The Condenser

Monday, November 28, 2011

On The Construction of a "Trumpet Rat"

Posted by Dave
It's not exactly a Human Centipede, but it's certainly reminiscent - and perhaps just as unlikely. From Francis T. Buckland's Curiosities of Natural History (1856), quoting a case presented in an unnamed French newspaper:

"The trumpet rat, he tells me, is not a supernatural thing, it is an invention due to the leisure moments of the Zouaves. This is how they make them: you take two rats; you tie their paws firmly on a board, the nose of one close to the end of the tail of the other; with a pen-knife or a lancet you make an incision into the nose of the rat which is hindermost, and you graft the tail of the first onto the nose; you tie firmly the muzzle to the tail, and you leave the two rats in this position for forty-eight hours.
At the end of the time the union has taken place, and the two parts are grown together; then you cut off the tail of the rat which is in front to the required length, and let him go, but still keep the other tied to the board but with his head loose, and you give him something to eat. At the end of a month or more the wound is perfectly healed, and the eyes of the most curious scrutators would not see a hint of the grafting."

It's worth noting that the above excerpt doesn't even scratch the surface of this deliriously rambling, almost relentlessly bizarre book - expect to see a lot more from Mr. Buckland's masterpiece in the coming months.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Toulouse-Lautrec's Absinthe Recipes

Posted by Meg
We're half-way through The Observatory's "Decadent Paris Weekend" and it got off to a great start with last night's Grand Guignol lecture with Mel Gordon. Tonight's lecture is Absinthe and Other Liquors of Fin de Siecle Paris. To get you a little in the mood - and maybe a little tipsy - I thought I'd share a couple of Toulouse-Lautrec's absinthe cocktails I found reading Explosive Acts by David Sweetman. Lautrec loved absinthe so much that he kept some in his hollowed-out cane, so he was bound to get a little creative with its preparation.

-tremblement de terre (the earthquake) - absinthe with cognac

-absinthe minuit
(midnight absinthe) - absinthe with white wine

-absinthe de vidangeur
(scavenger absinthe) - absinthe with red wine

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