Thursday, April 22, 2010


(Above: Can't remember where I found this, but it's too awesome to leave in a computer folder. Sorry, fabulous artist.)

Hi Everyone,

I've heard that many of your comments aren't being posted on the blog! So sorry about that. I assure you it's not a new censorship campaign. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure it's a problem with Blogger, so we'll just have to wait for them to fix it. Don't give up!


The Terror of the Toilet

If you ever have the chance to travel to Japan (or if you're lucky enough to live there), you would be wise to avoid the third bathroom stall on the third floor of any school building you visit.

That particular stall is said to be haunted by a ghost with bobbed hair and a red skirt. Known as Toire no Hanako-san (“Hanako of the toilet”), she's the spirit of a girl who met a tragic end at the hands of a demented adult.

If you're in a bit of a spot, and the stall in question is your only option, knock three times to see if Hanako-san answers. If she does, DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR, unless you fancy being pulled into the toilet and joining the ghost girl in her foul-smelling grave.

(The information above comes from Pink Tentacle, which should really publish a travel guide.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Metropolitan Etiquette Authority

Jayshells, you are my favorite person of the week. The artist has created a new "Subway Etiquette" campaign designed to address passengers' most common complaints--about other passengers. Posters will soon be up in trains throughout the city.

Believe it or not, nail clipping (as mentioned above) is a fairly common sight on New York City public transportation. And there's always some dude with a finger up his nose. Come on, people!

There's a Really Good Story Here . . .

A reader came across this sign while visiting Charlotte, North Carolina. A hot dog eating alligator. Love it! Thanks, C!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Kiki Strike is the Latest Pick for Al Roker's Book Club!

(Above: How can you not love this man? He has such excellent taste in books!)

It was just announced. Kiki Strike is the next selection on Al's Book Club for Kids. Which means yours truly will be on the Today show in May. Which means I get to meet Al Roker. Oh the joy! Oh the happiness!

I'll keep you all up to date!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Manhattan's Underground Cow Tunnels (of Death)

(Above: Art by Kaisu Koivisto)

More evidence of New York's vast underground world has recently come to light! According to experts, numerous tunnels were constructed here in the 19th century after the city made it illegal to herd cattle through the streets. The underground passages made it possible for cows to be driven from farms north of the city to slaughter houses in lower Manhattan without blocking street traffic.

Over time, the tunnels fell out of use, but GUESS WHAT! They may still be there!

The website Gothamist quotes an article written by author Brian Wiprud in 1997. Wiprud describes:

. . . watching a crew install a drainage basin on Greenwich Street when they came upon a wall of wood about ten feet down. A laborer went into the hole with a torch and came out saying it was an oak-vaulted tunnel ten feet wide by eight feet high that trailed off an undetermined distance in either direction. It was then that an old man from the neighborhood stepped up to the trench and said, 'Why, I see you found the cattle tunnel.'

So where are the tunnels? Gothamist thinks it's discovered the location of two of them.

[An official] document lists two historical underground cattle passages from the 1870s that are listed as still being in existence, one at West 34th Street and another at West 38th Street, both along 12th Avenue.

Awesome! Now let's go find them!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sold: Unicorns, Yetis, and Flying Kittens

The Brading Experience, an unusual museum on England's Isle of Wight, recently closed for good, and the contents of the building were auctioned off yesterday. Which means that anyone in the market for a yeti or a flying kitten should have been in the UK. (Darn!)

According to legend, the unusual beasts were collected by a mysterious Professor Copperthwaite who traveled the world in the 19th century, searching for curious creatures. (My ideal job!)

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mother Nature Is One Cool Lady

(Photo by mdid. Looks good to me!)

Lightening makes mushrooms multiply.

The South American jabuticaba tree grows fruit on its trunk.

Looks like a strawberry, tastes like a pineapple.

Fifteen fingers, sixteen toes. If this kid doesn't grow up to be a superhero, I'll be really disappointed.

The mystery monkey of Tampa Bay.

The five-centimeter high ghost orchid is Britain's rarest flower.

Monday, April 05, 2010

The Little Mermaid Deboned

A statue of Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid (below) has long been one of the biggest tourist attractions in Copenhagen, Denmark. But for the next six months, she'll be visiting China, and her rock will be empty for the first time in almost a century.

So on April Fool's Day, some crafty pranksters decided to fill the void. Tourists who came looking for the Little Mermaid instead found her skeleton. I wish I could have seen their faces.

More here.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

There's a Lesson Here Somewhere . . .

When nineteen-year-old Kevin O. went shopping for an animal companion, he refused to settle for the usual pets. No puppies or hamsters or capybaras for Kevin. Oh no. He needed a cobra.

He brought his cobra home earlier this month and placed it in a special terrarium. When Kevin returned to see how his snake was settling in, he found the terrarium . . . EMPTY.

Now the snake in question is quite venomous, perhaps even deadly. And Kevin lives in an apartment building with two other families. The authorities were called, and a massive snake hunt began. Floors were ripped up and walls were demolished. (See below. And see more pictures here.) The search lasted a week and cost more than $50,000, but the snake was never found.

So what happens now? Everyone in the building has been forced to leave. The house will be sealed off for eight weeks, which is as long as experts figure the snake might survive.

If I were Kevin, I don't think I'd go back. The cobra might be dead, but I have a feeling the neighbors are now far more dangerous than the snake ever was.

Happy April Fools Day, Everyone!

(Above: From the new Charles Addams exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York. I'm DYING to see it!)

Any good pranks to share?