Category Archives: Curiosities

The Ark Hotel – Saving Humanity from Itself

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In 1972, a movie entitled “Silent Running” arrived in movie theatres.  Bruce Dern portrayed a scientist named Freeman Lowell, the caretaker of a greenhouse affixed to a space station.  It contains the remnants of Earth’s vegetation; a refuge for flora devastated by overpopulation and war.  The film was among a gallery of entrants into the science fiction genre that, in the 1960s, had metamorphosed from alien creatures wreaking havoc upon hapless Earthlings to a frighteningly futuristic world where we are our own worst enemy.  With Earth’s population now at 7 billion, and the planet’s resources being stretched, this is becoming more of a reality.

Against this horrifying backdrop comes the “Ark Hotel,” a joint Russo-Chinese venture designed by the International Union of Architects for a project called Architecture for Disaster Relief.  Looking something like a prehistoric sea creature, or a ‘Slinky’ on steroids, the dome-shaped structure is comprised of wooden arches, steel cables and a self-cleaning plastic layer instead of glass.  It’s adaptable to either land or water usage.  The myriad arches and cables distribute the weight evenly; thus it can stand earthquakes, tsunamis and perhaps rambunctious toddlers.

Daylight filters through the sturdy glass to reduce the need for lighting.  Its solar panels and rainwater collection system provide inhabitants with power and water.  An internal garden provides some semblance of a landscape for guests and / or inhabitants, which in turn, act as a greenhouse.  The same lighting setup might allow for vegetable gardens.

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Regardless, the Ark Hotel is either an extraordinary example of ambitious engineering or more proof that planet Earth is overpopulated.  It seems to be no coincidence that the term “ark” is part of its name.

Ark-Hotel-Futuristic

Ark-Hotel-Summer

Ark-Hotel-Winter

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Looking for a Good Time

If any of you single ladies are looking for love on this Valentine’s Day (or just need to get out of the house), you must have the right approach.  Many moons ago people had to scour the “single’s ads” in various newspapers and periodicals in the hopes of meeting the right person.  Even I’m old enough to remember chuckling at poetic pleas buried in the black ink of unrequited desperation.  Check out some of these lonely hearts from the 1960s and be glad for the Internet – where everyone has a color photo and is now bound by ethical standards to tell the truth.

Desirable beard wants couplings.

Desirable beard wants couplings.

Willing to learn after years of inaction.

Willing to learn after years of inaction.

Home-bound with 1% extra manhood.

Home-bound with 1% extra manhood.

Won’t take “NO” for an answer.

Won’t take “NO” for an answer.

Interstate businessman.

Interstate businessman.

Call only if you have your own phone.

Call only if you have your own phone.

Has horse; will romp.

Has horse; will romp.

 

I’ll also bring my friend, Zodiac.

I’ll also bring my friend, Zodiac.

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Creepy Christmases

What could possibly spoil the joy of taking a photo with Santa Claus?  Well…maybe if Santa looked like a serial killer or a drunken pedophile.  Gaze at these gems from Christmases past and be thankful you had otherwise normal holidays.  If you recognize yourself in any of them, please seek help immediately.  You deserve it!

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37

46

63

72

82

101

112

122

132

152

161

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The Mysterious Case of the Incredibly Vanishing Trees

Assumption Parish, Louisiana

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Liras for Apples

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While the U.S. was giddy with excitement over the Bicentennial celebrations in 1976, a nerdy young man named Steve Jobs was overwhelmed by a more cumbersome element: his homemade computer.  That year Jobs and fellow computer geek, Steve Wozniak, built the Apple 1 – the first computer their fledgling Apple company ever built and one of the first desk-top computers the world had seen.  Looking at the contraption now, it resembles a lie-detector device, or perhaps something used in Iraqi prisons.  No matter though: one of the computers sold at a Christie’s auction earlier this month for $387,750.

Bolaffi, an Italian company that collects just about anything odd and / or vintage, purchased the machine from a retired school psychologist.  Early Apple products have become hot items on the auction circuit since the death of Jobs in October 2011.  In May, an Apple 1 sold at a German auction house for the equivalent of $671,400.  There’s no word yet on whether Bolaffi will try to restore its Apple 1 to its former glory, or just put it on a table beneath a glass case.  In a way, it bothers me that, years from now, school children will ogle at these things – considering when I was in school, we stared in wonder at 2,000-year-old pottery.

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Tingled to Death

MMF

Mixed martial arts fighter Michael Waylon Lowe is suing a Philadelphia sex shop for selling him a lovemaking lubricant that he claims damaged his penis.  The Mood shop declares the Kama Sutra Pleasure Balm Prolonging Gel will prolong a man’s sexual pleasure.  But, according to Lowe, the green gel didn’t exactly leave him with that minty fresh feeling; instead, burning and scarring his genitalia so badly he is now disfigured and dysfunctional.  Lowe is seeking $50,000 in damages in his suit against both the store and the manufacturer, Kama Sutra Inc.

“This is a very private, but very significant loss for a man who is very vital in so many other aspects,” said Lowe’s attorney, Thomas R. Kline.  “This is a man who literally makes his living avoiding injury; he knows how to protect himself.  Yet he wasn’t provided with the most basic, simple instructions to protect himself from this product.  If it could happen to him, it could happen to anyone.”

Marla Lee, president of Kama Sutra Inc., calls the allegations “flabbergasting.”  Lee emphasizes, “This product has been offered for over 40 years without incident of any kind, so it’s a bit confusing that he would have this kind of response to it.  The active ingredient [benzocaine] is quite common.  It’s used in children’s teething products, so it’s probably pretty safe if it’s used for children.”

I never realized a substance that tempers teething pain in toddlers is also used to prevent premature ejaculation.  I mean, where was the FDA during all this?

The 32-year-old Lowe has a 14-4 record in his professional mixed martial arts career with the Ultimate Fighting Championship and other venues.  The lawsuit specifically notes that Lowe suffered “catastrophic and permanent damage,” including penile scarring; loss of sensation and function; nerve and tissue damage; humiliation and embarrassment.  No word on whether it also caused halitosis for his girlfriend.

Lowe should just do what I do: grab a bottle of baby oil and a pack of wine coolers and you’re set for the night.

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Men with Oars

warwick

The men of the University of Warwick Boat Club in Coventry, United Kingdom have decided to display their solidarity with the gay / lesbian community by rowing naked.  They’re trying to draw attention to inequities in health care that GLBT folks often face.  I don’t know how U.K. lesbians feel about a bunch of college boys getting undressed on their behalf, but as always, it’s the thought that counts.

“We are thrilled to be launching the UKs first dedicated fitness space with the Warwick Rowers,” said Dave Viney, manager of the LGBT Health and Wellbeing Centre in Birmingham.  “It’s great to see homophobia in sport and homophobic bullying creatively challenged by a predominantly heterosexual sports team.”

The rowers previously stripped down for a sports calendar to raise funds for charity, so this might be the start of a trend.  When you realize that athletes competed nude in the ancient Olympics, old school might not be a bad thing.

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