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In our house the reading matter in the toilet consists of either The Gaurdian Weekly (the wife has a subscription) or whatever silly magazine (eg Who, NW etc) she has picked up that week. i readily admit that while spending time on the throne i will peruse from either category.

earlier this evening i was glancing through the copy of The Gaurdian Weekly dated 9/11/07 (yeah i’m right up to speed) and a couple of items caught my attention. For no other reason than i found them interesting /amusing i will relay excerpts here:

1) was the article about ’10 of the most bizarre experiments carried out in the quest for knowledge and reported in New Scientist magazine’. (of course i could have sought out said issue of New Scientist magazine to verify but i am too lazy and will trust the reporting of the story as presented).

Amongst items listed in the story like injecting an elephant with a dose of LSD 3,000 times ‘what a human might take for recreational purposes’ my favourite is:

The one about the Soviet surgeon Vladimir Demikhov who in 1954 who ‘graft[ed] the head, shoulders and front legs of a puppy on to the neck of a German shepherd dog. Journalists brought in to examine the creature noted how milk dribbled from the stump of the puppy’s head when it attempted to lap milk.’ And here’s the clincher; ‘Occasionally, the two would fight, with the German shepherd trying to shake the puppy off, and the puppy retaliating by biting back.’ It lived for 6 days. But even worse the guy went on to repeat the experiment another 19 times!

The doctor who ‘drank fresh vomit to prove yellow fever was not contagious’ just doesn’t quite measure up to two-headed dogs. Although the bit about investigations of the sexual arousal of turkeys was amusing; ‘… researchers at Penn State University were impressed to see that the birds would attempt to mate with lookalike dummies. Piece by piece they removed parts of the dummy and found the males were still highly aroused when presented with a head on a stick.’ Obviously no further comment about this not just relating to male turkeys needed.

What else do we have of note in this issue (i was intrigued by now and kept reading long after i had finished what i had originally gone into the smallest room in the house for – ok too much information, back to the paper).

2) Donovan (the 60’s folk singer) and David Lynch (the film director) are promoting a new university to be opened in Scotland that apart from the usual uni fare will also offer courses in transcendental meditation. The uni is to be called The Invincible Donovan University. yup.

3) the English are more prudish than the French. [story about a statue at a train station that ‘…was to depict a couple locked in tender embrace. But London & Continental Railways decided to stop short of a kiss. Such open sensuality might have shocked British travellers…’.] no surprises there.

4) an article about a new museum in France dedicated to the living artist Tomi Ungerer (76) which states, ‘Asked if he anticipated many tourists, Ungerer replied: “Sure, if Alsace is the posterior of France, then Strasbourg is its sphincter and we can expect busloads of tourists penetrating it like suppositories.”‘

5) The article about Warren Buffett ‘The United States’ second-richest man’ who ‘wants to pay more tax’ and ‘…brandished an informal survey of 15 of his 18 office staff… The billionaire said he was paying 17.7% payroll and income tax, compared with an office average of 32.9%. “There wasn’t anyone in the office, from the receptionist up, who paid as low a tax rate and I have no tax planning; I don’t have an accountant or use tax shelters. I just follow what the US Congress tells me to do”‘
not funny – just a bit disturbing.

That’s all for now (my leg went to sleep and i had to stand up). who says you can’t learn anything from the papers.

Thank you Gaurdian Weekly; i feel both amused and just a little bit smarter than i did before going to the loo.

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