Sunday, July 02, 2006

Pluck a grey hair and six grow in its place?

A few nights ago, as I visited one of my friends at work, he pulled me over to a corner and cried "can you see it?!" while pointing to his hair. After intensely examining his entire head, I did not notice anything out of the ordinary. He then screamed "I found a grey hair today--it's right there!" I told him to just pull it out if it's so traumatizing. He looked at me with disgust and told me that if he did, six more would grow in its place. My mother had said something similar when I was younger and her grey hairs had started to grow in. Has anyone else heard this old wives tale and does anyone believe it?

Rib removal for beauty?

Today I watched yet another VH1 celebrity special. This particular episode discussed celebrity plastic surgery. One commentator, a plastic surgeon, mentioned how his practice and many others are seeing celebrities on a daily baisis. He briefly mentioned rib removal as a type of cosmetic surgery.

I remembered hearing that some celebrities such as Cher, Tori Spelling, Kate Moss and Britney Spears had a few of their ribs removed to have smaller waistlines and therefore appear thinner. I researched this legend on a few websites and all seemed to say that rib removal is not done and has not been performed. I then dismissed it as a myth and never thought about it again until today. Apparently, rib removal can be and has been done, so I ask you all--do you think that some celebrities have had a few ribs removed for vanity's sake or do you agree with what Snopes has to say?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

One for the road

I don't know how many of you are still going to be checking this now that class is over, but I feel like such a blog hog that I will leave you a thought for the road

Do you think that Mentos and Coke will become the new Pop Rocks and Coke urban legend?

I thought to myself, what if someone ingests mentos and drinks a can of Coke with it? We all know the effect it has on a bottle of soda, imagine that in your stomach...yeesh

Well it's something to think about

Enjoy your summer


Waiting 30 minutes to an hour before you swim…my mom says the principle isn’t a myth.

So, I talked to my mom yesterday and she stuck to her guns about waiting to swim after you eat. She said there are physiological reasons to wait. It’s mostly a matter of blood flow. If you’ve eaten right before swimming, oxygenated blood is being shunted toward your gut (GI track, stomach ect.). Poor blood flow might lead to lactic acidosis, which causes cramps. She said that a cramp while you’re running or doing some sort of land based exercise might be painful, but in water, difficulty moving muscles could lead to drowning. She then referenced Harrison’s Principles of Internal medicine Braunwald “Lactic acid is produced at accelerated rates in skeletal muscle and other tissue whenever oxygenation is inadequate to supply energy needs.” I told her that I believed her. She said that the reason, many people probably consider this rule an old wives tale is because it’s imprecise. The amount and type of food you’ve eaten will have an impact on cramps. 30 minutes might not be enough if you’ve had a large steak and potatoes and then want to go swim in deep ocean waters.
That made sense to me. My mom is a radiologist so the studies she’s conducted had nothing to do with cramps, but there are doctors that have studied the subject. Doctors Darren Morton and Robin Callister have extensively studied stomach cramps related to exercise which they call “exercise-related transient abdominal pain (ETAP) or stitches. Dr. Callister said that “you are most likely to get a stitch if you've consumed food or drink fairly shortly before you exercise” (MSN). So there is some truth to waiting to eat before you swim. Callister and Morton did say that the type of food makes a difference because carbohydrates will be burned faster than protein or fat. In the article they discuss this subject in mentions a professional swimmer that eats all the time during her swims. Here’s the article.

JFK's jelly-doughnut speech

This is what I wrote my final paper on. I always completely believed it and never questionned it until this class. Just interesting. JFK said he was a jelly doughnut.

Unsolved Mysteries

Did any of you used to watch that TV show, "Unsolved Mysteries?" (It came on right before Rescue! 911...) I always wondered a few things when I was little about that show:
1- How come the camera people didn't stop the bad guys in the middle of the crime?!
-Of course, the clips on the show were reenactments. But I didn't know that until years later.
2- If I called in and said I saw a guy that looked like their bad guy, would they really come arrest him?
-Apparently, the show was one of the first TV-audience interactive programs to air, and the contributions of viewers really did help solve hundreds of cases (including criminals, missing people, family reunions...)

That show covered everything from "Mothman" to missing children to crop circles to ghosts... I used to love it!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Sports Casters believe baseball created in US: PTI's Wilbon says so

This is for all you sports fans. I found an example of how pervasive the creation myth about baseball is. I had PTI (Pardon the Interruption) on a day or two after the US lost to Ghana and was kicked out of the World Cup series. At the top of the rundown list was the US loss to Ghana. In the discussion about the World Cup, Wilbon argued that until we care more about Soccer, we can’t expect to do very well. He said (and I’m paraphrasing) that it’s not a sport that was created in America like baseball or basketball. Tony Korheiser, the other host, did not object to Wilbon’s claims and I’m pretty sure that the show didn’t receive a hoard of angry e-mails from PTI watchers wondering why Wilbon and Korheiser think that baseball was created in the US. In this case, the baseball creation myth serves a purpose. Wilbon was using the myth as a justification for America’s lack of dedication to a sport that “doesn’t belong to us.” I searched on the web for a transcript from that day, but couldn’t find one. But here’s a link to a traveling Baseball As America exhibit that’s currently in my home state, Michigan. It’s at the Henry Ford Museaum in Dearborn. In a press release about the exhibit Douglas McDonald the president and CEO of the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal hailed Cincinnati as a perfect place for the exhibit. “As the birthplace of professional baseball, Cincinnati is the perfect city to host an important historical and cultural exhibit like Baseball As America.” Is Cincinnati the birthplace of professional baseball? I’m not sure, but another press release about the exhibit says it contains the baseball from the “mythic first game in 1839.” Was the first game in 1839? Check it out.

The “Pancaking” Phenomenon

In the “9/11 debunking the Myths” article, PM refutes many 9/11 conspiracy theories. At the top of the article PM explains that they consult experts to ‘debunk’ the 9/11 myths. One of the myths PM goes after is the “puffs of dust” theory, which basically states that “concrete clouds shooting out a building are not possible from a mere collapse.” PM found the analysis of the collapse in a book entitled Painful Questions: An Analysis of the September 11th Attack. Apparently, the book cites Van Ramero, an explosives expert and VP of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. PM explains that the expert, Ramero, believes the “puffs of dust” could only have come from explosive devices similar to those designed to take down an “old building”. Well, PM disputes these claims with their own expert, David Biggs, “a structural engineer at Ryan-Biggs Associates and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) team that worked on the FEMA report.” Biggs explains that the collapsing was basically due to the “pancaking” phenomenon. As the levels of the building began to fall on top of each other they compressed debris and expelled it, which created the “puffs of dust.” My question is who to believe. Both analyses use experts? In debunking any type of myth how do you weigh in on the battle of the experts?

For those into weather like me

I decided to base my paper topic for this week on weather, specifically lightning, since I saw one of the most amazing lightning shows during last Friday's torrential rainstorm. If you are still thinking of a topic, HERE is a place to explore many myths surrounding stormy weather.

Side note: I personally found it hard to think of a topic for my last paper, I feel like we've covered every possible urban legend/myth that I've ever known in the last six weeks...but this link will help you if you are still stuck

Cabbage Patch dolls...survivors of nuclear war?

I rememember being little and wanting a Cabbage Patch doll so badly because all of my friends had multiple dolls. After I finally got one I realized they were not that exciting...until now... I found an article on Snopes that says there was an urban legend that claimed Cabbage Patch dolls were modeled after people who survived a nuclear war. They were meant to be unattractive to get people used to the idea, so that when the time came, the supposed mutants would not seem so ugly and the human race would survive and reproduce. Some legends blame the Reagan administration, while others blame the CIA. The site also goes into more detail and other Cabbage Patch legends.

(My hyperlink button isn't working, but I'll check back later. Sorry.)

Ciara, a hermaphrodite?

I have heard from many friends about Ciara having a sex change operation, or being a hermaphrodite. click on this link to read more on it, btw it's not true!

Tori's Amends

Over dinner tonight, I was listening to a friend's story concerning the death of TV producer Aaron Spelling (RIP). It was said that the day before Tori, who had a long time dispute with her father, had gone to him to make amends for their past troubles. According to eyewitnesses armed with digital cameras and phone cameras, they saw Tori Spelling out and about at the time when she allegedly said that she was with her father. I don't really know if this is true, but it sounds like something Entertainment Tonight would want to talk about. Has anyone else heard this story anywhere?

Rock Myths

A Top Ten list of rock myths can be found there. Most of them we talked about in class but there are a couple of new ones and some expanding on the others.

Buffet, Gates, Morgan, money leads to Urban legend status

So, I’m sure people heard about Warran Buffet’s 31 billion dollar contribution to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Apparently, Buffet said that he’s giving money to the foundation because he would not be as devoted in that endeavor as the Gateses have been. Which is probably true since Bill Gates recently announced that he would step down as the managing CEO of the company and dedicate himself to the running of his foundation.
This raises a couple of questions. First more and more of the worlds capital is controlled by fewer and fewer hands. The 2005 Human Development Report published by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) reported that the “richest 50 individuals in the world have a combined income greater than that of the poorest 416 million.” “The 2.5 million people living on less than 2 dollars a day, 40 percent of the world’s population, receive only 5 percent of global income, while 54% of global income goes to the riches 10% of the world’s population.”
Second, if fewer and fewer control the wealth, will that relieve governments from dealing with the poor of their country? Don’t get me wrong. The Gates Foundation has high aspirations. According to the NY Times Bill Gates said that they are putting money towards research into finding an AIDS vaccine as well as vaccines for other fatal diseases.
In many ways the Gates foundation can do a lot of good, but is it enough? For example, the foundation doesn’t tackle infrastructure issues, which can effect real change. The New York Times reports that they build model schools instead of putting money into failing public education. The foundation also does things like put money into looking for the aforementioned vaccines or providing resources to prevent illness in some situations, but they don’t try to tackle health cares systems. I’m not saying they should, but I think this marks a shift in the world as the wealth distribution gap gets wider and wider.
Bringing the topic back to the subject of urban legend and invented tradition, I think that we will remember these never before seen economic giants in big ways. I think that the same way that Carnegie and Rockefeller are remembered as sort of separate from who they might have been. In many ways, the widening distribution of wealth will mean that people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet will become an even bigger part of our folklore than Carnegie and Rockefeller once were. According to the NY times Jean Strouse compiled an oral history project on the foundation has written a biography about another very wealthy American JP Morgan. How much in the official histories of these people will they be lifted to legend status? Here’s a link to an interview with Strouse. Read her first response, which details the way others had written about Morgan.

Snow White....

Has anybody ever heard the idea that the Seven Dwarfs from Snow White represent the "seven levels" of cocaine dependency?

"Many types of drug abuse (and physical or mental illnesses) can produce symptoms such as changes in sleep/wake patterns (Sleepy), mood swings (Happy, Grumpy), alteration of personality (Dopey, Bashful), and allergies (Sneezy) -- eventually necessitating a trip to the Doc."

On Snopes there's an article that discusses a rumor that Walt Disney was a cocaine addict, and that this movie was the proof. It points out that people like to make up morbid stories about children's culture (think about our child-star discussion and the rumors about the Blue's Clues guy....). It also mentions the films Fantasia and Alice in Wonderland, both of which have been criticized because when they were realeased, they "drew crowds of college students who found the films' melding of color, light, music, and imagery made them ideal psychedelic 'head' flicks." (quotations from Snopes). The truth is that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was based on a Grimm Brothers tale from a century earlier. But there are still lots of rumors about Disney's films. People take wholesome pop icons and make negative accusations against them (drugs, sexuality, life history...).

Manhattan Gators!

In another search for an interesting urban legend, I found one about full grown allegators in the sewer system of new York City. This urban legend states that a few decades ago, wealthy people used to buy (or steal) baby allegators from florida and bring them back so that thier kids can raise them. Well, obviously, the Gator would grow up, so as they did grow up and become a burden on the family they would be flushed down the toilet. Apparently, many poeple did this in the legend so there is a "colony" of allegators in the sewer sytems.

The legend seems factually plausible, but I definitely think that it is false just because it is kind of a stretch to think that Allegators could survive in our waste and by-products.

Rat Thought to be a Dog

As I scanned through some more urban legends, I came accross this one in which a family adopts a dog that was apparently a stray near the docks by thier house. When the Dog ate the family's cat, it was rushed to the Vet to have surgery (so that the cats bones dont cause internal injury to the dog) when the Vet told the family that it was a 40-pount Cambodian RAT that somehow came by boat!!

It boggles my mind how someone could mistake a rat for a dog, but it still could be possible that someone stupid enough would bring one home...

Could a 40-pound rat look like any small dogs?

GW Crime Statistics

The GW UPD Website posts crime statistics. Here is the link.

Seems like GW does not ever have hate crimes. At least not in the years reported.
Liquor law violations are a big number 393 in last year reported. There is probably a connection to the sex stuff.

Libby - I do not know what GW Deparment has sex statistics. Okay, kidding.

Katrina Quotes

Think what you will about the Katrina disaster, but there was enough inanity to go around. At one point, after reading stupid quote after stupid quote in a variety of places, I started to collect them. Okay, so I didn't get too far and I moved on to other things, but here is the list I started:

Neal Boortz, suggesting that a victim of Hurricane Katrina housed in an Atlanta hotel consider prostitution: "I dare say she could walk out of that hotel and walk 100 yards in either direction on Fulton Industrial Boulevard here in Atlanta and have a job. What's that? Well, no, no, no. ... Well, you know what? [laughing] Now that you mention it ... [i]f that's the only way she can take care of herself, it sure beats the hell out of sucking off the taxpayers." [Cox Radio Syndication's The Neal Boortz Show, 10/24/05]

"You simply get chills every time you see these poor individuals...many of these people, almost all of them that we see are so poor and they are so black, and this is going to raise lots of questions for people who are watching this story unfold." --CNN's Wolf Blitzer, on New Orleans' hurricane evacuees, Sept. 1, 2005 (Source)

"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." --President Bush, to FEMA director Michael Brown, while touring hurricane-ravaged Mississippi, Sept. 2, 2005 (Source) (Listen to audio clip)

"Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?" --House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX), to three young hurricane evacuees from New Orleans at the Astrodome in Houston, Sept. 9, 2005 (Source)

George bush: "We've got a lot of rebuilding to do. First, we're going to save lives and stabilize the situation. And then we're going to help these communities rebuild. The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now -- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch." (Laughter) --touring hurricane damage, Mobile, Ala., Sept. 2, 2005

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Theme Park Urban Legends

While brainstorming for our last paper, I was trying to think of some legends regarding ammusment parks. The only one I can remember came from my childhood and from the redneck park "Silverdollar City" and its mine ride--"Fire in the Hole." My older brother and his girlfriend refused to go on it, because acording to him, his girlfriend, as a child, saw a man decapated on it. I tried to track this down on the internet but could not find anything to substantiate that this ever happened. I would imagine that I would be able to if it did happen. Also, it is hard to imagine how a decapitation of a single individual on such a ride would have occured. My brothers then girlfriend is now his wife so I will try to get the story as she remembers it from her.
Snopes has only one rollercoaster related story on its site--a girl who was scalped when her hair got stuck on the coasters machinery. It turns out that one is true. You can see more here.
I tend to assume many stories of this nature are fake but there are more fatalities at theme parks than I thought: look at this site.
Has anybody else encountered stories of disasters at theme parks?

Mutilated Cats a Trend?

There Is a rumor of this man who takes baby kittens and sells them in Japan. These are not cute, ordinary kittens though and you would be surprised how they do look! This man gives them a muscle relaxer and then lets them develop trapped inside a glass bottle. Eventually the kitten takes the shape of the bottle and then at full growth the bottle is broken to have your Own personally shaped kitten. Isn't that horrible...anyways here's the link:

Murder In the Dark

I was reading through the site "urban-legends-online" and came across one about a college girl who was murdered in the dark in her dorm room while her roomate was there. In the morning when they woke up there was the girls blood on the wall saying "aren't you glad you didnt turn the light on?"

I believe this was also used in a movie. (I think it was the urban legends movie...)
Well I highly doubt that this is a true story. I feel as if this was more of a creepy story that could have been told around campuses to either scare the hell out of students, or as a reminder to lock your doors (the murdered girl did not lock the door because the roomate was out partying and they had agreed not to lock it.)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Crazy timing...

Just as we are talking about conspiracy theories, I get invite to join this Facebook group called "The Truth." They asked that I watch this video. What do y'all think?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

PARADE’s Annual List Of...The World’s 10 Worst Dictators

Here is the link to parade magazines top ten.
All are special in their infamy, but my favorite is #8 from Turkminestan. His name is Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov or you can just call hem "Turkmenbashi"
Niyazov is an authoritarian leader and is notorious in Western countries for the personality cult that he has established around himself in Turkmenistan. Claiming Turkmenistan to be a nation devoid of a national identity, he has attempted to rebuild the country to his own vision. He renamed the town of Krasnovodsk, on the Caspian Sea, Turkmenbashi after himself, in addition to renaming several schools, airports and even a meteorite after himself and his immediate family. Niyazov's face appears on all Manat banknotes and large portraits of the president hang all over the country, especially on major public buildings and avenues. Statues of himself and his mother are scattered all over Turkmenistan, including one in the middle of the Kara Kum desert as well as a gold-plated statue atop Ashgabat's largest building, the Neutrality Arch, that rotates so it will always face into the sun and shine light onto the capital city. Niyazov has commissioned a massive palace in Ashgabat commemorating his rule. He has been given the hero of Turkmenistan award five times. "I'm personally against seeing my pictures and statues in the streets - but it's what the people want," Niyazov has said.
The education system indoctrinates young Turkmen to love Niyazov, with his works and speeches making up most of their textbooks' content. The primary text is a national epic written by Niyazov, the Ruhnama or Book of the Soul. This book, a mixture of revisionist history and moral guidelines, is intended as the "spiritual guidance of the nation" and the basis of the nation's arts and literature. With Soviet-era textbooks banned without being replaced by new publications, libraries are left with little more than Niyazov's works. In 2004, the dictator ordered the closure of all rural libraries on the grounds that he thought that village Turkmen do not read. In Niyazov's home village of Kipchak, a complex has been built to the memory of his mother, including a mosque (est. at $100 million) conceived as a symbol of the rebirth of the Turkmen people. The walls of this edifice display precepts from the Ruhnama along with Qur'an suras.

Hot Lixx Hulahan Air Guitar Champion

In case you you missed it, Hot Lixx Hulahan was crowned U.S. champion air guitarist Friday. He will now represent the U.S. in World Air Guitar Championships in Finland on September 8th.
This article details how heavy the compition was.

Short clip frm the Minneapolis regionals on fox news here.

TV funhouse link

Earlier this week in class when we discussed Disney urban legends, I mentioned a cartoon skit on SNL. This skit features several of the topics that were brought up. Visit the link below and enjoy!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Revisiting the Exploding Mentos and Diet Coke Story

Tonight, I was flipping through the channels on TV and I saw a show that was demonstrating the mentos and diet coke explosion. I didn't know what the show was so I looked it up on TV Guide and was surprised to find out it was on NUMB3RS, which I have never seen before. Still, from what I've heard about the show I don't know what the mentos and diet coke volcano has to do with solving crimes. So it's pretty interesting that people are so fascinated by it that it ends up on fictional TV shows and not just the news.