In Their Own Rites

Brides, Babies, the
Dead & Your Ex-Lovers

And now for something completely different: need to cry a lot at your wedding? Check. Thought about giving the bones of your deceased relatives a brush? Check. What about dropping your baby off a balcony? Check that too. Aren’t we dizzy yet? Wait, the best is always last.
Ever thought of introducing your lover to your former partners? There’s a whole fair for that. Not to worry, though; each of these rituals is confined to a different culture; few partake of more than one of them. Besides, most of the population, of course, simply skip them all.
It’s not that we’re about to go all NatGeo on you, after the week we all just had. But this being Friday, reading about what people do around the world to give their lives meaning may feel just like putting out our own skin to dry: we have no choice but to be ‘us’ most of the time, but no one says we can’t get out of ourselves and enjoy the pasture.
Or something, we’re not sure. The only thing that may be undeniable about all these, though, is that none of this community rites you’re about to read below are harmful to those who enjoy participating in them. On the contrary, they’re are important cultural signposts that bring everyone together, and boy, don’t we need more examples like that?
So let’s get to it without bias, shall we? After all, heaven knows we all have our share of strange and mostly hardly logical rites and little Continue reading

Accessorizing

Recycling Stray Hair
For the Truly Fashionista

Two designers came up with very creative ways to reuse hair, feline and human: working independently, they developed a full line of beauty products that strike anyone for their originality.
Taiwanese hair salon owner Tsai Shiou-ying had already created some unusual brooches, a life-size pineapple and a rat sculpture, all using hair left over from her daily work.
But nothing pleased her as much as the pair of high-heel shoes she’s recently completed. It took the hair of three people (not all, just the hair they had already decided to cut, we hope) and a Continue reading

The Rice Is Wrong

China’s Poor Being
Fed By Plastic Rice

Now here’s a story we keep hoping it’s a hoax but so far there’s no sight of that being the case. Reports from Singapore and Vietnam have been documenting a number of food intoxication cases traced back by they eating fake rice.
The staple of Asian cuisine, rice is never missing from the daily Continue reading

More Than Nine Lives

World’s Oldest Cat
Is Not Slowing Down

You may remember a lot of what happened in 1972. While Abba played on, 100,000 people took the U.S. streets to protest the Vietnam war. It was the year of the infamous Sunday Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland, and the birth of Bangladesh and Shaquille O’Neal. It was also the last time a man walked on the moon.
1972 is when Lucy was born too. The 39-year old from Wales is believed to be the world’s oldest cat. Despite being deaf, she’s still fit and sharp as a whip, according to her family who has researched her past and concluded that she was born on Thomas Street, Lianelli, all those years ago.
For those who give currency to that sort of thing, 39 years in the life of a cat correspond to some 172 human years. We don’t usually do too well when reaching old age, though, and most if not all of us, never even considered including rodents in our diet. But cats do.
She’s oblivious to all the fuss, which is just fine since some buzzkill from the Guinness Book of Records made a point of saying that it has no entry for oldest cat. Whether they create one just for Lucy is besides the point: mice and small creatures still won’t be seen around for as long as she keeps a daily patrol of her domains.

Lax Protection

Despite Threat of Extinction,
Vietnam Plans Tiger Paste Sale

You’ve read here about a summit of 13 nations in Russia last month to discuss their commitment and strategies to protect the wild tiger, said to be facing a serious threat of extinction. Vietnam is among those nations.
But old, misguided cultural habits die much harder than these magnificent animals, it seems. Word just came out that Vietnamese authorities are planning a public auction of approximately six pounds of tiger paste – ground bones and Continue reading

Read My Leaks

Classified Data Exposes
a Senseless Afghan War

A trove of classified military documents about the war in Afghanistan, leaked to three major global newspapers over the weekend, is renewing questions about the validity of that conflict, while shedding a new light on some of the reasons for its overextended duration and the staggering human toll it’s exacting.

With the six-year secret reports the Wikileaks Website obtained without disclosing how and made available to the New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel, a much darker picture of that war effort began to emerge. Since the three newspapers Continue reading