Friday, April 30, 2010

The Jabuticaba

The Jabuticaba, or Brazilian Grape Tree is one of the most awesome fruit trees I've ever seen. They've been around for who knows how long but I've only just found out about them and I want a few for my yard so badly! Pictures and info below is from Wikipedia.

The Jabuticaba (also called Brazilian Grape Tree, Jaboticaba, Jabotica, Guaperu, Guapuru, Hivapuru, Sabará and Ybapuru) is a fruit-bearing tree native to Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. The fruit is purplish black, with a white pulp; it can be eaten raw or be used to make jellies and drinks (plain juice or wine).

The fruit tree (named jabuticabeira in Portuguese) has salmon-colored leaves when they are young, turning green posteriorly. It is a very slow growing tree which prefers moist, lightly acidic soils for best growth. It is widely adaptable, however, and grows satisfactorily even on alkaline beach-sand type soils, so long as they are tended and irrigated. Its flowers are white and grow directly from its trunk in a cauliflorous habit. Naturally the tree may flower and fruit only once or twice a year, but when continuously irrigated it flowers frequently, and fresh fruit can be available year round in tropical regions.

The jabuticaba (Myrciaria cauliflora (Mart.) O.Berg. [Myrtaceae]) is a small tree native to Minas Gerais in southeastern Brazil grown for the purple, grape-like fruits it produces. Traditionally, an astringent decoction of the sun-dried skins has been used as a treatment for hemoptysis, asthma, diarrhea, and gargled for chronic inflammation of the tonsils. The fruit is 3-4 cm in diameter with one to four large seeds, borne directly on the main trunks and branches of the plant, lending a distinctive appearance to the fruiting tree. It has a thick, purple, astringent skin that covers a sweet, white, or rosy pink gelatinous flesh. Common in Brazilian markets, jaboticabas are largely eaten fresh; their popularity has been likened to that of grapes in the US. Fresh fruit may begin to ferment 3 to 4 days after harvest, so they are often used to make jams, tarts, strong wines, and liqueurs.

So as you can see, these trees are great and since I love exotic fruit they're another to put on the menu. Now all I have to do is find a rare fruit tree grower in Ohio...this may take a while. *grumble*


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mysterious Rainfalls

I've always been fascinated with strange stories and tellings of odd rainfalls. They have held a strong place in my heart for years. Here I present quite a few reported 'Mystery Rains' for you to enjoy and think about as I have.
(Info taken from numerous mystery and news sites but I don't have links to them anymore, sorry folks!)

In 1873, Scientific American reported that Kansas City, Missouri was blanketed with frogs that dropped from the sky during a storm.

Minneapolis, Minnesota was pelted with frogs and toads in July, 1901. A news item stated: "When the storm was at its highest... there appeared as if descending directly from the sky a huge green mass. Then followed a peculiar patter, unlike that of rain or hail. When the storm abated the people found, three inches deep and covering an area of more than four blocks, a collection of a most striking variety of frogs... so thick in some places [that] travel was impossible.”

The citizens of Naphlion, a city in southern Greece, were surprised one morning in May, 1981, when they awoke to find small green frogs falling from the sky. Weighing just a few ounces each, the frogs landed in trees and plopped into the streets. The Greek Meteorological Institute surmised they were picked up by a strong wind. It must have been a very strong wind. The species of frog was native to North Africa!

In 1995, reports Fortean Times Online, Nellie Straw of Sheffield, England, was driving through Scotland on holiday with her family when they encountered a severe storm. Along with the heavy rain, however, hundreds of frogs suddenly pelted her car.

In February, 1861, folks in many areas of Singapore reported a rain of fish following an earthquake. How could the two possibly correlate?

Priests often pray for blessings from above... but fish? In 1966, Father Leonard Bourne was dashing through a downpour across a courtyard in North Sydney, Australia, when a large fish fell from the sky and landed on his shoulder. The priest nearly caught it as it slid down his chest, but it squirmed away, fell to the flooded ground and swam away.

These things don't always happen in a heavy rain. In 1989, in Ipswich, Australia, Harold and Degen's front lawn was covered with about 800 "sardines" that rained from above during a light shower.

This report is most unusual: In an otherwise clear sky in Chilatchee, Alabama in 1956, a woman and her husband watched as a small dark cloud formed in the sky. When it was overhead, the cloud released its contents: rain, catfish, bass and bream - all of the fish alive. The dark cloud had turned to white, then dispersed.

In 1890, Popular Science News reported that blood rained down on Messignadi, Calabria in Italy - bird's blood. It was speculated that the birds were somehow torn part by violent winds, although there were no such winds at the time. And no other parts of the bird came down - just blood.

J. Hudson's farm in Los Nietos Township, California endured a rain of flesh and blood for three minutes in 1869. The grisly fall covered several acres.

The American Journal of Science confirmed a shower of blood, fat and muscle tissue that fell on a tobacco farm near Lebanon, Tennessee in August, 1841. Field workers, who actually experienced this weird shower, said they heard a rattling noise and saw "drops of blood, as they supposed...fell from a red cloud which was flying over."

In 1881, a thunderstorm in Worcester, England, brought down tons of periwinkles and hermit crabs.

In November, 1996, a town in southern Tasmania was slimed! Several residents woke up on a Sunday morning after a night of violent thunderstorms to find a strange, white-clear jelly-like substance on their property. Apparently, it had rained either fish eggs or baby jellyfish.

In July, 2001, a red rain fell on Kerala, India. At first it was thought that a meteor was responsible for the strange-colored rain, but an analysis showed that the water was filled with fungal spores. Still, where did all of those red spores come from to be rained down in such concentration?

From about 1982 to 1986, kernels of corn have rained down on several houses in Evans, Colorado - tons of it, according to Gary Bryan, one of the residents. Oddly, there were no cornfields in the area that might account for the phenomenon.

In August, 2001, the Wichita, Kansas area experienced an unexplained rain of corn husks. The news report stated that "thousands of dried corn leaves fell over east Wichita - from about Central Avenue to 37th Street North, along Woodlawn Boulevard and on east - each about 20 to 30 inches long."

In 1877, several one-foot-long alligators fell on J. L. Smith's farm in South Carolina. They landed, unharmed, and started crawling around, reported The New York Times

About 200 rocks landed on a Lynwood used car lot between 9:30 am and 4:30 pm on a September day in 1960. Police could not find the source. A man was seen throwing a rock but was found not guilty. A psychic researcher testified that the source was a poltergeist.

In 1833, something more unusual than fish fell from the sky over the town of Rahway, New Jersey. On November 13, locals saw what they described as “fiery rain” falling to the ground. When the glowing masses struck the ground, they turned into “lumps of jelly”. The lumps were said to be transparent and became round, flattened masses when they landed. Within hours, the jelly disintegrated and became a pile of small white particles that crumbled into dust when touched. The strange masses were reported at the same time that a meteor shower was taking place over the eastern United States and may have been connected to it in some way.

But that's not all! Recently in Lajamanu Australia on March 1, 2010 a rainfall of small fish was reported and images (one seen below) were taken. The town is 326 miles from the nearest river.

So as you see, strange rainfalls have been happenning all over the world for hundreds of years and show no sign of stopping or much by way of explanation. And I hope it stays that way for a very long time, it keeps life interesting!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Food Cars...the new Craze?

I have a whole computer file on cars made up to look like paid advertisements for foodstuffs but these are just a few of the ones I've collected. I'm oddly fascinated with this apparent rising craze...I just can't figure out why it started or why it seems to be gaining in popularity plus the fact that a majority seem to be using the same type of car.

I mean, seriously? You want to ride around in a food mobile? Is this a wierd version of 'Pimp my Ride'? If you love a certain food enough that you paint your car to look like it, you might need some professional help. A- you waste money, B- you look nuts and C- you're obviously too obsessed with it to be let off your leash alone.

Whatever possesses people to do this, it doesn't seem to be dying off like one might hope, it seems to be getting worse. Which makes me weep for my fellow man...


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Strange and Fabulous Animals

I'm a huge fan of the strange and odd in the natural realm. Most animals that people think are ugly or just too weird for words I adore; I root for the underdog and I think they're all beautiful in their own weird ways.

So I present to you dear readers, a collection of the weird, the ugly and the strange! Enjoy and for information in each, the Interwebs hold it. Go search, it's part of the fun!

The Colugo

The Aardvark

The Binturong

The Giant Armadillo

The Streaked Tenrec

The California Condor

The Andean Condor

The South African Giant Snail

The Giant Snakehead

The Triops

The Giant Anteater

The Barreleye

The Deep Sea Isopod

The Vampire Squid

The Jacob's Sheep

The Sucker-footed Bat

The Fossa

Those are all for the moment, I'll make another list of strange and wonderful critters at a later date. Hope you enjoy this list for the time being!


Monday, April 26, 2010

Creepy Doll

Wow...I've already got a phobia of porceline dolls but this just scares the daylights out of me.

Now, I have no problem with the whole prosthetic thing, it's a great thing for people that are missing limbs and I wholly support the use and advancement of them, but a doll? How creepy can you get? The dull lifeless eyes in these things are scary enough but lopping off a leg or two? Just creepy if you ask me...I mean, dolls like this already look like zombies out to eat your brains but now they're missing their limbs and have prosthetics? Ugh...I don't know who makes these and I'm not sure I want to but to each their own I suppose. But for me, if I ever got one of these, it would be a 'burn it with fire' moment in my house...


Awesome and Strange Products

Ok, the world of consumerism is full of useful and not so useful things. It is also full of things that are either stupid or the things of nightmares. However, I present to you thing that I've found and want...badly.
They are either awesome to the extreme or weird enough to elicit fits of happy giggles when I think about them.
One day my pretties...I shall own you!

The Butter Stick from Japan...when I first saw this I wanted it and covet it to this day. How awesome would it be to have? No more knives, no more mess, just a simple twist tube of delicious buttery goodness!

The Cookie and Coffee cup...holy cow this is sweet! I want some of these, I really do but the only problem I see is if you tip the cup just a little your poor cookies will be on a rollercoaster ride to the floor...and that's so sad...

Designed by Jules Ponsioen and Jeremy Nagel the HOI Magazine Chair is the stuff of dreams to me. I'm a huge book person and having a chair that surrounds me in my beloved little paper retreats would be the be all and end all of my (eventual) library room. If only it didn't cost a small fortune...

Ok, ok I know this is just a watermelon, but look at that packaging! Godzilla has always been a fave monster of mine and this packaging just enforces his awesomeness in my opinion. You know you've all trampled mini lego or block cities pretending to be him when you were little, now you can pretend you're eatting his unborn offspring in all thier watermelony deliciousness!

*coughs and gets a hold of myself again*

Excuse me, let the awesome get to me, I apologize. But it's all still awesome in a strange way I think. Or maybe it's just me...either way, rock on all you creators of the awesome!

~Shara (wow, lot's of awesomes in this huh?)

Cryptozoology and Mysteries

Alrighty, for any of you that know me, you know that a large part of my life involves natural mysteries and those man made things that no one can explain. I made a small listing of some in an earlier post but I felt like making one with a few of my favorite topics in that genre.

I know that some people think that all this is made up crack-pot stuff and that's fine, it's a free world and you can think what you want but it works both ways, so can those that beleive it.

So please, if you think it's bullshit, just don't read this one.


The Mothman is a creature reportedly seen in the Charleston and Point Pleasant areas of West Virginia from November 12, 1966, to December 1967 (Though he is seen in other areas and in much more recent times). Most observers describe the Mothman as a man-sized creature with large reflective red eyes and large wings. The creature was sometimes reported as having no head, with its eyes set into its chest.
A number of hypotheses have been presented to explain eyewitness accounts, ranging from misidentification and coincidence, to paranormal phenomena and conspiracy theories.


The Kongamato ("breaker of boats") is a reported pterosaur-like creature said to have been seen in the Mwinilunga district's Jiundu swamps of Western Zambia, Angola and Congo. Suggested identities include a modern-day Rhamphorhynchus, a misidentified bird (such as the very large and peculiar Saddle-billed Stork), or a giant bat.
Frank Melland, in his 1923 book In Witchbound Africa, describes it as living along certain rivers, and very dangerous, often attacking small boats. They are typically described as either red or black in color, with a wingspan of 4 to 7 feet. Members of the local Kaonde tribe identified it as a pterodactyl after being shown a picture of one from Melland's book collection.
In 1956 an engineer, J.P.F. Brown, allegedly saw the creature at Fort Rosebery near Lake Bangweulu in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). It was about 6:00 p.m. when he saw two creatures flying slowly and silently directly overhead. He observed that they looked prehistoric. He estimated a wingspan of about 3 to 3 1/2 feet (1 meter) and a beak-to-tail length of about 4 1/2 feet (1.5 meters). It reportedly had a long thin tail, and a narrow head which he likened to an elongated snout of a dog.


The Jersey Devil, sometimes called the Leeds Devil, is a legendary creature or cryptid said to inhabit the Pine Barrens in southern New Jersey. The creature is often described as a flying biped with hooves, but there are many variations. The Jersey Devil has worked its way into the pop culture of the area, even lending its name to New Jersey's team in the National Hockey League.
Most accounts of the Jersey Devil legend attribute the creature to a "Mother Leeds", a supposed witch of whom it is said that while giving birth to her 13th child she screamed "let it be the devil!" thus the baby was born normally then transformed into a devil like creature, the grotesque offspring flew off into the surrounding pines.


The Thunderbird is a legendary creature in certain North American indigenous peoples' history and culture. It's considered a "supernatural" bird of power and strength. It is especially important, and richly depicted, in the art, songs and oral histories of many Pacific Northwest Coast cultures, and is found in various forms among the peoples of the American Southwest and Great Plains. Thunderbirds were major components of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex of American prehistory.
Across many North America indigenous cultures, the Thunderbird carries many of the same characteristics. It is described as a large bird, capable of creating storms and thundering while it flies. Clouds are pulled together by its wingbeats, the sound of thunder made by its wings clapping, sheet lightning the light flashing from its eyes when it blinks, and individual lightning bolts made by the glowing snakes that it carries around with it. In masks, it is depicted as many-colored, with two curling horns, and, often, teeth within its beak. The Native Americans believed that the giant Thunderbird could shoot lightning from its eyes.


The Maltese tiger, or blue tiger, is a suspected coloration morph of a tiger, reported mostly from the Fujian Province of China. It is said to have bluish fur with dark grey stripes. The term "Maltese" comes from domestic cat terminology for blue fur, and refers to the slate grey coloration. Many cats with such colouration are present in Malta, which may have given rise to the use of the adjective in this context; however the tigers have nothing to do with the island.
Most of the Maltese tigers reported have been of the South Chinese subspecies. The South Chinese tiger today is critically endangered, and the "blue" alleles may be wholly extinct. However, "blue" tigers have also been reported from Korea, home of Amur tigers.


The Mongolian Death Worm (Mongolian: олгой-хорхой, olgoi-khorkhoi, "large intestine worm") is a cryptid purported to exist in the Gobi Desert. It is generally considered a cryptozoological creature; one whose sightings and reports are disputed or unconfirmed.
It is described as a bright red worm with a wide body that is 2 to 5 feet (0.6 to 1.5m) long.
The Worm is the subject of a number of extraordinary claims by Mongolian locals - such as the ability of the worm to spew forth sulfuric acid that, on contact, will turn anything it touches yellow and corroded (which would kill a human), and its purported ability to kill at a distance by means of electric discharge.
Though natives of the Gobi have long told tales of the olgoi-khorkhoi, the creature first came to Western attention as a result of Professor Roy Chapman Andrews' 1926 book On the Trail of Ancient Man. The American palæontologist was not convinced by the tales of the monster that he heard at a gathering of Mongolian officials: "None of those present ever had seen the creature, but they all firmly believed in its existence and described it minutely."


Many skeptics consider lake monsters to be purely exaggerations or misinterpretations of known and natural phenomena, or else fabrications and hoaxes. Most lake monsters have no evidence besides alleged sightings and controversial photographs and a large portion are generally believed not to exist by conventional zoology and allied sciences. Misidentified sightings of seals, otters, deer, diving water birds, large fish such as giant sturgeons or wels catfish, logs, mirages, seiches, light distortion, crossing boat wakes, or unusual wave patterns have all been proposed to explain specific reports. Social scientists point out that descriptions of these creatures vary over time with the values and mood of the local cultures, following the pattern of folk beliefs and not what would be expected if the reports were of actual encounters with real animals.
According to the Swedish naturalist and author Bengt Sjögren (1980), the present day belief in lake-monsters is associated with the legends of kelpies[citation needed]. Sjögren claims that the accounts of lake-monsters have changed during history. Older reports often talk about horse-like appearances, but more modern reports often have more reptile and dinosaur-like-appearances, and Sjögren concludes that the legends of kelpies evolved into the present day legends of lake-monsters where the monsters changed the appearance since the discovery of dinosaurs and giant aquatic reptiles from the horse-like water-kelpie to a dinosaur-like reptile, often a plesiosaur.
Other widely varied theories have been presented by believers, including unknown species of giant freshwater eels or surviving aquatic, prehistoric reptiles, such as plesiosaurs. One theory holds that the monsters that are sighted are the occasional full-grown form of an amphibian species that generally stays juvenile all its life like the axolotl. Cryptozoologist Bernard Heuvelmans held throughout his life that plesiosaur-type sighting were actually an unknown species of long-necked seal.
In many of these areas, especially around Loch Ness, Lake Champlain and the Okanagan Valley, these lake monsters have become important tourist draws.


The Tsuchinoko (ツチノコ or 槌の子?) literally translating to "hammerspawn," is a legendary snake-like cryptid from Japan. The name tsuchinoko is prevalent in Western Japan, including Kansai and Shikoku; the creature is known as bachi hebi (バチヘビ?) in Northeastern Japan.
Tsuchinoko are described as being between 30 and 80 centimeters in length, similar in appearance to a snake, but with a central girth that is much wider than its head or tail, and as having fangs and venom similar to that of a viper. Some accounts also describe the tsuchinoko as being able to jump up to a meter in distance.
According to legend, some tsuchinoko have the ability to speak and a propensity for lying, as well as a taste for alcohol. Legend also records that it will sometimes swallow its own tail so that it can roll like a hoop, similar to the mythical Hoop snake.


Artificial cranial deformation or artificial deformation of the skull is any practice of intentionally deforming the skull of a human being. It is done by distorting the normal growth of a child's skull by applying force. It may also be performed as a rite of passage in adulthood or spiritual maturation.
Early examples of intentional human cranial deformation predate written history and date back to 45,000 BC in Neanderthal skulls from the Shanidar Cave in Iraq. Extreme practices have seemingly not persisted into this century, but mild forms are still practiced by various groups worldwide.
The earliest written record of cranial deformation dates to 400 BC in Hippocrates’ description of the Macrocephales people who were named for their practice of cranial modification (Gerszten and Gerszten, 1995).
The reasons for performing cranial deformation are varied but no one knows for sure.
A prominent hypothesis is that deformation was performed to signify group affiliation (Gerszten and Gerszten, 1995; Hoshower et al., 1995; Tubbs, Salter, and Oaks, 2006).
Or, it may have been done to demonstrate elite status. This may have played a key role in Egyptian and Mayan societies. Queen Nefertiti is often depicted with what may be an elongated skull, as is King Tutankhamen (Gerszten and Gerszten, 1995).


Morgellons (also called Morgellons disease or Morgellons syndrome), is a name given in 2002 by Mary Leitao[1] to a proposed condition referred to by the Centers for Disease Control as unexplained dermopathy and characterized by a range of cutaneous (skin) symptoms including crawling, biting, and stinging sensations; finding fibers on or under the skin; and persistent skin lesions (e.g., rashes or sores). Current scientific consensus holds that Morgellons is not a new disorder and is instead a new and misleading name for a well known condition. Most doctors, including dermatologists and psychiatrists, regard Morgellons as a manifestation of known medical conditions, including delusional parasitosis, although the Mayo Clinic says that some health professionals believe that Morgellons disease is a specific condition likely to be confirmed by future research.
Despite the lack of evidence that Morgellons is a novel or distinct condition and the absence of any agreed set of diagnostic symptoms, the Morgellons Research Foundation and self-diagnosed Morgellons patients have successfully lobbied members of Congress and the U.S. government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate the proposed condition. The CDC states that while it is not known at present whether the condition represents a new disease entity, or whether persons who identify themselves as having Morgellons have a common cause for their symptoms, share common risk factors, or are contagious, it has begun an epidemiological investigation of the "Unexplained Dermopathy (aka 'Morgellons')."

Well, that's just a few of the worlds mysteries that you can learn about. Who knows, maybe you could be the one to find out the truth behind them.

~Shara (P.S. all info from Wikipedia, pics from Google)

For all you prospective Cannibals out there...

Ever want to eat a human but were too afraid of the negative repercussions? Well, you may (or may not) have your chance with...HUFU!

Mark Nuckols, CEO of HUFU, states that it's a healthy alternative to human flesh. Now, there's been a lot of talk about whether or not HUFU is a real product, will ever be made, has already been made, or even actually tastes like human (let's be honest, if you know what human tastes like, you're not about to blab it to everyone you know.) Here's the Wiki page:

Personally, I've always had a morbid fascination with things like this. Cannibals, serial killers, cults, conspiracies, they've all caught my imagination because of how outlandish or truly frightning they can be. And while I have my own food phobias (I can't eat food that squeaks on my teeth or anything slimey...don't ask) I've actually been quite curious about trying this HUFU stuff if it actually comes to pass. I mean, what do I taste like? Chicken? Pork? Skittles? Oh wait, couldn't be Skittles, I'm not sweet enough... Bah, whatever, I still want to know what it tastes like!

There, I said it, I want to eat a fake human. *insert evil laugh here*

It's a strange product to be sure, but stranger things have been made that took off so who knows? With something as strange as HUFU and with so many starts and stops, we may never know what Long Pork really tastes like unless we happen to indulge in a little illegal activity, which is NOT recommended.

But wait, there's more! Apparently a trend is cropping up in Japan for Cannibal Banquets where you and your party is served a human body made entirely of food and it even 'bleeds' when you cut into it. Not sure how true this is either, but awesome nonetheless. Thank you Japan yet again for your wacky ideas!

Until next time my little cannibal wannabes!