Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Milbenkäse and Casu Marzu


Milbenkäse ("mite cheese"), called Mellnkase in the local dialect and often known as Spinnenkäse ("spider cheese"), is a German specialty cheese. Today it is produced exclusively in the village of Würchwitz

Milbenkäse is flavoured with salt and caraway is shaped into small balls, cylinders or wheels, and dried. Then it is placed in a wooden box containing rye flour and inhabited by Tyroglyphus casei cheese mites for at least three months. The digestive juices of the mites diffuse into the cheese and cause fermentation; the flour is added because the mites would otherwise simply eat the whole cheese instead of just nibbling away at the crust as is desired. After one month, the cheese rind turns yellow, after three months reddish-brown. Some producers, however, allow the cheese to ripen for up to one year, until it has turned black. Mites clinging to the cheese rind are also consumed.

Casu Marzu:

Casu marzu (also called formaggio marcio, "rotten cheese") is a traditional Sardinian sheep milk cheese, notable for being riddled with live insect larvae. It is found mainly in Sardinia, Italy.

Derived from Pecorino, casu marzu goes beyond typical fermentation to a stage most would consider decomposition, brought about by the digestive action of the larvae of the cheese fly Piophila casei. These larvae are deliberately introduced to the cheese, promoting an advanced level of fermentation and breaking down of the cheese's fats. The texture of the cheese becomes very soft, with some liquid (called lagrima, from the Sardinian for "tears") seeping out. The larvae themselves appear as translucent white worms, about 8 millimetres. When disturbed, the larvae can launch themselves for distances up to 15 centimetres. Some people clear the larvae from the cheese before consuming; others do not.

Casu marzu is considered to be unsafe to eat by Sardinian aficionados when the maggots in the cheese have died. Because of this, only cheese in which the maggots are still alive is usually eaten. Because the larvae in the cheese can launch themselves for distances up to 15 centimetres when disturbed, diners hold their hands above the sandwich to prevent the maggots from leaping. Those who do not wish to eat live maggots place the cheese in a sealed paper bag. The maggots, starved for oxygen, writhe and jump in the bag, creating a "pitter-patter" sound. When the sounds subside, the maggots are dead and the cheese can be eaten.

From: and

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Saint Guinefort

Saint Guinefort was a 13th-century French dog that received local veneration as a saint after miracles were reported at his grave.

Guinefort the greyhound belonged to a knight who lived in a castle near Lyon. One day, the knight went hunting, leaving his infant son in the care of Guinefort. When he returned, he found the nursery in chaos – the cot was overturned, the child was nowhere to be seen and Guinefort greeted his master with bloody jaws. Believing Guinefort to have devoured his son, the knight slew the dog. He then heard a child crying; he turned over the cot and found his son lying there, safe and sound, along with the body of a viper. Guinefort had killed the snake and saved the child. On realizing the mistake the family dropped the dog down a well, covered it with stones and planted trees around it, setting up a shrine for Guinefort. Guinefort became recognised by locals as a saint for the protection of infants. It was alleged by contemporary commentators that locals left their babies at the site to be healed by the dog, and sometimes the babies would be harmed or killed by the rituals involved:

The local peasants hearing of the dog's noble deed and innocent death, began to visit the place and honor the dog as a martyr in quest of help for their sicknesses and other needs. When they got there, they offered salt and certain other things, hung the child's little clothes on the bramble bushes around, fixing them on the thorns. They then put the naked baby through the opening between the trunks of two trees, the mother standing on one side and throwing her child nine times to the old woman on the other side, while invoking the demons to adjure the fauns in the wood of "Rimite" to take the sick and failing child which they said belonged to them (the fauns) and return to them their own child big, plump, live and healthy.

The cult of this dog saint persisted for several centuries, until the 1930s, despite the repeated prohibitions of the Catholic Church.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Erika Eiffel

Erika "Aya" Eiffel, is an American woman who famously "married" the Eiffel Tower in a commitment ceremony in 2007. She is founder of OS Internationale, an organization for those who develop significant relationships with inanimate objects (objectophile).

An objectophile has a pronounced emotional and often romantic desire towards developing significant relationships with particular inanimate objects. Object-sexual individuals also often believe in animism, and sense reciprocation based on the belief that objects have souls, intelligence, feelings, and are able to communicate. Contrary to sexual fetishism, the object to an OS person is viewed as their partner and not as a means to an end to enhance a human sexual relationship.

She first encountered the Eiffel Tower in 2004, and felt an immediate attraction. Her love for the Eiffel Tower and long standing (20 years) relationship with the Berlin Wall are the subjects of numerous newspaper articles and television documentaries. Regarding the attraction of herself and other similar people to inanimate objects, she is reported by ABC News as saying that she and others "[...] feel an innate connection to objects. It comes perfectly normal to us to connect on various levels, emotional, spiritual and also physical for some."

After serving enlisted in the US Air Force, Erika earned a congressional nomination to the US Air Force Academy in 1993 where her training to become an officer was interrupted by a sexual assault in which she defended herself with a Japanese training sword. Her case was cited as having thorough evidence to prosecute as her assailant admitted the assault to Air Force investigators. However, Erika was given a medical discharge for PTSD due to her unwillingness to give up sleeping with the sword that had protected her.

Her object relationship with Lance, her competition bow, helped her to become a world-class archer. Archery started for Erika in 1999 while living in Japan and she won various national tournaments. Due to citizenship restrictions, Erika returned to the US in 2003 to vie for a spot on the US World Archery Team. In her US debut, she participated in qualifying national team tournaments shooting compound bow and won first place in both the FITA and Olympic rounds at all three 2003 National Cup tournaments: Arizona Cup, Texas Shootout, and Gold Cup. Following her sweep she went on to win gold and break the FITA team record with Team USA at the 42nd World Target Championships in New York City.

Occupation: Archer
Known for: Archery, marriage to the Eiffel Tower, relationship with Berlin Wall
Partner: Eiffel Tower (m. 2007–present)


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Lloyds Bank Turd

The Lloyds Bank coprolite is a large paleofeces, or desiccated human dung specimen, recovered by archaeologists excavating the Viking settlement of Jórvík (now York) in England.

It was found in 1972 beneath the site of what was to become the York branch of Lloyds Bank and may be the largest example of fossilised human faeces ever found. Analysis of the nine-inch-long stool has indicated that its producer subsisted largely on meat and bread whilst the presence of several hundred parasitic eggs suggests he or she was riddled with intestinal worms. In 1991, paleoscatologist Andrew Jones made international news with his appraisal of the item for insurance purposes: "This is the most exciting piece of excrement I've ever seen. In its own way, it's as valuable as the Crown Jewels."

The specimen was put on display at the city's Archaeological Resource Centre (now known as DIG), the outreach and education institution run by the York Archaeological Trust, where it delighted generations of awestruck schoolchildren. In 2003, it broke into three pieces after being dropped whilst on exhibition to a party of visitors. As of 2003, efforts were underway to reconstruct it.

Created: 9th century AD
Discovered: 1972, Coppergate, York
Present location: JORVIK Viking Centre (on display)