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Body Manipulation
The BBC reports that a "Miss Plastic Surgery" beauty contest will be held in China in October. All the contestants must have enhanced their appearance via cosmetic surgery. The inspiration for the event came after a woman was barred from a beauty contest on account of her surgical enhancements. What surprises me here is that China has beaten America to the punch on this one. Where is our Miss Plastic Surgery contest? I thought Fox would have dreamed up something like this ages ago.
Categories: Body Manipulation
Posted by Alex on Thu Aug 05, 2004
Comments (6)
image Dr. Clive Boddicker is a plastic surgeon who's discovered the secret of true happiness. Happiness is looking like one of the Baldwin brothers. And his Baldwinization procedure makes this possible. It "results in the patient's perfect resemblance of the Baldwin brother of their choice." For top dollar you can get 'The Alec.' But if you're on a tight budget you might have to settle for 'The Daniel.' Both men and women can undergo the Baldwinization procedure. (via New Yorkish)
Categories: Body Manipulation, Websites
Posted by Alex on Tue Jul 20, 2004
Comments (2)
Kids nowadays! What will they think of next? Reuters is reporting that a popular new pasttime amongst youngsters in the Florida Keys is to dangle themselves from meat hooks attached to bamboo tripods set up at the beach, and then just hang out that way for a while. Apparently the Coast Guard found "a young woman, her feet brushing the surface of the shallow water, dangled from the frame, hooks embedded firmly in her shoulders." I don't know. I thought I had come across some pretty strange things in my time, but meat-hook dangling definitely took me by surprise. But then, when I was over the initial shock, I immediately thought of the sport of Monkey Fishing, which Slate.com wrote about back in 1996. Monkey Fishing (which also, according to Slate, was popular down in the Florida Keys) involves rowing up to the island of Lois Key which contains a population of wild monkeys, attaching a piece of fruit to a fishing line, throwing the fruit to the monkeys, waiting until the monkeys impale themselves on the hook when they try to eat the fruit, and then yanking the poor animals into the water. Monkey Fishing, of course, turned out to be a hoax which Slate was taken in by. So could meat-hook dangling be the new monkey fishing? Reuters says that the Coast Guard vouches for the reality of meat-hook dangling, but I'd like to see some pictures and get a little more proof before I totally accept this story.
Categories: Body Manipulation, Sports
Posted by Alex on Mon Jul 19, 2004
Comments (48)
Apparently there's a tradition in India that a eunuch can show up at a house after a birth or marriage and ask for money. But nowadays more and more fake eunuchs are elbowing in on this lucrative market... much to the annoyment of the real eunuchs. The fake eunuchs are also involved in a lot of other even more criminal activities: "From extorting money to robbing shopkeepers and passengers in trains, these fake eunuchs are running a parallel network." Honestly, I never knew there was such a thing as a eunuch crime network, let alone a parallel fake eunuch crime network. For some reason this sounds like something out of a Monty Python skit.
Categories: Body Manipulation, Identity/Imposters
Posted by Alex on Wed Jul 07, 2004
Comments (8)
Most people have probably heard that old urban legend about a guy who shares a drink with a stranger at a bar and then wakes up in a bathtub full of ice the next morning without a kidney... the victim of kidney harvesters. But the following case is almost the exact opposite. Members of the 'Jesus Christians' cult are lying and scheming in order to get rid of their kidneys, even though the medical authorities don't want them. The leader of the cult, Dave McKay, encourages his followers to donate their kidneys. He considers the donation to be a kind of sacrifice to Christ. The problem is that Australia, where the cult is based, doesn't allow kidney donations from strangers because they don't want to encourage a black market in organs. Therefore the Jesus Christians are resorting to deception in order to fob off their kidneys. So what would happen if you shared a drink with a stranger in a bar... who turned out to be a Jesus Christian? I don't even want to think about it.
Categories: Body Manipulation, Religion, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Wed Jul 07, 2004
Comments (12)
image The Russian Museum of Erotica, newly opened in St. Petersburg, has been crowing about its acquisition of the penis of Rasputin (the mad mystic and lover of the wife of the Russian Tsar). A photo accompanying the many news reports about this unusual exhibit shows an attractive young woman staring rather in awe at the huge, grotesque thing as it floats in formaldehyde (there's another picture here). It definitely looks like a penis, but is it Rasputin's penis (which, according to legend, was 13 inches long)?

As it turns out, Rasputin's penis has had a rather colorful history since its separation from his body. Here are some of the highlights. In 1916 Rasputin and his penis parted ways due to the machinations of a murdering gang of angry nobles. But, according to rumor, a maid found the bodiless member at the crime scene and saved it. During the 1920s a group of Russian women living in Paris acquired it (or acquired something that they believed to be his penis) and worshipped it as a kind of holy relic, while keeping it inside a wooden casket. Rasputin's daughter, Marie, didn't like the idea of her Dad's penis hanging out with these women, so she demanded the thing back. And it presumably stayed with her until she died in California in 1977. It then disappeared for a while until it came into the possession of Michael Augustine, who found it tucked away in a velvet pouch along with some of Marie Rasputin's manuscripts that he bought at a lot sale. Augustine sold the well-travelled penis to Bonham's auction house who then discovered (surprise, surprise!) that what they had bought was not a penis, but instead a sea cucumber.

That's where events stood in 1994. Now, ten years later the Russian Museum of Erotica is claiming that they have Rasputin's penis. Igor Knyazkin, the director of the Museum, claims that he bought it from a French antiquarian for $8,000. Which just begs the question: where did this French antiquarian get the penis from? One might also wonder why the Museum's penis is preserved in fluid, whereas all early accounts of Rasputin's penis describe it as dried out.
Categories: Body Manipulation, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Thu Jun 24, 2004
Comments (88)
The phrase 'penis-melting Zionist robot combs,' while not widely known, does seem to be growing in popularity. The phrase refers to a mass panic that swept through Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, in September 2003. The people of Khartoum feared that a Satanic foreigner was going around shaking hands with Sudanese men and thereby causing their penises to melt upwards inside their body. In one case a man reported that he was approached by a stranger at the market. The stranger handed him a comb and asked him to comb his hair. "When he did so, within seconds... he felt a strange sensation and discovered that he had lost his penis." The Sudanese journalist Ja'far Abbas interjected a note of scientific rationality into the growing hysteria by making this observation in his column in the Saudi daily Al-Watan:

No doubt, this comb was a laser-controlled surgical robot that penetrates the skull [and passes] to the lower body and emasculates a man!!
I wanted to tell that man who fell victim to the electronic comb: 'You jackass, how can you put a comb from a man you don't know to your head, while even relatives avoid using the same comb?!' ... That man [i.e. the mysterious stranger], who, as it is claimed, is from West Africa, is an imperialist Zionist agent that was sent to prevent our people from procreating and multiplying.


James Taranto wrote about this case of mass hysteria in the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web Today column (October 2003), and he's credited with the first use of the phrase 'penis-melting zionist robot combs' (although I can't actually see where in the article he uses that specific phrase). I think people mostly just like repeating the phrase because it sounds cool, but I guess it could also be used to refer to any instance of extreme gullibility. For instance, one might say to a friend, 'that's a rather penis-melting-zionist-robot-comb-like belief you hold.'

Incidentally, shrinking-penis fears are centuries old, and there's even a term to describe them: Koro, or (more scientifically) 'genital retraction syndrome.'
Timothy Hall has an interesting analysis of this syndrome on his UCSD webpage.
Categories: Body Manipulation, Mass Delusion
Posted by Alex on Mon Jun 14, 2004
Comments (14)
image The Cult of the New Eve appears to be an organization that celebrates the physical transformation of humans through biotechnology and genetic engineering. Their 'New Eve' is the name they use to refer to the unknown donor whose DNA was sequenced by the Human Genome Project. They vigorously oppose any kind of ethical or religious opposition to bioengineering, proclaiming that 'humankind is not spiritual - it is material.' In reality, the site isn't the homepage of some extreme scientific cult. It's the creation of an art group known as the Critical Art Ensemble. They've created another site called The Society for Reproductive Anachronisms (not totally safe for work), that appears to be the polar opposite of the Cult of the New Eve, being an organization opposed to any kind of genetic alterations. The Critical Arts Ensemble has been in the news recently because one of its members, Steve Kurtz, is being charged with the illegal possession of biological agents, even though Kurtz insists these 'biological agents' were nothing more dangerous than you'd find in a high school biology lab, and that he uses the material in his art.
Categories: Body Manipulation, Websites
Posted by Alex on Mon Jun 14, 2004
Comments (1)
Just last night I added a new feature to the site: a discussion forum (I'm calling it the Hoax Forum) where people can post questions or info about new hoaxes they've found. I figure this will be better than having everyone email me stuff like this directly, since the email just sits unanswered in my inbox for ages. And already, on the first day of the forum's existence, someone has posted something good. Rachel Hurley found Fluids for Christ, which claims to be a blood bank for Christian fluid donations. After all, what good Christian would want to receive heathen blood? The site is almost believable (there are Christian Credit Agencies and Christian Pharmacies, so why not Christian Blood Banks?), until you start looking through it and it begins to become obviously silly, such as when they start describing their "Christpherization methods" of separating out the Christian components of blood.
Categories: Body Manipulation, Religion
Posted by Alex on Tue Jun 08, 2004
Comments (1)
The Whizzinator is a prosthetic penis attached to a plastic bag that you tie around your waist. Put heated urine in the bag (dehydrated urine provided), and you're all set to cheat on a drug test. Rather ingenious. But now Illinois officials are cracking down on this product. The Illinois Senate voted 56-0 to outlaw it. Meanwhile the far more morally offensive Brief Safes are still legal. What kind of upside-down world do we live in?



Categories: Body Manipulation, Gross, Politics
Posted by Alex on Wed May 05, 2004
Comments (1)
image If you're a woman who wants breast augmentation surgery, but can't afford it, then try signing up at InvestInMyBreast.com (mostly safe for work, though some nudity if you look around enough). This site connects women who want breast implants with charitable-minded people who want to help them achieve this goal. So women simply post their pictures, state why they want implants, and the donations start rolling in. Sounds great (well, actually, it sounds bizarre), but as soon as I started checking out the site my baloney detector started to go off. The big catch is that women will only ever receive their donations if, and only if, they reach their goal amount (usually $4000-$5000). It's an all-or-nothing system. But during the year that the site has been up, it doesn't appear that any woman has come anywhere close to achieving their goal amount. So what happens if, as is probable, a woman never reaches her goal? If the system was fair, the donations would be refunded to the donor. This doesn't happen. Second most fair would be to pay out the donations to the women, after a certain amount of time. This doesn't happen either. Instead, all donations are kept by the owners of the website itself. In other words, if you do donate money it's almost certain that your 'donation' will never result in a woman getting breast implants. Instead, it'll line the pockets of the site's owner. Of course, then there's the question of whether these women are who they say they are. I suspect that at least some of them are either shills or fakes. And if you search long enough, the site itself does admit, in its users agreement, that "InvestInMyBreast.com cannot and does not guarantee any user's identity." (via NewYorkish)
Categories: Body Manipulation
Posted by Alex on Wed May 05, 2004
Comments (11)
image A merkin is a pubic wig. The term is also sometimes used as slang/shorthand for 'American.' Apparently actors doing nude scenes sometimes wear merkins. Heidi Klum did a scene involving an oversized, obviously fake merkin in the movie Blow Dry. But where, you might wonder, could a casual curiosity seeker ever get their hands on such a thing? Just head on over to the American Merkin Company (not safe for work, but only mildly so). Their motto is 'Handcrafting merkins for over 150 years,' and they offer a full range of this product in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Or at least, so they claim. They display a number at the bottom of their webpage which you can call and order some up (1-877-508-6307). I couldn't contain my curiosity about whether this company was for real, so I dialed them up, only to reach an operator who had never heard of them. So I guess the American Merkin Company is a hoax. Their motto should have been a tip-off.
Categories: Body Manipulation, Sex/Romance, Websites
Posted by Alex on Wed Apr 28, 2004
Comments (1)
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