalties.

  • Iggy's had a ton of fans in Australia ever since he went on the pop music show Countdown. During his performance, he repeatedly swung the mic at the audience and made no attempt to hide the fact that he was lip-syncing. He also gave an interview where he repeatedly jumped up and down on the chair and screamed "g'day mate" in a terrible Aussie accent. If you want to watch it, the clip's below and here's a link.









  • Despite having been a raging drug addict and alcoholic, Iggy is quite intelligent. He has the distinction of being the only popular musician to be published in a journal of classical scholarship.

  • Iggy has worked on soundtracks for multiple films, including Repo Man, Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare and Arizona Dream.

  • In the last few decades, Iggy Pop has been increasingly used as an actor. He performed as prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi in the opera The Manson Family, played a redneck relative of Johnny Depp's character in Cry Baby, had a recurring role in the Nickelodeon show The Adventures of Pete and Pete, provided the voice for Lil' Rummy on Comedy Central's Lil' Bush, has done voices for Fox's American Dad and has been in 4 other shows and 15 movies.

  • Iggy has inspired more than just musicians. Ewan McGregor's character in Velvet Goldmine was loosely based on him and James O'Barr, creator of The Crow, used Pop's anatomy as an example for his main character. In turn, when the comic was adapted to film, Brandon Lee said he used Iggy as inspiration for his portrayal of Eric Draven.

  • A movie based on Iggy's early life and career with The Stooges is currently in works. It will be entitled The Passenger. Elijah Wood will be playing Iggy, a role he was intimidated to take because he is a huge fan of the rocker.

  • When Madonna was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year, she refused to play in protest of the fact that The Stooges have not been inducted yet. Instead, she asked the remaining living members of The Stooges to perform her songs for her. They played Burning Up and Ray of Light. As Iggy left the stage, he quoted Like a Virgin to her, saying "You make me feel shiny and new, like a virgin, touched for the very first time."


They Paid You For That? 7 Pointless and Crazy Science Experiments

Have you every read about some new science experiment or research study that just seems... well, stupid? If you've ever gotten to the point where you've wondered what other bogus things they'll pay people to learn about, you're in luck. Here's 7 of the most ridiculous studies ever:

Sex, Drugs and Science

If this first group of studies show us anything, it's that scientists are as drugged up and crazy as the junkies up the street from me.

Elephants on Acid:

If you were going to see the effects of LSD on an elephant, wouldn't you start with smaller doses and progressively increase the dosage until there was a noticeable change in their behavior? I sure would. But the researchers on this one aren't like you and me. Instead the researchers working on this one started off by injecting the poor beast with 3000 times the dosage needed for an average human, despite the fact that elephants weigh around 50 times what the average human weighs. Within two hours, the animal died. The scientists defended their actions by saying they had used LSD plenty of times and were sure it was safe. They then concluded, "elephants are highly sensitive to LSD." Apparently another scientist found their results to be suspicious, so he gave elephants LSD in their water. In his study, the elephants acted a little funny, but were totally fine.

Source

Turkey Arousal:

We've all heard stories detailing how stupid turkeys are -like the one that says they'll drown if you leave them in the rain. Well, some of those turkey stories may be bogus, but two Penn State researchers discovered that turkeys are so stupid they can be trained to be aroused by little more than sticks. Their experiment consisted of creating a model female turkey that could be progressively deconstructed. The scientists would then gauge the turkey's interest in the "female" and then remove some parts of her body and try again. They were expecting the birds would lose interest after is was stripped down enough. Surprisingly, the turkeys were aroused even when the model became little more than a stick with a head. I guess this not only shows how stupid turkeys are, but how perverse they are too.

Source | Photo Via Vicki's Nature [Flickr]

Semen As an Anti-depressant?

I always thought scientists were supposed to be unbiased. I mean, if you're hoping for certain results, might that affect your research? Obviously these researchers bypassed that concept, by attempting to prove that semen works as an antidepressant. They decided to study this theory by interviewing college women who were sexually active. Their conclusions proved that women who had sex without condoms were less depressed than women who used them. Of course, their research was extremely preliminary and they didn't even bother to take into account additional factors, like the fact that women not using condoms are more likely to be in serious relationships. It doesn't take a scientist to figure out that this might play into someone's relative level of happiness. But like I said, this study was about as unbiased as all those tobacco company ones that couldn't connect smoking with cancer.

Source | Photo Via Zen [Flickr]

Paging Dr. Obvious

The rest of these studies are amazing -in that someone actually bothered to research things so obvious:

Head Banging is Bad For You:

Who would have ever thought that aggressively and repeatedly throwing your head up and down would be bad for you? Gee, I never would have imagined that spinal damage and brain trauma could have resulted from head banging. Obviously, I'm being sarcastic. After years of dating a metal head, I can assure you that head banging can certainly make you retarded...or at least, it doesn't help your intelligence at all. The only good thing researchers found was that head banging is unlikely to leave you unconscious. What is really funny is the researcher's suggestions for the metal genre. They suggest metal bands play more mellow tunes and less "beat oriented" music. They also urged label to place anti-head banging warnings on their cds. Oh, and listeners were advised to start listening to "adult-oriented rock" instead of heavy metal. Yeah, that's gonna happen real soon.

Source | Photo Via Cayusa [Flickr]

Male science nerds likely to be virgins:

Hmmm, who is most likely to be a virgin, a party-girl, a jock, or a nerd? Think about it. No surprise here; male science nerds between 16 and 25 are the most likely to not have had sex. At least the study provided some legitimate reasons for this statistic, rather than the typical "nerds are pimply and boring" theories of popular media. The study reasoned that these nerds were the population segment least likely to be in situations where they would meet potential lovers. Apparently, doing homework and going to the library doesn't help you meet chicks. Hey, at least they're being productive. Interestingly, female art students were the most sexually active.

Source | Photo Via Miss604 [Flickr]

Bullies Like Seeing Pain:

If bullies were compassionate they would sit around crying whenever they picked on people. The fact that they don't do so might just indicate that they are mean. Why did anyone need to set up a study to confirm that bullies enjoy seeing other people in pain? An interesting thing about this study is that it was the first time anyone used fMRI to evaluate how respondents reacted to different emotions. Instead of being empathetic like the brain of a normal person, bullies mind's activate their reward centers when they see videos of other people being picked on.

Source | Photo Via ZZClef [Flickr]

Television Viewers Are Unhappy:

It's common knowledge that television and other forms of entertainment are a way for people to escape their problems. If you run home to watch tv instead rather than hanging out with friends, you might be unhappy. Did we really need a scientist to tell us that people who socialize are generally more happy than people who sit at home watching tv all day? What's more crazy is that they needed over 30 years of data to back up their claims. The only unique thing the study discovered was that many viewers are actually addicted. (Marx was right about television, is this evidence that the scientists are commies?):

"Addictive activities produce momentary pleasure and long-term misery and regret," said Steven Martin, co-author of the study. "People most vulnerable to addiction tend to be socially or personally disadvantaged. For this kind of person, TV can become a kind of opiate in a way. It's habitual, and tuning in can be an easy way of tuning out."

Funny, I've was using the audio/visual equivalent of heroin the whole time I was researching this. I swear I could quit any time. Source Now that I've written this, I think I've got a couple of ideas I could get funded. For example, are people happier when they're warm at home or cold in the middle of nowhere? Or maybe I could find out if donkeys really die when they take a bunch of cocaine and other drugs at a bachelor party. Do you guys have any ideas for awesome studies?


Fat Cats Need Love Too



How you know your kitty needs to go on a diet.

http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1902110Via GiggleSugar

Update 2/28/09: Let's not forget our article on this very subject: Top 15 Amazingly Fat Cats


7 Banned Classics

Many people are aware that Harry Potter, The Anarchist Cookbook and Stephen King books have been banned from schools around the country, but as many civilizations have figured out, censorship is a slippery slope. It is pretty strange to consider Shakespeare has not only been banned from public schools over sexual themes, but that censored editions have been out since the 1700s.


Photo Via florian.b [Flickr]

Of the Radcliffe Publishing list of the top 100 books of the past century, almost half have been challenged by schools, many are banned in whole countries. Here’s a few banned titles that just may surprise you:

*Note: Plot summaries may include spoilers. I know all you Neatorama readers are pretty intelligent, so I wouldn’t doubt if many of you have read these books. I’ve included the summaries to give an idea as to why the books may have been banned.

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway


Plot: A soldier, Henry, on the Italian front meets and seduces a young woman, Catherine. Their relationship continues as he heals a knee that was injured in battle. By the time his knee is fully healed, Catherine is three months pregnant. Unfortunately, Henry has to return to the war and the Germans break through the Italian lines. The Italians charge the soldiers for treachery for letting the Germans defeat them. Henry escapes during another officer’s execution and runs away to Switzerland with Catherine. They live happily until Catherine gives birth to a stillborn and then dies in labor.

Where it’s been banned: Published in 1929, this novel caused trouble immediately. Boston banned the magazine it was originally published in, claiming the story was too sexual. Italy banned the book because of its portrayal of the army’s retreat from Caporatto. The Nazis burned the book in 1933. In 1939, Ireland banned the novel. In modern America, plenty of school districts have banned the publication for sexual content.

Source | A Farewell to Arms on Amazon

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley


Plot: The book’s plot uses the same story line as Tarzan. A couple of civilized people, Bernard and Lenina, enter a primitive society and bring a “savage” back into their modern society. The difference here is that these “civilized people” live in a futuristic world filled with castes, happy drugs, sex without reproduction and euthanasia. Love, sadness and families have become obsolete, as well as self-expression and exploration.

The Tarzan in this piece is the son, John, of an ex-civilized woman who now lives with the “savages.” John was raised with family, love and Shakespeare. When they return to the city, John becomes a spectacle for society types and even Lenina starts finding him interesting. John begins falling in love with Lenina even as he is disgusted with the modern world and her role in it. John finds he cannot escape this world and eventually kills himself to discontinue playing his role as a tourist spectacle.

Where it’s been banned: This text is one of the most frequently banned books in literary history. It was banned in Ireland the year it was published, 1932. Multiple school districts have restricted access to this book because the atheistic people in the futuristic society it depicts take drugs and have promiscuous sex to avoid emotional connections. There are a lot of people who try to compare this book to our modern society, but if that was accurate, would we still be banning it from school?

Source | Brave New World at Amazon

Catcher In the Rye by J.D. Salinger


Plot: A teenage boy, Holden Caulfield, runs away to New York after being expelled from reform school. The book is a first person narrative and over the course of the story, you learn about his brother’s passing and how that has affected his present state of mind. Throughout his adventure, he drinks, smokes, hits on adult women, gets beaten up by a pimp, is hit on by a past teacher and deals with many other activities that a teen shouldn’t be going through. He constantly complains about other people his age, calling them “phony” or stupid. The novel explores Holden’s psychological need to grow up after his brother’s death. It also does an excellent job depicting his desire to protect young children from becoming adults.

Where it’s been banned: In 1960, a teacher was fired from her job for requiring her eleventh grade class to read the book. Between 1961 and 1962, it was the most censored book in high schools and colleges. This novel has been banned in schools throughout America for being anti-white, blasphemous, profane, racist and overtly sexual. How anything can be racist and anti-white, I don’t know.

Update: I meant this statement as how the book can be racist against both blacks and whites at the same time, which is what the people condemning the book seemed to imply. Personally, I don't think you can be racist against your self and persons of other races at the same time, I think it makes you more of a person hater than a racist. Although I'm sure many readers would still like to disagree with this.

Completely unrelated but interesting: many murderers read Catcher In The Rye shortly before committing their crimes.

Source | The Catcher in the Rye at Amazon

Fanny Hill or Memoirs of A Woman of Pleasure, John Cleland


Plot: Considered to be the first modern erotic novel, there are quite a few naughty bits in this book, if you want to read a bit, there’s an excerpt on the Wikipedia page. The story revolves around a young country girl who must leave her village due to poverty. She is forced to work at a brothel, but escapes with her true love before she loses her virginity. When her love is forced to leave the country, she has to take on a variety of male “acquaintances” in order to survive.

Where it’s been banned: This book was monumental to both English and American obscenity standards. A year after the book was released, John Cleland and the publisher were both arrested and charged with “corrupting the king’s subjects.” They subsequently stopped publishing the novel, but it still managed to become popular thanks to pirated editions circulating the country. Cleland attempted to clean up the book and republished it in 1750, but he was arrested again, although this time the charges were dropped. The book continued to be published underground and in 1963 there was an obscenity trial against a book seller carrying the novel. Although the defense lost, it helped to shift public opinion about obscenity laws in Britain. In 1970, the unabridged book was legally published for the first time.

Over in the states, the book was banned for obscenity in 1821. In 1963, a publisher tried to re-release the book under the title John Cleland’s Memoirs of A Woman of Pleasure. The book was also banned under this title, but the publisher, G.B. Putnam, challenged the ban. The Supreme Court ruled the novel did not meet the standards for obscenity. This was the last book to be banned by the US federal government.

Source | Fanny Hill - Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure at Amazon

Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck


Plot: Set in 1930, it tells the tale of a Tom Joad, a recently paroled murderer, and his family of farmers. The group is forced to leave their home in Oklahoma that has fallen victim to the dust bowl storms. They hope to find better luck in California, though on their way out West, they constantly run into other families hoping for the same luck.

When they get to California, they find the farmers have bound together to exploit the massive amount of laborers offering their services. When workers begin to unionize, the Joads work as strike breakers and end up involved with a bloody strike, forcing Tom Joad to kill again. In the end, practically all of the family’s actions prove to be pointless as they are starving and homeless in California.

Where it’s been banned: Published in 1939, this Steinbeck story caused an uproar as soon as it was released. These days, the book seems to be fairly mild, with a few references to sex and some minor curse words, but the book was quite racy for its day. Kern county was one of the first places to ban the novel as they were insulted by how Steinbeck depicted their citizens. It was immediately burned by the East St. Louis library, banned from Buffalo, New York and Kansas City. Since then, it’s been banned in many high schools -mostly for bad language. A parent in Burlington, North Carolina said, "book is full of filth. My son is being raised in a Christian home and this book takes the Lord's name in vain and has all kinds of profanity in it."

Internationally, the book has had trouble too. In 1953, Ireland deemed the book obscene and banned it. In 1973, eleven publishers in Turkey were charged for “spreading propaganda unfavorable to the state.” Why Grapes of Wrath would be seen as unfavorable to Turkey, I have no idea. If you do, please tell me in the comments.

Source #1, Source #2 | The Grapes of Wrath at Amazon

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence


Plot: Lady Chatterley’s husband has become paralyzed and impotent. She struggles to remain faithful to him, but ends up having an affair with the gamekeeper. The novel covers her struggle to live only mentally, although she proves to need physical stimulation as well.

Where it’s been banned: The Penguin Books 1960 British publication of Lady Chatterley’s Lover was one of the first novels tried under England’s 1959 obscenity law. This law gave publishers the right to release racy books, as long as the work was of literary merit. Penguin was found not guilty and the novel was legally available in England for the first time. The trial was later turned into a BBC show known as “The Chatterley Affair.”

Conversely, Australia not only found the book to be legally obscene, but also banned publication of a book depicting the British trial called The Trial of Lady Chatterley. A copy of the book was smuggled into the country anyway and published underground. Many people read the book and it eventually led to lesser censorship of books in the country.

Lady Chatterley's Lover at Amazon

Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov


Plot: Humbert Humbert, is invited to move in with a woman who wants to sleep with him. He is about to say no, when he sees her 12 year old daughter, Lolita, playing in the yard. The woman discovers his ulterior motive and plans to send Lolita to boarding school but she is hit and killed by a car. Humbert tries to drug the Lolita to have his way with her, but she instead seduces him.

Humbert becomes Lolita’s guardian and falls in love with her although she has very little interest in him. She escapes his guardianship by making plans with another pedophile. Humbert tries to find Lolita and her abductor, but gets nowhere. Two years later, a married and pregnant Lolita contacts him requesting money. He brings her money and tries to get her to leave with him. She refuses. She does, however, give him information on her abductor and Humbert tracks down the man and kills him. Humbert goes to jail, where he writes a novel called Lolita.

Where it’s been banned: The book was released in 1955 and received little attention until author Graham Greene sang its praises in an interview with The London Times. After reading the statement, the editor of the Sunday Express replied that the book was “sheer, unrestrained pornography.” That’s when the book was banned in Britain and all imported copies were ordered to be seized by the customs department. By December 1956, France followed suit, although both countries repealed the ban in 1959. Argentina and New Zealand both banned the book in the following years.

Surprisingly, the book wasn’t criticized as much in America, in fact, in its first three weeks available it sold over 100,000 copies.

Source | Lolita at Amazon

Black History Month: 5 Must-See Underrated Movies

Am I the only one that remembers it’s Black History Month? I we finally have a black president, but does that mean we don’t have black history month anymore? Last I checked, it’s still on the calendar. If you do want to celebrate black history month, you may enjoy watching a few great films regarding race and our society. I know everyone thinks of Malcolm X, Amistad and The Color Purple when they think of African American films, but here are five great movies that tend to get overlooked.

Bulworth

The Basic Plot: A white senator [Warren Beatty], sick of politics and life in general, takes out a life insurance policy on himself and hires a hit man to whack him. Since he doesn’t care what happens to him, he starts speaking to people about the truth of politics, for example, if you don’t donate money to your representative’s campaigns, they won’t represent you. In the process of exposing Washington corruption, he finds a new interest in life when he falls for a beautiful black woman from Compton [Halle Berry]. Now he needs to avoid the hit man, win his lady and deal with the media frenzy his new “campaign tactic” has created.

Why Was It Underrated: People either thought it was going to be a stupid movie about a white senator pretending to rap, or they heard about the politics of the movie and were turned off. Either way, this movie is constantly listed as one of the top underrated films of the 90’s.

Why You Should See It: It is damn funny to see someone tell movie executives they wouldn’t be criticized about decency standards if they just made better movies. Aside from the humor though, there are some great political points about what happened to the leaders of the black community, why so many black youths enter gangs and more.

More: Bulworth at Amazon | Wikipedia

Bamboozled

The Basic Plot: An African American television writer [Damon Wayans] is criticized one too many times by his white “not racist” boss [Michael Rapaport] for not being street enough. As a way to get back at his condescending boss, he proposes a modern day minstrel show, complete with black actors in black face. Amazingly, the show not only is approved by the executives, but becomes a nation-wide success leading to legions of fans running around the streets in black face. As you could guess, things could only go downhill from there…

Why Was It Underrated: Some people found the whole concept rather offensive, completely ignoring the fact that it was a satire created by a black man. Other people simply don’t look to Spike Lee for humor, though if they did, they may be pleasantly surprised.

Why You Should See It: It’s a funny movie filled with some of the best, biting satire of the last century. You’ll find yourself laughing awkwardly and not believing your eyes at points of the show. At the same time, you’ll realize that the show isn’t much of a stretch for modern television.

More: Bamboozled at Amazon | Wikipedia

Men of Honor

The Basic Plot: The true story of the first African American U.S. Navy diver. Carl Brashear [Cuba Gooding Jr.] must not only struggle to become a diver, but to live through the harassment and racism of his fellow trainees and the trainer [Robert DeNiro] determined to see him fail. In the end, he not only wins the respect of other soldiers, but manages to become the first black diver and the first amputee diver.

Why Was It Underrated: Maybe it was Cuba Gooding Jr. - after all, a lot of people consider him to be about as “black” as Colin Powell. Maybe it’s diver-discrimination and people would much rather see a movie about black fighter pilots than a black diver. Whatever the reason, this moving film received little attention, especially when compared to the George Lucas Tuskegee Airmen film, Red Tails, expected to come out sometime this year.

Why You Should See It: This is a touching story showing the ugliness of racism and the strength of the human spirit. I know it sounds kind of cliché, but it is a good movie depicting how many obstacles we can pass when we set our hearts to doing something.

More: Men of Honor at Amazon | Wikipedia

Dead Presidents

The Basic Plot: Three young black men are recruited to join the Vietnam War. After serving duty, the three friends all end up back home in New York. After finding it difficult to adjust to modern society outside the army, the group sets up an armored car heist. The ensuing action is not to be missed.

Why Was It Underrated: Between Menace II Society and their later works like American Pimp and From Hell, this fantastic film directed by the Hughes brothers seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle. Additionally, many people didn’t know how if this movie was a heist movie, a Vietnam flick or a statement about racism in America. Since people often like their movies to be easily classified, this may have been the film’s downfall.

Why You Should See It: Although on the surface, it appears to be a heist movie, this film highlights important issues facing black veterans of the Vietnam War and the continuing racism they experienced when they returned home to a country still wrought with civil rights injustices. This early Hughes Brother’s film is a great display of their talent and a promise of the good things to come.

More: Dead Presidents at Amazon | Wikipedia

Higher Learning

The Basic Plot: When three kids from all walks of life start attending college together, they start encountering racial tension and personal problems like finances and personal insecurities. The main African American character [Omar Epps] is a young African American track star without an exceptional mind. The main female character [Kristy Swanson] is date raped and joins a feminist group to cope with her demons. She begins to become attracted to another woman [Jennifer Connelly] in the group. The main white character [Michael Rapaport] has a hard time fitting in with anyone until a group of white supremacists accept him as one of their own. Rape, racism, sexuality, education and more are all touched upon in this intense film depicting reality on college campuses across the nation.

Why Was It Underrated: Many critics found the characters to be a little stereotypical, but when there are so few movies actually exploring these roles in depth, is that really a problem? Another reason it may be underrated: how many people expect a deep-thinking movie to involve Tyra Banks?

Why You Should See It: There is an all-star cast in this film and it does an excellent job depicting relationships of all types –student/teacher, woman/man, woman/woman, white/black and more. Additionally, it’s one of the few college movies that moves beyond grades, booze and money and depicts a student’s path to self-discovery.

More: Higher Learning at Amazon | Wikipedia Do you think I missed any? If so, please let me know in the comments.


How to Hack Construction Signs



Ever wonder how to make the construction light signs change their text? Now you can with these handy instructions:
"It will ask you for a password. Try “DOTS”, the default password.

In all likelihood, the crew will not have changed it. However if they did, never fear. Hold “Control” and “Shift” and while holding, enter “DIPY”. This will reset the sign and reset the password to “DOTS” in the process. You’re in"

Am I the only one that thinks maybe, just maybe, these things should be a little harder to change? They usually are protected with a tiny lock, and sometimes that's not even on there. What if the sign above was trying to warn the whole road was blocked and people laughed and kept driving 65?

Link Via BB Gadgets

The World Record For Talking Too Much

My friends sometimes say I have a problem with never shutting up. I bet if they met Lluis Colet, they might change their tune. In 2004, Colet was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for longest speech. His 2004 speech lasted 48 hours. Since then, the record was beaten, so Colet won it again, this time by talking for an amazing 124 hours. In the name of all people who talk too much, my hat is off to you Lluis.

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.16c524e9b669346c610be26d34121f4a.951&show_article=1&catnum=9 Via Weird Stuff News

Amazing Long Exposure Photos



Long exposure photos are so cool because they view things in ways your eyes never could. Digital Photography School has a great collection of long exposure images and the elapsed time it took for each image to come out. For some great images, I highly recommend visiting the site and looking at all of them.

Link Via MentalFloss

10 Cool Secrets About Disneyland

Regardless of where you believe to be the true “Happiest Place On Earth” is, you have to admit, Disneyland is at least pretty magical. It's so magical, in fact, that even after 50 years and over 500 million of visitors, there are still tons of secrets hidden in and about the Magical Kingdom.

1. Disneyland was expected to fail.


Opening day was such a disaster that pretty much every press organization that attended the celebration had predicted the park's failure within one year.

It opened on a day that was 101 degrees and the street asphalt still wasn't dry, leading to it sticking to shoes. By the end of the first day, all but 2 of the 48 Autopia cars were crashed and about half the rides were broken.

Despite all that, park visitors loved it and attendance continued to grow day by day.

Source (Photo: ThomasFredrick [Flickr])

2. Need a real drink?


While many Disney fanatics may already know this one, others may find it surprising to know there is exactly one place in the entire park that serves alcoholic beverages.

The place is called Club 33 and it is a very exclusive club to get in. To gain entry, there is a ten year waiting list and admission is at least a thousand dollars. Supposedly, the food is good though.

Source (Photo: emmyboop [Flickr])

 

3. Tomorrow Land is so outdated.


Or at least, the first version is by now. The only Tomorrow Land ride that still exists in its original state from the opening is Autopia, and even it was changed to fit with Cars the movie. Actually though, there is one major change in Autopia from how it was on opening day -there were originally no guide rail to keep people on track. Sometimes Disney was a little too trusting of the good of humans.

Source (Photo: Frikitiki [Flickr])

 

4. There's a Disney Underground.



Photo: lwr [Flickr]

It's not quite as exciting as it sounds though. Despite rumors, the area under the park isn't a massive underground city. There are many underground basements though, where cast can relax, change in and out of costumes and eat lunch in peace. Think of it like a few really big break rooms.

Disney World on the other hand, was built late enough that they have a full city underground.

Source

5. Olympic sports anyone?



Photo: Frikitiki [Flickr]

Just walking around the park over and over again is exercise enough for most people, but employees have the option of working out in the Matterhorn. Surely you didn't think that huge mountain was only used for one little ride did you? No, the Matterhorn is officially classified as a gym and has a full basketball court inside. In 1984, it was even certified as an official Olympic Stadium.

Source

6. It's safe, but not 100% safe.



Photo: videocrab [Flickr]

Despite persisting urban legends that claim no one ever died in the park, people have. At least 12 people have died there, reports vary as to whether some additional death tales are true or not. All things considered though, 12 deaths in over 50 years isn't that bad. Keep in mind, aside from dangerous rides, there is also a notable amount of gang violence at other Southern California amusement parks that doesn't occur as frequently at Disneyland.

Source

7. Ever feel like you're being watched?


You might be. There are cameras everywhere. Aside from average security brigades, they even have special tasks forces with only a handful of things to focus on.

There are at least two special forces at the park, one dedicated to catching people using drugs at the park, and another dedicated to catching people who flash or flip off the cameras during the photo parts of the rides. If you've ever gotten a message saying your photo isn't available when you got off the ride, there's a good chance someone either flashed some breast or flipped the bird to the camera.

Source

8. A ghostly Hazmat problem.



Photo: major_clanger [Flickr]

There are many reports of people trying to spill the ashes of loved ones in the Haunted Mansion. As nice of a thought as it is, there are plenty of ghosts in the Mansion already and if everyone dumped their ashes here, then the whole thing would be covered in dust. So, every time it happens, the Mansion needs to be closed and a hazmat team cleans it.

Source

9. A pirate's life for Jack.


We all know that Johnny Depp is dang sexy, but just the character of Jack Sparrow? Apparently, a lot of women still think he's just as good as Depp. In Pirate's Booty, an ex-actor at Disneyland confessed how many women would try to hump him just for playing the character. The stories range from flirting to receiving napkins with naughty offers.

(Photo: Locket479 [Flickr])
 

10. Words from beyond.


Ever notice the telegraph clicking at the New Orleans' train station? It's ticking out the speech Disney gave out on the park's opening day. Traces of Disney are all over the park, my favorite one though is his old apartment over the fire house on Main Street. They always leave the light on in his memory. Not only is it cute, but it's also rad that he got to live in the park.

Source (Photo: Mysteryofmaps [Flickr])

 

A few other fun tidbits:



  • Steve Martin used to work in the magic shop here.

  • There used to be live girls dressed like mermaids in the 2000 Leagues Under the Sea pool.

  • Did your balloon pop? Just show any balloon seller your popped balloon and they'll give you a new one.

  • The Imagineers put special touches everywhere. The Haunted Mansion features faces of a few of the early Imagineers and has tombstones written with inside joke references.

  • Coke gives the park free soda to eliminate competition in the park and for the advertising.

  • Hidden Mickeys are spread all over the park and there's at least one in every ride.


Source and Source

12 Hacked Nintendo Controllers

Geeks love classic Nintendo and since many techies are also handy at hacking electronics, it’s no surprise that there are tons of mods for old Nintendo controllers.  Whether you’re a big fan of Mario, Zelda, Contra or Bomberman, these classic Nintendo controller hacks are sure to remind you of the good ol’ days of gaming.

Doorbell

Ding-dong. Who’s there? Does it really matter when you have an awesomely geektastic doorbell like this? When I posted this one on Neatorama last year, we got quite a few notable comments, some wondering if hitting the right button code would make the secret door in your house open up and others desperately hoping that the ring would be the theme song for Mario. Whatever the specifics though, this thing is pretty darn cool.

Rear Bike Light

If you’re looking for a Nintendo controller mod that could save your life, then try this LED bike light made from a controller. While it’s own creator seems to hate it, saying, “I had yet to see an NES controller bike flasher, and what could be more tacky then modding it with ultrabright LEDs,” it still is both functional and far more stylish than standard rear bike lights.

Cell Phone

If you think people look at you crazy when you use a Bluetooth, just imagine how insane they’ll think you are when they see you talking into a Nintendo controller. Fortunately, you can do so without actually losing your mind if you just follow the tutorial on DIY Happy that shows you how to turn your controller into a cell phone.

iPod Controller

Sure you can control your iPod directly using their patented click wheel, but where’s the fun in that? Instead, owners of 3rd and 4th gen iPods can hack a Nintendo controller into being a wired remote control. Sure it’s a bit pointless, but not everyone has mastered the art of blending style with functionality.

iPhone dock

Perhaps you don’t have a 3rd or 4th generation iPod though, don’t worry, you can still play with your Apple toy with a Nintendo attachment if you simply build yourself a cool docking station like this one. While it was made specifically for the iPhone, it seems like it would also work for any iPod with minimal adjustments.

Mp3 Player

But why just dock or control an iPod with a controller when you could, instead make your controller into the mp3 player? This one is great because every button actually does something and the device can plug directly into your computer. Plus, you can even attach it to these sweet cartridge speakers for even more rocking old school gaming fun.

Memory Card Reader

Card readers are incredibly handy, but man are they boring to look at. If you want to spice up your desk area, then the instructions on this blog post can teach you how to combine the inside of your favorite card reader with the outside of a Nintendo controller. I haven’t tried this myself, but it does look incredibly simple, which is always a plus.

4-port USB hub

With all these mods that can be hooked into a USB-port, it seems only logical to go ahead and make a hub for all of them. Of course, I would recommend adding a slightly longer cord to yours, but that’s just me.

Flash drive

Now that you have 4 ports of Nintendo goodness, why not go ahead and make a flash drive out of a controller? The best part of this one is the fact that the drive has a security feature that makes it operate only after the user has entered the Konami code. I know you Neatonauts love that idea.

Computer Mouse

What better way to open the files on your Nintendo USB drive that’s hooked into a Nintendo USB hub than with a Nintendo computer mouse? While this optical mouse looks neat, it can’t move around as well on your desk and it certainly isn’t very ergonomic. I guess that’s the price you pay for computer fashion.

Belt Buckle

Speaking of fashion, maybe you’re not so good at working with electronics but you still want to show off your love of the Nintendo controller. In that case, the NES belt is a perfect choice for you to show off your fashion geekery without having to learn about all the inner workings of the controller itself.

Zip-up Wallet

For those who aren’t into hard plastic belt buckles, there is still hope for your Nintendo fashion needs. While making a Zip-up controller wallet is bound to be a little more difficult, it’s still a great place to hold on to your change.

Giant Controller Turned Coffee Table

While the rest of the controllers included here are actual Nintendo controllers hacked into serving other functions, this is a hand-made giant Nintendo controller that can not only operate as a coffee table, but is also wired up to work on a classic Nintendo system. It even opens up to reveal a nice storage space where you can put away your games when you’re done playing. Talk about functional! Have any of you tried modding a Nintendo controller or do you plan to try any of these ideas out? Tell us about it in the comments.



Bronzed Katamari Statue



If you are a total Katamari fan, like myself, then you're certain to appreciate this beautiful statue that would make an enviable prize for a Katamari tournament. It was made by Flickr user Everfalling for an Academy of Art class.

Link via BoingBoing

Baby Zelda Doesn't Need Link's Help Just Yet



It's rare for someone to become more helpless as they get older, but for Princesses Peach and Zelda, that's exactly what happened. While they might not be great role models as they age, their younger versions, are certainly adorable and now your little one can cosplay as the lovely Princess Zelda thanks to Etsy seller LeenGreenBean's lovely crocheted costume.

Link Via Kotaku

Baby Jack Skellington



It's not much of a "Nightmare" Before Christmas when Mr. Claws looks so darned adorable.

Link Via The Mary Sue

35 Albino Animals


Life in the Fast Lane has a great post portraying a huge variety of albino animals. I've seen albino ferrets and gorillas before, but the buffalo and the giraffes were new to me.

http://www.lifeinthefastlane.ca/35-ghosts-of-nature-albino-animals-of-the-wild/weird-science


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Profile for Jill Harness

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