Why You Shouldn’t Eat Your Boogers – Factoid #4

Okay, after yesterday’s… and the day before… post, I am sick (literally) of buggy facts. So today is a bug-free factoid!

Today, I wanted to post the answer to a question most of us have asked at least once in our lives.

What does human flesh taste like?

In 1972, survivors of a Uruguayan plane crash were stranded in the Andes. To avoid starvation, they decided to eat the flesh of fellow passengers killed in the accident. After they were rescued, survivors said that they had cooked the meat briefly and “the slight browning of the flesh gave it an immeasurably better flavor – softer than beef but with much the same taste.”

However, infamous murderer Arthur Shawcross, who took the lives of eleven women in New York from 1989 to 1990, said cooked human flesh tastes like a nice roast pork.

Whether human flesh tastes like pork or beef, the fact remains that it can be dangerous to partake of such a diet. In the 1960s, there were epidemic levels of a rare and fatal brain disorder called kuru among the Fore (pronounced for-ay) tribespeople who lived in the highlands of Papau New Guinea. Many of them died from kuru during this period, and their deaths are thought to have been caused by the transmission of a virus-like particle, through the tribal practice of cannibalism.

Traditionally, when a member of the group died, he or she would be dissected and wrapped, and then steamed in a fire. During the funeral the brain would be presented to the closest female relative, and she and her children would be given the honor of eating it. Unfortunately, the virus-like particle which causes kuru is found in highest concentration in the brain. Consequently, the Fore’s traditional rites were the key factor in the spread of this disease.

The tribespeople believed that kuru was caused by sorcery and could not be convinced that it was due to eating human remains. However, despite this, most of them did stop eating human body parts once they were ordered to do so by police and threatened with imprisonment. Once the cannibalism was stopped, the disease also abated.

Fritz Haarmann (1879-1925) became known as the “Butcher of Hanover” and was thought to have been responsible for the deaths of up to fifty boys and men. After Germany’s First World War defeat, Haarmann opened a butcher’s shop The shop prospered, mainly because he sold cheap, fresh meat at a time of great hunger when meat was scarce. After attacking and killing his victims, Haarmann would chop up their bodies and make them into sausage meat, which he cooked and served to his favorite customers. In 1924, a woman who had bought some of his beef became suspicious and contacted the police. The meat was sent to an expert analyst, who somehow concluded that the meat was in fact pork! Nonetheless, the police eventually found grisly evidence for twenty-seven of the murders, and Haarman was sentenced to death by beheading.

Discussions around our dinner table while I was growing up got around to this topic from time to time. Often, when my working mom was asked “what’s for dinner?” for the twenty-seventh time of the evening, she would irritably replay “Long Pork” and give us the stink-eye.

But is it pork? or is it beef, like the the Andes crash survivor’s said? Issei Sagawa, the son of a wealthy Tokyo industrialist, said it had no smell or taste, but rather melted in his mouth like raw tuna. I, personally, am not willing to find out.

For more info on cannibalizing serial killers, visit Cannibals Anonymous. Some of the info is creepy (okay, all of it), and after a few bites of stories, you definitely get your fill, but it is a buffet of abnormal psych laid out in a most palatable fashion.  I never knew there was such a variety of psychopaths!  ;-)

This post is part of the Boogers and Book Bucks Giveaway. Don’t forget to enter at the original post for your official entry. Comments here count as a bonus entry :-D

The Sunday Salon

The Sunday Salon.com

Let’s see, this week I’ve been friends with a snowman and a rabbit. I’ve b,een to Papau New Guinea, Boston, Czechoslavakia, and the Congo. I’ve lived in Kabul and Pakistan in a time women had no rights. I’ve been enraptured by the stories of a second-grader in Watertower and China. I’ve been out to the county fair, where we ate swamp fries, roas’nears and elephant ears, and drank lemon shake-ups to our hearts content. AND, yesterday morning, I took Maggie for breakfast at her favorite place, The White House.

Okay, the first four sentences were things I did in books, I read and reviewed The Rabbit and the Snowman, The White Mary, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and Gooney Bird Greene.

But we did go to the county fair and we really did eat breakfast at the White House. Of course, when the county fair is open, you have to go more than one day. You have to see the animals and the merchants one night, and do the midway on another night.

So Monday was roosters, rabbits and merchants night, which is my favorite. I love going through the merchants buildings and signing up for every single drawing every business, church or club offers. In the past I’ve one a DirectTV satellite package, Avon baskets, shirts, and other stuff I can’t remember. This year, though, so many were offering gas cards. That kinda sucks, since I don’t drive… but I signed up for them anyway.

On Wednesday, we went for bracelet night at the midway. I even got a bracelet, which is stupid because I have vertigo. Maggie and I rode an up and down kind of ride. It didn’t spin, so I thought I’d be safe… wrong. But I know to focus on one spot to keep from getting sick… Maggie, poor Maggie, did not. She quickly exited the side of the ride and lost her lunch. She was pretty much ready to go home after that. I have a question for any med-savvy people, Maggie has eczema that flared this week, so she’d taken Benadryl, can that make you more prone to motion sickness? I told her that’s why she got sick.

Oh well, we went to look at the horses after that. We scratched several piggie’s backs and made our way back to the midway for our last ride. By then Mag’s stomach was settled, and our tradition is to save the Ferris wheel for our final fair event. The thing creaked and groaned and scared poor Maggie, who thought with certainty we were going to plummet to our deaths. I told her it just needed some WD-40 and we were safe, though I secretly agreed with her and I never get frightened on rides!

We lived.

Breakfast at the White House… I’m sure you’ve been dying to know. Here in Logansport, there is a restaurant called “White House”. It is owned by Lester, who has been cooking at the White House since my momma was a little girl, and that’s saying something! Mags and me, we always order the same thing, eggs over easy, toast with extra butter, smoked sausage and bacon, home fries with onions, chocolate mile for Mags and coffee for me. We always have the same waitress, Karen, so we never actually have to tell her what we want, unless we are adding a pancake with peanut butter like we did yesterday. Mag’s loves Karen, who’s watched her grow since we had our first breakfast there when Maggie was three. Like most places Maggie goes, she gets away with a lot at the White House… she brings flowers and a smile, and all the orneriness she can muster!

Also this week, I found FRED, where Julie shared the Fart in the Duck, Fyrefly asked Where the Hell is Matt and Suey shared her addiction to Vlogbrothers.

My First Ever Giveaway!! is winding down… only 11 days until it closes! Right now, I have 584 entries, and am giving away a $20, a $10, and a $5 Borders gift card. 16 more entries will add another $10 gift card, and at 700 I was going to add another $5, but I’ve been thinking… that’s such a great number, that it might be more. So… if you haven’t entered to win yet, do it now!
Enter to WIN!!

The White Mary by Kira Salak

 

The White Mary by Kira Salak

The White Mary by Kira Salak

Title: The White Mary: A Novel
Author: Kira Salak
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company, LLC
Publish Date: 2008
ISBN: 9780805088472

The White Mary is journalist and author Kira Salak‘s first fictional novel. Salak opens the book with a letter to the reader explaining her own background and similarities to her main character, Marika Vecera, and with a little background of Papau New Guinea. As authors are so often advised to write what they know, Salak draws on her own experiences reporting in dangerous places and her extensive research of PNG for her book Four Corners: A Journey into the Heart of Papau New Guinea. With her wealth of experience to draw on, Salak recreates an amazingly real world within the pages of The White Mary.

Marika Vecera is a broken soul. Experiencing pain and loss from the age of 6, when she lost her father in their native Czechoslavakia when he was executed as a spy against the communists. Her mother never recovered from the loss and eventually suffered a mental break, leaving her with schizophrenia. Marika has no one left in the world to care about her, and after reading a book by journalist superstar Rob Lewis, decides to follow in Lewis’s footsteps and becomes the rare female war reporter. Then when she least expects it, she finds love and the potential for happiness with Seb whose working on his psychology doctorate. When Marika hears the report of the suicide of her idol, Lewis, she decides to write his biography. While researching and interviewing Lewis’s sister, Marika comes across a letter that claims Lewis is still alive in Papau New Guinea. When she can’t get this idea out of her head, she decides to fly to PNG and find him.

This book is about one woman’s journey of learning to love and forgive herself, and to accept that life isn’t done to you, but that you have the choice to live in happiness or misery.

Real courage isn’t about visiting the world’s hells and returning alive to tell about it -it’s always been easy for her to risk her life, and even easier to get herself killed. What takes real courage is choosing to live, choosing to save herself at all costs. Which means looking into her darkness and pain, and figuring out how she got there, and how she can get out… She won’t do it just for herself, but for the world. For all the ugliness in it. And for all the grace.

The White Mary by Kira Salak, page 347

For my part, I could really relate to Marika. I understood her motivations, and could really feel for her. The walls she built to protect herself from pain, her distrust of anything good and happy, her self-destructive behaviors in order to not think or feel for five minutes, are all very real to me. The journey through Papau New Guinea was on the surface a search for her hero, but really it was a journey within herself and ultimately presented her with the choice of shutting down and becoming bitter and withdrawn or choosing a life of happiness and love and a part of society.

I would have to say, though, if you are religiously sensitive to polytheism, animism and atheism, this book might not be for you. Given the subject matter, you must realize it’s got a bit of an agnostic at best spiritual thread. It opens with a Gnostic quote, argues a angry, cruel and unjust god who plays favorites throughout the book, and ends with Marika acknowledging “God/the Universe/Whoever/Whatever” moves in the world. It weaves in a little Hinduism and Buddhism along the way, as well. And, for good measure, throws in a pervie pastor. It’s not specifically anti-christian, but it could offending the religiously sensitive.

Also, this book contains graphic imagery of rape, genocide, and torture. One particular scene towards the end is stomach turning and difficult to read. It has several graphic sexual passages, including outside the normal types.

One side note: I think The White Mary would make a brilliant movie. I think it would translate to the big screen very well. It’s full of exotic scenery, suspense and action, with a spirituality very popular today. The book had a Sean Connery’s Medicine Man feel to it with the surly antisocial doctor gone somewhat native and the outsider woman who finds him.

The Where’s your book set? meme

The Where’s your book set? meme

I found this on Blue Archipelago’s Sunday Salon post, and thought it’d be fun.  Here’s how it works – just answer some or all of the following questions about the book you are currently reading (or just finished if you are between books).

Here’s the questions:

1. Title and author of the book

2. What year is the book set in?

3. What happened on this day in that year? Go to google and type in the date ie 13 July 1952 and see if you can find a news item for that day.

4. Where is your book set?

5. Have you visited that place before? If yes tell us something about your trip. If no, look the location up on google and tell us an interesting fact about the city/country.

My answers:

1.  I’m currently reading The White Maryby Kira Salak (I’m also reading Why You Shouldn’t Eat Your Boogers but that wouldn’t play well with this meme)

2.  I’m not sure if it has a year, just current.  For the purposes of the meme I’ll say 2007.

3.  “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” opened in theaters on July 13th, 2007 (That would have made it a Friday the 13th…. perfectly witchy day for a witchy movie.)

4.  The White Maryis mainly set in Papau New Guinea and Boston, though there are a few other places Marika goes.

5.  I have not visited PNG, myself, but my dad did on a layover to Australia.  I haven’t been to Boston, either.  Wikepedia says this of PNG:

It is one of the most diverse countries on Earth, with over 850 indigenous languages and at least as many traditional societies, out of a population of just under 6 million.

And I thought Vietnam’s 57 different ethnicities and languages was a lot… 850!

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