Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Slacker Sunday: The Weirdness File

For some years, I have collected weird shit, to use the technical term. This is an inexhaustible, bottomless well of the inexplicably human -- much of it objectionable, much of it just totally nuts. Today, I'm going to offer a sampling of the nuts. No particular message or theme.

Here's a business card somebody handed me at a reception (name changed to protect the last true Rennaisance man):

Brokerage Business Centers/Management
Education Development Administration Offices of:
Dr. Eustace O. Atwanya

Expert: General Consulting Contracts, Assets Management, Real Estate Investments, Home Buying Services, Loans, Insurance, Travel Services, Social-Political Public Relations Liaison, Negotiation-Medication-Resolution, International Services & Cuisine Finder, Promoter, Advertiser, Caregivers, Research, Edu-Care Technologies, Fundraisers, Training, Recruiting, Financial Services, Career-Employment-Business Opportunities.
We bring the best in business and in human nature!

Solutions Reservoir Executive

Anyone requiring Dr. Atwanya's services should contact me for his number.

Then there was this news clipping from 1996. Perhaps you remember it?

By Reuters
The St. Louis Art Museum has filed a $2.5 million lawsuit against the Whitney Museum of American Art and its security services for a 1993 incident in which a guard drew a heart and wrote romantic messages on a Roy Lichtenstein painting.

"Curtains," a large Lichtenstein canvas, was on from the St. Louis museum to the Whitney when a security guard disfigured it. . . .Mr. Walker used a felt-tip marker to write "I love you, Tushee, Love, Buns" and to draw a heart inscribed "Reggie + Crystal 1/26/91" on the work.

Personally, I view this as an enhancement. Then there was the preacher who handed me this flyer:


PREACHING AGAINST: Adultery, divorce & remarriage, marriage annulment, fornication, common-law living, oral sex, lusting, homosexuality, lesbianism, pimps, pornography, mixed bathing, women wearing shorts, hatred, stealing, cheating, lying, deceiving, gambling, using God's name in vain, dope addiction, alcoholic beverages, tobacco use, smoking, pride, make-up, certain television programs etc., suicide, murder, rape, bribery, extortion, arson, mini skirts, revenge, burglary, rock music, and all the rest that Bible condemns!

Jesus said, you compass land and sea to make a prosylite and now he is ten times more a child of hell. In other words, you made him more wicked than he was before. Listen to what the prophet says and be ready for Jesus' coming. The blood of Jesus cleanses as you repent.

If you want to know what the Holy Ghost said concerning television sets, he said, "Move them out".

Love in Jesus name, "That Prophet"

Unfortunately, I only have an out-of-date Bible.

And now, a classic: Ruth Reichl's most famous restaurant review (edited to go straight to the good parts):

Any sane person would have given up after the asparagus-raisin sorbet.

Not me.

But then I already had a surreal history with Shin's. There was the first visit, when the waitress tok our order and went off, leaving us to sit, foodless, beneath the huge pink rhinoceros . . . ."I'm so sorry," said a pretty woman, coming up 45 minutes later to retake our order. "Your waitress quit." Was it something we had done? She shook her head. "She just didn't speak English." . . .

So here we are, three months later, seated at a corner table. The lights above us are blinking: they get very bright, then dim again, then suddenly blaze on. We want a drink, anything to get warm, but we can't get anyone's attention. "Can we please get a waiter?" we plead. Finally a man with a ponytail comes loping over. We point to the place in the menu that talks about an intriguing fresh sake "exclusive in the U.S. to Shin's." The ponytail nods. He comes back empty-handed. "We don't have that," he says.

We settle for ordinary sake and settle in with our menu. It urges us to order the chef's special omakase tasting dinner, a customized menu that changes every night. We ask the waiter to tell us about tonight's omakase menu. He looks puzzled, as if this is the most exotic possible request. But he dutifully flips out his pad and starts reciting.

Everything he mentions is on the menu.

When we point this out, the waiter has a ready answer. "You see," he explains, "the chef's don't speak English so they can't really tell us what the dishes are." [After a couple of edible appetizers] we are starting to be happy. At that precise moment the busboy picks up a plate and kocks a glass of ice water into my lap. As he tries to sop that up, he knocks over a bottle of sake. By now the tablecloth is a puddle and my clothes are soaked.

[Some dishes follow ranging from uninspiring to disgusting.] Those who have chosen not to experiment with the omakase menu are not doing much better. Chopsticks that break in the wrong place. Soggy tempura. Black cod with the unnerving texture of Cream of Wheat. . . For desert there is aparagus-raising sorbet. Don't want that? You have a choice of berry cottage cheese or banana sorbet. What do they taste like? It is impossible to tell: all three are suffering from freezer burn and all three taste like the refrigerator. Shin's is out of all other deserts.

Leaving, we are handed our coats and an umbrella that isn't ours. For a moment, we actually contemplate making off with it.

Unfortunately, you won't be able to eat at Shin's. For some reason it closed shortly after this review.

Finally, although I could go on for days, here is an advertisement from the Boston Globe. Somebody paid good money for this.


A dead realm ruled by golden radiation
Left haunted by wealth and power
Orange opposes the papal empire
Where true peace can never flower
A piece of red is answered on yellow
Revolving around the fire's glow
Blue lays out the proposed solution
Grey turns to dancing white tango.

Dedicated to my grandfather Chester Kime (Kime and Bonebrake, J.C. & E.K. photographers, Akron.) He broughthis wife Margaret "Peg" C. Marin, a high school classmate of John S. Knight of Knight Ridder, a Willys Knight (whose namesake W.J. Willy died with Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Jr. in 1944. (Joe Jr.'s sister Kick's husband William, Marquess of Hartington, also died that year. (Kick died in '48.))) He died of alcoholism in 1944 (2/2) leaving 3 children: Joseph, Janet and William (of DePere, WI) and saleman for Employer's Insurance of Wausau (dec'd '86.))
Also to C. Nelson Wright (born Nelson in Rittman, OH) who sold tools from the trunk of his car prior to founding Wright Tool & Forge Co. in 1927. He died Easter Sunday, 1972.
Please see my ads in the 3/16/90 Globe; 3/1/91 N.Y. Times (& Harvard Crimson); 3/14/91 S.F. Chronicle/Examiner. Always remember Alice Cooper's "Billion Dollar Babies" and watch out for spiders!

I have taken that advice to heart.

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